American Planning Association

North Carolina Chapter

Awards Committee

The committee is responsible for administering the APA-NC Awards Program, which includes NC Great Places and the Marvin Collins Planning Awards. These awards recognize the places, people, and projects that represent the highest standards of achievement in the North Carolina planning community. Awards are presented annually during the North Carolina Planning Conference.

NC Great Places was established in 2012 to highlight North Carolina’s Great Places and the communities and people that have created them. North Carolina is full of amazing places that make this state a wonderful place to live, bring important money and jobs into our economy, and keep our communities thriving. Many people work hard to create, sustain, and improve these places, including citizens, planners, business leaders, and elected officials. This is a chance for everyone to celebrate together!

The chapter established a statewide awards program in 1975. Marvin Collins (19XX – 1998) was a former Planning Director for Orange County, North Carolina who first developed the idea for a statewide awards program. He was a recipient of a Professional Achievement Award just prior to his death in 1998 and his service to the planning profession in North Carolina was further honored posthumously in 2000, when the awards program was renamed in his honor on its 25th anniversary.

Award categories include:

Great Places

  • Great Street recognizes streets, both long-established and evolving, that are gathering places for community events, visitors, and residents. They are streets for people, travelers, shopping, and dining and are integral places for creating a sense of community or place.
  • Great Transformation honors places that have been reenergized – whether a shopping mall that’s been retrofitted into a mixed-use community, an abandoned industrial area transformed into artist lofts, a historic rehabilitation that utilized tax credits, or a recently rejuvenated neighborhood.
  • Great Healthy Place celebrates community amenities that encourage activity and exploration. Whether it’s a bicycle or greenway network, concerted efforts for social interaction and/or aging in place, access to locally-sourced foods, a commitment to sustainable ecosystems and the environment, or the active involvement of children in the community – healthy living has no boundaries.
  • Great Place for Equity recognizes projects that support a more diverse, accessible, and inclusive community. This category, created in 2020, highlights forward-thinking planning initiatives that create attainable housing options and affordable transportation and public services with a goal of inclusivity and economic mobility for all.

Marvin Collins Planning Awards

  • Planning Advocate recognizes an elected official, board or commission member, administrator, citizen planner, media outlet, or other non-professional planner for increasing understanding of the value of planning and sound planning principles.
  • Phillip R Green Jr. Distinguished Service Award honors a planner who has made a sustained and significant contribution to APA-NC.
  • Robert E. Reiman Professional Achievement honors a planner who has made a sustained and significant contribution to the planning profession in North Carolina.
  • Student (undergraduate and graduate) recognizes students who have excelled in an accredited NC planning program.
  • Student Project (undergraduate and graduate) recognizes high-quality student work that increases the understanding of the value of planning.
  • Comprehensive Plan (small and large) recognizes plans that advance the science and art of planning.
  • Small Area Plan recognizes plans focused on neighborhoods, corridors, or similar small areas that advance the science and art of planning.
  • Specialized Planning recognizes excellent efforts within a focused substantive area (transportation, environment, economic development, innovation, etc.).
  • Implementation (small and large) recognizes significant achievement in accomplishing positive changes as a result of planning, with an emphasis on long-term, measurable results.
  • Engagement honors a project or program for exceptional efforts that support meaningful engagement and create a greater awareness of planning-related issues within a community or specific segments of the public.
  • Advancing Equity recognizes a project or program that meaningfully involves historically underrepresented groups, positively impacts quality of life for low- or moderate-income individuals, and/or achieves planning objectives that address structural inequities.

For more information contact:

Jessica Rossi, AICP
Committee Co-Chair
Senior Planner & Economist
Kimley-Horn; Charlotte, NC

Kathy Blake
Planning Director
Aberdeen, NC

Elizabeth Jernigan, AICP
Greensboro, NC

Erin Musiol, AICP
RS&H; Charlotte, NC

Kevin B. Reid, AICP, CFM, CZO

Planning and Inspections Director

Village of Pinehurst, NC

Bynum Walter, AICP
Committee Co-Chair
Planning Supervisor

City of Raleigh, NC

Tim Richards, AICP
Senior Associate
Clarion Associates; Chapel Hill, NC

Courtney Tanner, AICP, CZO

Planning Director
Town of Wake Forest

Hannah Williams
Planner/GIS Specialist
Lenoir, NC



2019 Award Winners
2018 Award Winners