Arlington County Receives National Planning Achievement Award for Sma

Published on April 26, 2017

  • American Planning Association awards profession's highest honor to 12 communities

  • Arlington recognized for commitment to community-based planning and pioneering smart growth

The American Planning Association today recognized Arlington's commitment to community-based planning and smart growth with the Gold 2017 National Planning Achievement Award for Implementation of our General Land Use Plan and smart growth journey. Arlington was one of 12 national award recipients, the profession's highest honor.

[caption id="attachment_11993" align="alignright" width="300"] Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor, past and present[/caption]

"In Arlington, we believe in long-term planning. Years ago, Arlington created a land use plan that values transit-oriented development, sustainability and walkability," said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. "Our success at planning remains rooted in that vision and in our commitment to community-based decision-making. County government and the community have together built Arlington into one of the nation's best places to live, work or play."

Arlington County's General Land Use Plan has served as a guide for the County's smart growth journey for more than 50 years. During that time, the County has transitioned from a suburban, auto-dependent collection of neighborhoods to a region marked by sustainable and transit-oriented development that has reduced commercial sprawl and conserved the quality and diversity of its neighborhoods. Today it is home to seven mixed-use, walkable and bicycle-friendly Metro transit villages, 222,800 residents and nearly 222,300 employees.

"Establishing a clear vision through the General Land Use Plan, ongoing community education and engagement on the importance of the vision, and consistency of action in terms of compliance with the Plan have been the keys to success.  Implementation of the General Land Use Plan is truly an American planning success story", said Robert J. Duffy, AICP, Arlington County Planning Director.

To learn more about the County's smart growth journey, visit the County website.

National Planning Achievement Awards

Each year, APA recognizes outstanding efforts in planning and planning leadership through its National Planning Excellence and Achievement Awards. The two-tier awards are selected through a juried process.

APA's national awards program, the profession's highest honor, is a proud tradition established more than 50 years ago to recognize outstanding community plans, planning programs and initiatives, public education efforts and individuals for their leadership on planning issues.

"Good planning is not just preparing the community for the future, but engaging the residents in the discussions and decision-making that will impact their lives," said W. Shedrick Coleman, AIA, 2017 chair of APA's Awards Jury. "This year's award recipients advanced the planning profession by more thoroughly engaging all residents in the planning process."

All of the 2017 National Planning Award recipients will be honored at a special luncheon during APA's National Planning Conference in New York City on May 8, 2017. The recipients also will be featured in the May 2017 issue of "Planning" magazine.

About APA

The American Planning Association is an independent, not- for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning - physical, economic and social - so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. The nearly 37,000 members of APA help create communities of lasting value and encourage civic leaders, business interests and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people's lives. APA has offices in Washington, D.C. and Chicago. For more information, visit

View the documentary Arlington's cable television station, ATV, produced about the County's Smart Growth Journey.