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Region's NIRPC Wins National Award

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Region planners have won a national award. The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission's 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan will receive the prestigious 2013 Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan from the American Planning Association. The association says NIRPC's plan represents the first broad planning initiative covering multiple counties – Lake, Porter and La Porte Counties – while focusing on a variety of issues, including transportation, land use and the environment.
News Release Jan 09 2013:  WASHINGTON, DC – A comprehensive plan for Northwestern Indiana will receive the prestigious 2013 Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan from the American Planning Association. The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission’s (NIRPC) 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan (CRP) represents the first broad planning initiative covering multiple counties while focusing on a variety of issuesincluding transportation, land use, human and economic resources, and environmental policy objectives.
The Daniel Burnham Award recognizes a comprehensive plan that advances the science and art of planning. The awardhonors America’s most famous planner, Daniel Burnham, for his contributions to the planning profession and to a greater awareness of the benefits of good planning.
“The 2040 CRP is unique in that it represents the first time that the planning process brought together citizens from around the region to identify issues and coordinate on common concerns, projects and initiatives,” said Geof Benson, Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission chairman and Beverly Shores Town Council president.  “Instead of every city, town and county trying to “go at it alone” and working at cross-purposes, collaboration at the regional level created efficiencies and facilitated cooperation – saving time and money.”
The 2040 CRP is the first plan with a comprehensive vision for sustainable growth and revitalization of a group of counties - Lake, Porter and LaPorte – in Northwestern Indiana. Generally, NIRPC is responsible for and most focused on long-range regional transportation planning but with the 2040 CRP, NIRPC looked well beyond transportation.  During the planning process, NIRPC includedlocal governments, regional stakeholders and the public as they worked together to identify regional land use priorities and to translate these into strategies for smart growth and urban revitalization, multimodal transportation investment, economic development, and protection of green infrastructure.
“Planners in northwestern Indiana were skilled at building consensus, ensuring that all citizens have a voice in creating the region’s 2040 comprehensive plan,” said Ann C. Bagley, FAICP, 2013 APA Awards Jury chair. “During each step of the 2040 CRP, NIRPC engaged citizens and stakeholders to gather input and ensure that the recommendations identified in the plan were realistic and implementable. This included targeted outreach and engagement among those not typically involved in planning process.”
The CRP centers on revitalizing cities, making them more sustainable and livable. Based upon residents’ collective desires, the Vision for 2040 emphasizes a vibrant, revitalized, accessible and united region and stresses the principles of supporting urban reinvestment, ensuring environmental justice, protecting natural resources, minimizing impacts to environmental features, integrating transportation and land use to improve mobility and job access.
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. 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, Ill. For more information, visit www.planning.org
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