Student Planning & Design Competition

APA Student Planning and Design Competition

About the Program

The APA Urban Design and Preservation Division, Divisions Council, and Student Representatives Council co-sponsor the Annual Student Planning and Design Competition, inviting teams of students pursuing graduate degrees in planning to participate. Finalists present their proposals to a jury at a National Planning Conference public session.

2024: Seventh Annual Competition

The 2024 Student Planning and Design Competition project site location is the New Nicollet Redevelopment, the former Kmart site in South Minneapolis, MN. This project site covers 10 acres of land between the Midtown Greenway, Lake St, 1st Ave, and Blaisdell Ave.

Read the APA Blog article about the 2024 competition site.

Please visit the APA Competition Webpage for further details and timeline.


2023 Competition Recap

American Planning Association, Student Design Competition, 2023

New this year is the competition's focus on a community issue in the NPC host city. The attention to student design in these real-life spaces continues APA's ongoing effort to provide leadership in developing vital communities. By advocating excellence in planning, promoting education, and citizen empowerment, APA hopes to provide the tools and support necessary to meet the challenges of growth and change.

The 2023 Competition

Now in its sixth year, the 2023 competition challenges students to create planning and design recommendations in a proposed visioning plan for the Logan Triangle area in Philadelphia’s Upper North District. 

APA Urban Design and Preservation Division (UDP) volunteers reviewed and scored eleven competition team submissions. This initial jury selected three finalists -- Arizona State University, the University of South Florida, and the University of Memphis --  to present to a final jury at the National Planning Conference in Philadelphia.

View the competition brief here, and all student competition submissions here.

Christopher Rzomp, AICP, the Chair of the UDP Division Urban Design Committee and Cities and Urban Design Lead at Gensler, served as a final jury member, along with Eleanor Sharpe, AICP, Executive Director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, and Deborah Myerson, AICP, a member of the APA Divisions Council Executive Committee. The final jury selected the winning team after their presentations.

The Arizona State University student team — Deema Abdul Rahman, Leen Elharake, Bryan Leyba,  Kelsey Ouellette, and Sara Pimentel — won the 2023 competition. You can read their winning entry. Congratulations to all competition participants, finalists, and the winner!

Shout Outs

Thank you to the student participants from Kansas State University, University of Kansas, University of Iowa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Arizona State University, University of South Florida, University of Memphis, and University of California, Los Angeles. 

A special note of appreciation to the UDP Division initial jury for volunteering their time and expertise:

Christopher Rzomp, AICP, Initial Jury Chair; Selina Angel, Designer and Planner for Work5shop, San Antonio; Kris Krider, AICP, UDPD Chair-Elect and Urban Design and Research Supervisor for Arlington County, Virginia; Melissa Lindsjo, AICP, CNU-A, Urban Planner at the National Capital Planning Commission, Washington, DC; Nicole Ozdemir, Senior Planner at the Philadelphia Planning Commission; Hadley Peterson, AICP-C, Project Manager at Radian — Denver; Karin Schierhold, Urban Planner at the National Capital Planning Commission; and Mike Sherman, Director of Policy and Research at the National Capital Planning Commission.

Veronica Ibarra, Past Chair of the APA Student Representatives Council, Meg Williams, Member of the APA Divisions Council Executive Committee, and Marcel Acosta, Chair of the APA Urban Design and Preservation Division, organized the 2023 competition.

For further information, please visit the APA website.