Annual Economic Development Awards


The American Planning Association Economic Development Division’s mission is to advance the practice and state of the art of economic development planning by increasing the understanding of economic development as a key element of public policy at all levels of government, and to promote it as a critical element of the neighborhood, community, regional and national planning process.

The EconDevys

Economic development consists of policies and actions which strive to improve the overall quality of life for a community or region by raising its standard of living, reducing inequality and using resources in a sustainable manner. Each year, the Economic Development Division recognizes communities that exemplify these qualities in its Annual Economic Development Awards program - or the "EconDevys".

Until 2022, the Division selected a single honoree for Excellence in Economic Development Planning which was later renamed in memory of past chair Don Hunter. Starting in 2022, the Division elevated the Hunter Award as its top honor and also added a best practice and innovation category to the annual awards program. We also recognize outstanding student projects - both with a scholarship as the top honor and awards for other great works.

As of 2022, the Award Categories are:

  • Best Practices
  • Innovation

Note: One project from either of the two above categories will be honored with the Donald E. Hunter Excellence in Economic Development Award.

  • Student Project

2023 Award Nominations

On January 6, 2023, our awards program opens for nominations! The winners of the awards are announced at the Annual National APA Planning conference. We strongly recommend but do not require awardees to attend the National Planning Conference. The full packet for the program can be found using the link below.

Award recipients will be featured in the Economic Development Division’s quarterly newsletter and be given the opportunity to participate in a webinar discussing their award-winning project.

2023 APA EDD Awards Packet

2023 Best Practice Nomination Form

2023 Innovation Nomination Form

2023 Student Project Nomination Form