Call for Entries: 2014 Open Planning Tools Innovation Awards

The Open Planning Tools Group is initiating an annual innovation awards program to facilitate the advancement and utilization of innovative open access planning tools.  Initial awards will be made both for innovative tool development and for an exemplary implementation effort. Self-nominations are welcome. Deadline: Feb 3, 2014


2014 Awards

Innovative Open Source Planning Tool Award: An annual award to the best new contribution(s) to open source planning tools.

Exemplary Implementation of Open Source Planning Tool Award: An annual award to a planning endeavor that utilized planning tools in an innovative manner to create effective public engagement or improved analysis supporting the resolution of a significant challenge.  Projects must have utilized open source software.  The applicant could be a lead public agency or consultant involved in the activity.

In addition, each award comes with a $500 cash prize.


Eligibility Criteria
Innovative Tool Award

  • Topic Areas:
    • Applications to advance scenario planning
    • Applications that facilitate community engagement and/or public education
    • Efforts to facilitate use of current scenario planning tools for exploratory scenario planning efforts
    • New enhancements that can be used with scenario planning tools – such as linking land use and public health issues
    • Applications that assist with assembling data for use with planning tools
  • Requirements
    • The “Key Elements” of the tool being submitted for the award should be licensed under a recognized OS license and the code publicly accessible at the time of judging to be eligible
    • At least some portion of the nominated effort must have occurred within the last year

Exemplary Implementation Award

  • Topic Areas – Exemplary planning efforts in any of the following areas
  • Requirements
    • Scenario Planning
    • Community Engagement
    • Comprehensive / General Plans
    • The tool being used as the “key” element or enabling technology in the nominated planning and implementation effort would ideally be licensed under a recognized OS license and the code released for public access at the time of judging.  Non-open source tools that embody the OPTG principles will also be considered.
    • Entries will be judged both on the planning process used and the final product or outcomes
    • At least some portion of the nominated effort must have occurred within the last year


Scoring Categories

Innovative Planning Tool

How innovative is the tool? 20%
How readily can other people or projects use the tool? 20%
User-Friendliness (including documentation) 20%
Effectiveness & Utility 20%
Potential to Change the World (for the better) 20%


Exemplary Implementation Award

Effort produces or uses open data 20%
Improves analysis as it relates to planning 20%
Public engagement / How well was the tool explained, given its complexity 20%
How exemplary/innovative is the process? 20%
Relevance of issue 20%


Submission Materials
The combined nominating materials specified below must total no more than 4 pages in length (12 pt type):

  • Project Summary:  this should be suitable to be used as a public information piece and as a description of the project in a best practices database
  • Advancing OPTG Principles:  identify how the nominated project advances the 12 guiding principles of the OPT Group (attached).  This is not expected to be an item by item list but a synthesis statement
  • Documentation of Innovation:  Identify the uses of the application / tool / or planning process and the transferability of the lessons learned or the tool for other efforts
  • Contact Information:  A listing of responsible individuals and their name, organization, phone number and email address.
  • The Nominated Product:  Submit a copy of the actual product, or a link to see or use the product or a website created to support and document the planning process.
  • Additionally, the applicant may optionally submit up to 2 letters of support. These letters do not count as part of the application length.


Submission Details

  • Final deadline is 5pm on Feb 3, 2014.  All materials must be received by the deadline
  • Submit materials electronically to:
  • Awards will be announced during the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference, Feb 14 – 16, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.


2013 – 2014 Awards Committee

Ted Cochin, U.S. EPA

Gordon Garry, Sacramento Area Council of Governments

Ruth Miller, Independent Contractor

Nathaniel Roth, University of California, Davis

Garlynn Woodsong, Calthorpe Associates


Download the Full Announcement, including the OPTG Mission and Guiding Principles.


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