Community Development Department Wins Two American Planning Association Section Awards

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News Date: 
June 17, 2020
Community Development Pop-up Activity at El Grito

The Northern Section of the American Planning Association (APA) California Chapter recently recognized the the City’s Community Development Department with an Award of Excellence as a Planning Agency, another Award of Excellence in Advancing Diversity and Social Change for the Alisal Vibrancy Plan. The Planning Agency Award, “honors the work of a public sector agency that has continually produced a program of exceptional work that has elevated awareness about planning” (APA Awards Program Policy, Page 6). In the span of the last five years, the City and its Community Development Department completed twelve major planning efforts, including cross-departmental and cross-organizational projects throughout Salinas. The Department also formed Visión Salinas in to deepen public engagement, develop “Guiding Principles” to inform the preparation of the concurrent plans, and more importantly to build a planning infrastructure beyond the City government. The City is now aligning its resources to implement projects and update its General Plan according to priorities identified by the community through these efforts.

The Advancing Diversity and Social Change in Honor of Paul Davidoff Award recognizes “an individual, project, group, or organization that promotes diversity and demonstrates a sustained commitment to advocacy” (APA Awards Program Policy, Page 6). The Alisal Vibrancy Plan (AVP) is the result of years of visioning, community organizing, and relationship building between the City of Salinas, community-based organizations, and Alisal residents. Created with equity at its core, it is an opportunity to improve the quality of life for residents by building upon the social and cultural wealth of the Alisal. The AVP’s inclusionary engagement process, removal of participatory barriers, and willingness to let the community create content, led to resident ownership of the AVP, reflected by the more than 80 residents and stakeholders who spoke in support of the AVP at its Council hearing.     

Its track record of consistently producing excellent plans while developing equitable engagement processes and innovative planning solutions shows that the Community Development Department is prepared to continue its exceptional work for the present and future of Salinas. For more on the Awards, please see the Northern Section’s website. The City is also under consideration for these awards at the State Chapter level.