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Burnham Award

MPC’s Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning, named in honor of Daniel H. Burnham, creator of the 1909 Plan of Chicago, encourages sensible growth by honoring visionary planning efforts with demonstrated results in the Chicago metropolitan region.

Nomination criteria

Every year, a committee of planning and community development experts from around the region evaluates nominees and determines the winner of the Burnham Award by selecting the plan that demonstrates results in one or all of the following categories:

  1. Creating more livable communities through better integration of land use and housing; management of water and energy resources; improvement of parks and open space; and promotion of local food.
  2. Addressing human capital with improvements to education and workforce development; and supporting economic innovation.
  3. Improving regional mobility by investing strategically in transportation; increasing commitment to public transit; and creating a more efficient freight network.
  4. Making government more efficient by reforming state and local tax policy; improving access to information; and pursuing coordinated investments.

All submissions will be judged on whether they followed an open process and encouraged public participation. The submission must demonstrate that the plan led to results that can be measured.

Burnham Award winners

2013 City of Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events—Chicago Cultural Plan

2012 Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning—GO TO 2040

2011 Magellan Development Group—Lakeshore East Master Plan, Chicago

2010 Whistler Crossing, Riverdale, Ill.

2009 Chicago Metropolis 2020

2008 Village of Arlington Heights—Timber Court Condominium Development

2007 The Cities of: East Chicago, Gary, Hammond, Portage, Whiting and Congressman Pete Visclosky’s Office—The Marquette Plan: The Lakeshore Reinvestment Strategy

2006 Bethel New Life—Parkside Estate/Lake & Pulaski plan

2005 City of Waukegan—Lakefront-Downtown Urban Design Plan

2004 City of Chicago—Calumet Area Land Use Plan

2003 Illinois Institute of Technology—Campus Master Plan

2002 Will County—Land Resource Management Plan

2001 City of Chicago—Chicago River Corridor Development Plan; Lake County Stormwater Management and Friends of the Chicago River—North Branch Watershed Assessment

2000 Village of Park Forest—Downtown Park Forest Master Plan (rehab of old regional mall into main street.)

1999 Village of Arlington Heights—Downtown Plan

1998 Chicago Department of Planning and Development, Chicago Park District, Cook County Forest Preserve District—CitySpace Plan

Honorable Mentions

Downers Grove Economic Development Commission—Central Business District Master Plan.

City of Chicago Department of the Environment, Department of Planning and Development and Clean Sites—Chicago Brownfields Forum

1997 Near West Side Community Development Corporation and resident of West Haven—creation of exciting mixed income stable community

Honorable Mentions

City of Chicago—CitySpace Plan

Kane County Regional Planning Commission—2020 Land Resource Management Plan for Kane County

1996 The Shaw Company and Sears Roebuck and Company—Homan Square

1995 Mid-South Planning and Development Commission—Mid South Strategic Plan

1994 DePaul University—Goldblatts rehab, restoring Merle Reskin Theater, expansion of Lincoln Park Campus

1993 Chicago Park District, Office of Research and Planning—for policies and programs enhancing the parks

1992 Canal Corridor Association—for planning achievements in the Illinois and Michigan Heritage Canal Corridor

1991 Beth White, Executive Director, Friends of the Chicago River—Chicago River Urban Design Guidelines

1990 The Regional Transportation Authority—Ten year Strategic Plan

1989 The City of Chicago, Chicago Dock and Canal Trust, and Equitable Real Estate Investment Management, Inc—Cityfront Center Project

1988 Mary Ward Wolkonsky, Founder and Chair, the Bright New City

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