News & Press: ACSP Annual Conference News

2016 ACSP Faculty Awards

Wednesday, October 26, 2016  
Share |

Each year ACSP is proud to honor faculty and students who have distinguished themselves or made major contributions to the academy or to the profession via outreach efforts, public service or for service to ACSP, the Academy, or the profession. A complete listing and history for all awards can be found at

ACSP John Friedmann Book Award

John Friedmann is a widely-recognized planning scholar with an exceptionally distinguished career. He has contributed in many ways to the field of urban and regional planning, through his writings on planning theory, regional development planning, and world cities. He is the author of 26 books and close to 200 articles, and has received many distinguished awards (see below). He has also offered unstinting service to the planning academy, both through his varied teaching career and through his co-sponsorship of activities designed to support doctoral students in planning.

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) established the John Friedmann Book Award in 2013. This award is presented to a book or comparable work that best exemplifies scholarship in the area of planning for sustainable development.

Zoned in the USA: The Origins and Implications of American Land-Use Regulation
Cornell University Press
Authored by Sonia Hirt, University of Maryland College Park

The awards committee found Hirt’s book to be a delightful and rare combination of excellent planning history, insightful critique, and a witty, engaging read. We all thought we knew the history of American zoning, but Hirt reexamines the history from a fresh, perceptive and comparative stance that perhaps only someone not originally from the US can provide. She challenges conventional thinking by exposing the American penchant for individualism yet strong reliance on land use regulation. Hirt both recounts the origins of a peculiarly American form of land use control and also pushes against the prevailing assumption of zoning as a simple outcome of “American exceptionalism.” Richly documented and fluidly interweaving the practical and the theoretical, Hirt has written a compelling retort to the claim that American zoning is too tedious, bureaucratic, scientific or self-evident to be worth our attention. Her book provides a coherent and sustained narrative that not only makes planning scholarship accessible to a broad audience, but also reveals the insidious use of zoning as a tool of racism and classism. Hirt’s excellent research offers an important and often-overlooked lesson: to fundamentally address the social inequalities, environmental ills and odd design quirks of the American landscape, we should not overlook reforming the structure and core values embedded in zoning codes. It’s an overused truism, but this well-written and wry book does indeed deserve to be on planners’ bookshelves and on students’ reading lists.

Saving Our Cities: A Progressive Plan to Transform Urban America
Cornell University Press
Authored by William Goldsmith, Cornell University

Goldsmith has written a timely, penetrating assessment of contemporary urban America: a book whose title is an ambitious as its agenda. Goldsmith takes on the core challenges of the contemporary American city: concentrated poverty, racism, struggling schools, drugs, unhealthy food networks and paltry public services that exacerbate social inequality. He offers a searing indictment of the broader anti-urban state and federal political culture that imposes crippling austerity and incarceration programs on city residents. He not only offers systemic analysis, but also develops substantive policy reforms that you might agree or disagree with but can’t ignore. It is a convincing argument about the complexity of urban politics and the need for upstream policies to realize more progressive urban futures. The book both befits the spirit of the Friedmann Award and challenges the planning field to not lose sight of its pressing agenda.

The 2016 John Friedmann Book Award Committee includes: Committee Chair Scott Campbell, University of Michigan; Julian Agyeman, Tufts University; Phil Berke, Texas A&M University; Anne Forsyth, Harvard University; and Andrew Karvonen, University of Manchester.


ACSP/FWIG Margarita McCoy Award

Lisa Ann Schweitzer, University of Southern California

The Margarita McCoy Award is given biannually in even years by the ACSP Faculty Women's Interest Group and recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution toward the advancement of women in planning at institutions of higher education through service, teaching, and/or research.

The 2016 selection committee chose Professor Lisa Schweitzer from a field of impressive candidates because of her clear contributions to the advancement of women in planning in the teaching, research, and service categories. As one member observed, “To have such impact in each category suggests that Lisa Schweitzer embodies the role as champion and advocate for women in planning.” The committee also commended her for being a model for women in the planning academy, for her leadership in FWIG, and for her dedication to advancing women through her teaching.

The 2016 Margarita McCoy Award Committee includes: Committee Chair Kathryn Quick, University of Minnesota; Meghan Gough, Virginia Commonwealth University; Sandi Rosenbloom, University of Texas Austin; and Patricia Pollak, Cornell University.


ACSP Jay Chatterjee Distinguished Service Award

June M. Thomas, University of Michigan

This award is presented in even numbered years and recognizes an individual faculty whose exceptional service, actions and leadership have had a lasting and positive impact on ACSP and its member schools.

The winner selected by the 2016 Committee is June Manning Thomas. She is a Ph.D., FAICP, and Centennial Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. She was named the Mary Frances Berry Distinguished University Professor, effective September 1, 2016.

In 2003 she was inducted as a Fellow in the American Institute of Certified Planners. She was President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (2013-15), and now serves as Immediate Past President (2015-16).

Just one of the nomination letters submitted on June's behalf declares, "She has an impeccable reputation as a thoughtful researcher and an authority on urban revitalization of distressed cities both within the academy and in the urban planning profession at large. June cares fiercely about matters of social justice and the rights of the underrepresented classes in everything she does." This nomination continues and addresses in great detail June's journey with ACSP.

June's Impact on ACSP

June has been an integral player at ACSP for over three decades. A founding member of the Faculty Women Interest Group (FWIG), and the Planners of Color Interest Group (POCIG), June has been a champion for women across academic ranks and a mentor for junior faculty and people of color. She is truly respected and loved by her peers. She has served on Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) site visits and guided many member schools in their accreditation processes. She has participated with numerous awards committees and special interest groups. Her consistent work with ACSP resulted in her nomination to be President of the organization.

In 2013, June Thomas was appointed President of ACSP. True to her life’s passion, her overarching vision for the organization was Connections!

  1. Connections among planning schools and faculty.
  2. Connections with diverse people, particularly historic racial and ethnic minorities, but also women, in the community, profession, and academy.
  3. Connections among the planning academy, the profession, and the public.
    The organization, under June’s leadership made progress on all fronts. Of significant note are:
  • Continued support for pre-doctoral workshop for underrepresented minorities, and a summer workshop in support of junior faculty of color.
  • Support leadership and programming of FWIG, POCIG and GPEIG.
  • Leadership of the ACSP Committee on Diversity
  • Initiatives with APA as collaborator that includes data sharing, preparing for the job market planning, and marketing.

Closing remarks of one of June's nomination letters include, "June Thomas is a warm, compassionate and caring person. She is greatly respected by faculty and colleagues for her commitment to change and creating a better environment for all people. Promoting diversity and social justice are not just occasional endeavors for June, they are her passion and life-long dedication. She has touched so many lives, been a mentor for so many young academics and professionals, moved the organization forward on tough issues and continues to keep the spotlight on inclusion and diversity for ACSP. She is truly deserving of the Jay Chaterjee Award."

The 2016 Jay Chatterjee Award Committee includes: Committee Chair Sanda Kaufman, Cleveland State University; Charles Connerly, University of Iowa; Donald Miller, University of Washington; Mai Nguyen, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


ACSP/UIUC Chester Rapkin Award for the Best Article in JPER this year

Facades of Equitable Development: Santa Ana and the Affordable Housing Complex
Carolina Sarmiento and J. Revel Sims

The Chester Rapkin Award for the Best Paper in the Journal of Planning Education and Research is awarded annually. This award is generously supported by an endowment at the University of Illinois Foundation in Urbana. The award was founded for JPER of ACSP by the co-editors, Lew Hopkins and Gill-Chin Lim, in honor of Professor Rapkin at his retirement. As a distinguished educator, he mentored 70 doctoral and numerous master students at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia and Princeton.

As a pioneering researcher, Professor Rapkin authored 15 books and monographs and more than 100 professional articles, plans and reports. He was the Executive Director of the White House task force that proposed the Model Cities Program under President Lindon B. Johnson. From 1969 to 1977 he served on the New York City Planning Commission under Mayors John Lindsay and Abraham Beame.

The 2016 Chester Rapkin Award Committee includes: Committee Chair Richard Klosterman, Emeritus University of Akron; Justin Hollander, Tufts University; and Branden Born, University of Washington.


2016 JPER Top Reviewer Awards

Editorial Board Members

Michael Manville
University of California, Los Angeles

Howell Baum
University of Maryland College Park


Non-Editorial Board Members

Vanesa Castán Broto
University College London

Carolina Sarmiento
University of Wisconsin-Madison 


PAB Outstanding Site Visitor Award

PAB recognizes two site visitors annually, one educator and one practitioner, for their outstanding contributions to the PAB’s mission of ensuring the high quality of planning education. PAB's Site Visitor Committee selects award recipients based on feedback received from fellow team members and a member's past performance on Site Visits.

Charles Hoch
University of Illinois at Chicago

Jeffrey Taebel
Houston-Galveston Area Council


POCIG Edward Blakely Award

This achievement award will be given to a worthy honoree who has supported the cause of social justice, particularly in urban planning or development, for communities of color. It is in honor of Edward Blakely, who has offered extraordinary service as both scholar and practitioner following examples from his family, including in particular his father Edward Blakely, his mother Josephine Carter Blakely, and all of his uncles and aunts and cousins who lived and worked for social justice in communities of color, particularly during the years of legally-enforced racial segregation.

Alvaro Heurta, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Alvaro Huerta is “an exceptional individual,” one of his recommenders wrote. The recommender continues, “I believe he meets and exceeds the criteria of the Blakeley award.” His accomplishments are encyclopedic.

In keeping with the ideals of the Blakely Award and POCIG, Prof. Huerta has been an unrelenting advocate for diversity in the field of urban planning. He encourages young people of color, especially from working class backgrounds to pursue advanced degrees to become urban planners. One of his recommenders described Prof. Huerta as “one of the most vocal figures who has challenged racist and sexist posts and actions on PLANET and other forums.”

His prodigious efforts and dedication have been recognized. He has been the recipient of the Ford Foundation Diversity Pre-doctoral Fellowship; Frederick A. Cervantes Graduate Student Premio: Best Graduate Student Paper, National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies; and the Planning Leadership Award--Advancing Diversity and Social Change in Honor of Paul Davidoff from the American Planning Association.

All of his recommenders mentioned his humble beginnings. Growing up poor, he spent his first four years in a Tijuana slum and afterwards in an East Los Angeles housing project. Yet, Huerta has not only persevered but excelled. As mentioned, he has done distinguished work for an assistant professor. Also unlike previous Blakely awardees from R1 research institutions, he has been committed to scholarship, the classroom, and grassroots activism while brilliantly balancing a teaching university’s requirements. He is truly deserving of the Blakeley award. He has made a huge contribution to the field of urban planning and the wider community.

Huerta is an assistant professor with a joint-appointment in Urban and Regional Planning and Ethic and Women’s Studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He holds a Bachelor’s in History (UCLA), Master’s in Urban Planning (UCLA), and PhD in Urban Planning (UC Berkeley).

A longer biography for Alvaro Huerta can be found at

The 2016 Ed Blakeley Award Committee includes: Committee Chair Marisa Zapata, Portland State University; Talya Thomas, Jackson State University; Annette Kim, University of Southern California; Allie Thomas, university.


The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning promotes education, research, service and outreach in the United States and throughout the world by seeking to:

  • recognize diverse needs and interests in planning;
  • improve and enhance the accreditation process, and;
  • strengthen the role of planning education in colleges and universities through publications, conferences, and community engagement;
  • extend planning beyond the classroom into the world of practice.