Faculty Award - John Friedmann Book Award
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Deadline: June 1


 Presented in even-numbered years only.

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) has established the John Friedmann Book Award, approved by its Governing Board on April 13, 2013. This award is presented to a book or comparable work that best exemplifies scholarship in the area of planning for sustainable development. ACSP grants this award based on nomination packages submitted every other year, during the spring of even-numbered years, for presentation at the annual ACSP fall meeting (or other venue as determined by the ACSP conference schedule). This award is complementary with the Paul Davidoff Award designed primarily for books focused on social justice, and awarded during odd-numbered years.

General Criteria

  • Exemplary scholarship in the area of planning for sustainable development, at a range of scales, including local, regional, national, or international.The award selection committee is particularly interested in the two areas of (1) economic development or (2) ‘environmental’ or ’just’ sustainability, which are specific components of the broader field of “sustainability.”
  • An original work which is either an original book, other than an edited volume; a creative feature-length film; or other creative product of exceptional quality;
  • Written or presented in the English language;
  • During the previous five years.

Specifically, the Selection Committee is looking for:

  • The degree to which the book/topic addresses social learning, incorporates diverse perspectives, offers innovation in conceptualizing planning institutions (what they are, who they are, etc.), and addresses the role of planner beyond technical analyst;
  • High quality analysis or argument (if applicable);
  • Original thought, creativity, and innovation (i.e., what is really new about this work? How does it push the boundaries of knowledge?);
  • High quality writing, including the ability to transcend typical academic audiences; and
  • Excellent overall exposition of the work (e.g., a narrative arc, clarity, layout, supporting figures, etc.).

Nominations Should Include

  • one nomination letter (self-nominations acceptable as well); and
  • no fewer than two or more than four letters of support
  • delivery of the requested number of books as determined by the selection committee (addresses provided upon completion of the nomination form below).

John Friedmann Book Award Committee
The selection committee, appointed by the ACSP President, will ideally include a diverse (by age, race/ ethnicity, gender) collection of scholars with a distinguished record of publication and scholarship as well as some knowledge of sustainability planning.

  • Chair: Scott Campbell, University of Michigan, sdcamp@umich.edu
  • Julian Agyeman, Tufts University
  • Phil Berke, Texas A&M University
  • Lisa Schweitzer, University of Southern California

Brief Biography of John Friedmann, University of British Columbia

Friedmann has taught at the Federal University of Bahia, Brazil (1956-58), MIT (1961-65), the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (1966-69), and the University of California at Los Angeles (1969-96, where he founded the Urban Planning Department in 1969 under Dean Harvey S. Perloff. After his official retirement from UCLA, he has served in honorary positions at the University of Melbourne, the National University of Taiwan, and since 2001, has held an honorary appointment at the School of Community and Regional Planning, the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Throughout his life, he has been an advisor to governments in Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, Mozambique, and in China, where he was appointed Honorary Foreign Advisor to the China Academy of Planning and Urban Design (2007).

He is the author of 26 books, including 9 edited/co-edited collections, and about 200 articles on a wide range of topics, from regional planning to urbanization, social development, and planning theory. His writings have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and Farsi.

He is best known for his early work on regional development planning with William Alonso, the core-periphery theory of regional development, the theory of transactive planning and social learning, and the world city hypothesis. His current research interests are focused on urbanization processes in China. His most recent books include China’s Urban Transition (University of Minnesota Press, 2004) and Insurgencies: Essays in Planning Theory (Routledge, 2011).

Among the many honors he has received are a Guggenheim Fellowship and Honorary doctorates from the Pontifical Catholic University in Santiago, Chile (1969) and the University of Dortmund (1988). He was honored by the Chilean Government in 1969 receiving the Bernardo O’Higgins Order (in rank of Commander); was the first person to receive the prestigious Distinguished Planning Educator Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning; and received the first UN-Habitat Lecture Award for lifetime achievement in the service of human settlements (2006).

Past Award Winners

  • 2016 Sonia Hirt, Zoned in the USA: The Origins and Implications of American Land-Use Regulation (Cornell University Press); Honorable Mention William Goldsmith, Saving Our Cities: A Progressive Plan to Transform Urban America (Cornell University Press)
  • 2014 Andrew Karvonen: The Politics of Urban Runoff: Nature, Technology and the Sustainable City (MIT Press)




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.


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