The non-profit organization 1000 Friends of Iowa is accepting nominations for the 2011 Best Development Awards until early August. These awards recognize projects that incorporate "smart growth" principles and sustainable practices, which are good for local economies, the environment, and quality of life. The awards cover six categories: new residential, renovated residential, new civic or commercial, renovated civic or commercial, mixed-use, and leadership.
Anyone can nominate a project for a best development award. The project should be completed, not still in the planning stage. You can download the nomination form here. After the jump I've posted more details on the criteria judges will consider when evaluating projects. I'm active with 1000 Friends of Iowa, but I have never been involved in selecting the Best Development Award winners.
Mixed-use projects incorporate residential and business space, either in the same building or in a walkable neighborhood. The leadership award can apply to a city as well as to a developer. For instance, the city of Dubuque won leadership awards for its Unified Development Code (2010) and for its Historic Millwork District Master Plan (2008). The city of Iowa City won the 2009 leadership award for its newly-adopted Subdivision Code.
To give you a sense of different types of projects that qualify as "best developments", I've posted information below about the 2010 winning projects in Des Moines, Dubuque, Ladora, Iowa City, and Davenport. The city of Dubuque and the Lakes Community Land Trust in Spirit Lake shared last year's leadership award.
Click here for photos and information about the 2009 Best Development Award winners: the Marshalltown Public Library (new commercial/civic), Court Avenue Lofts in Des Moines (new residential), Durrant Building in Dubuque (renovated commercial/civic), Westfield Avenue Lofts in Waterloo (renovated residential), Plaza Towers in Iowa City (mixed use), and the Historic Millwork District Master Plan in Dubuque (leadership).
Projects in Davenport, Dubuque, Sioux City, Marion, West Des Moines and Iowa City won Best Development Awards in 2008. The ISU Design West building in Sioux City is one of the best Iowa redevelopment projects I've ever seen.
Projects in Dubuque, Elkader, Davenport, Lake Park (near Spirit Lake) and the City of Okoboji won Best Development Awards in 2007. Projects in Conrad, Central City, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Des Moines won Best Development Awards in 2006.
The 2005 award-winners were Iowa City's Peninsula neighborhood, the Van Allen building in Clinton, the America's River Project in Dubuque and the Strand Theater in Grinnell.
On a related note, I was disturbed but not surprised to learn that the House Republican-backed 2012 appropriations bill covering the Environmental Protection Agency would eliminate funding for all of the EPA's smart growth programs. The House has already voted on some amendments to that legislation and will likely pass the bill this week.