The ISOCARP Awards for Excellence (AfE) reward plans in design phase as well as projects in progress or already implemented and are open to a wide range of professionals and institutions operating in the domain of urban and regional planning. Participants are invited to submit different tools used in planners’ daily practice: normative plans, strategic plans, urban projects, programmes, policies, research works, software, smart tools facilitating planners, etc. This prestigious award is bestowed in two categories: Grand Award and Merit Award.
In 2017, a record number of fifteen eligible entries (including seven countries over four continents) were submitted:
- Tehran River Restoration and Improvement Plan – Iran.
- Oudlajan Courtyard Complex (Urban Planning) – Iran.
- Dubai Silicon Oasis Master Plan Enhancement – Singapore.
- Conceptual Strategy for the Metropolitan and Countryside District of Xiaojia River – China.
- Ningbo Urban Comprehensive Transport Planning (2015-2020) – China.
- Caribbean and Santander’s Diamond of Colombia. Integration of physical and digital world as a development strategy – Spain/Colombia.
- Local Identity-Oriented Strategic Development Planning of Jiangsu Province – China.
- The urban design of Wanda International Leisure City in the city of Guilin – China.
- ‘Desert Rose’ Smart Satellite City, Dubai – United Arab Emirates.
- Haikou Wanda Urban Design – China.
- The Kila at Seven Style Mile – India.
- Improving quality of life in Oudlajan, a historical neighborhood of Tehran (Second entry from District 12) – Iran.
- Regeneration of Harandi Park (First entry from District 12) – Iran.
- Guangzhou Beautiful Village & Characteristic Town Planning – Rural Living Environment Improvement & Innovative Development Practice in Metropolitan Area – China.
- Transforming the Segregated Apartheid City: Durban Inner City Spatial Vision and Regeneration Strategy – South Africa.
The evaluation process was very difficult, due to a number of entries, their high quality, and the diversity regarding: location on the globe, socio-economic and political context, people and cultures (Chinese, Iranians, Indians, South Africans, etc.), challenges and issues faced, themes and vision, environmental issues, and finally scale (from over 100,000 m2 to one singe building), etc.
By the end of the challenging judging process, the jury composed of five experienced professional planners – Abdelwehab Alwehab (Iraq), Zaklina Gligorijevic (Serbia), Stefan Netsch (Austria), Stanley Yip (Hong Kong, AfE Winner 2015), and Amos Brandeis (Israel, AfE Winner 2011), as the jury president – decided to award two projects (one on the regional, an other on the rural scale) as the Grand Award Winners, as well as three projects (two on the urban scale, and one on the regional scale) as the Merit Award Winners.
Jury President Amos Brandeis read the jury report to the winners and the audience and handed over the prizes.
2017 Grand Award for Excellence Winners:
The Caribbean and Santander’s Diamond of Colombia. Integration of physical and digital world as a development strategy, by Fundacion Metropoli, Spain
The initiative is aimed at promoting territorial and urban development within the northwestern region of Colombia, as a post conflict zone. It was formed in a collaborative process by 10 various departments, 11 main cities, and two territorial connectors. It is a very innovative and pioneering plan, based on regional cooperation, which demonstrates an excellent concept of combining the physical and the digital world. Cutting edge and extremely relevant to the planning profession and to the 2017 ISOCARP conference theme. The graphic presentation of the plan is excellent, but the judges ask the winners to return in a few years and present also excellent photos of the implementation phase, which must be a huge challenge!
Guangzhou Beautiful Village & Characteristic Town Planning – Rural Living Environment Improvement & Innovative Development Practice in Metropolitan Area, by Guangzhou Land Resources and Planning Commission, and Guangzhou Urban Planning & Design Survey Research Institute, China
This project is about the “Beautiful Village” strategy within a huge and fast growing metropolitan area in China. It is an excellent project which deals with the hard core of recent metropolitan areas’ issues in China and elsewhere – how to improve the quality of life, the environmental conditions, the economy and actually the role the rural villages whiting the urban context, without losing their identity. This project demonstrates a long-term innovative and smart interdisciplinary strategy with on the ground results.
2017 Merit Awards for Excellence Winners:
Teheran River Restoration and Improvement Plan, by Teheran Engineering and Technical Consulting Organization (TETCO), Iran
Very interesting and ambitious project to restore the Teheran River, which includes 170 km of waterways within the city, and reconnect it to the life of 8.5 million people who live in this dense metropolitan city. Most of the waterways were channelized by concrete walls, and have lost their urban and environmental role, while 22% of them have been completely covered or buried. Water resources is one of the most important and challenging issues faced by planners worldwide, and this plan demonstrates a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach, which combines urban, environmental, social and other aspects in a creative manner.
Transforming the Segregated Apartheid City: Durban Inner City Spatial Vision and Regeneration Strategy, by eThekwini Municipality, South Africa
This project presents a comprehensive planning strategy for the inner city of Durban. The visionary and creative plan emphasizes the development of this large urban area as a walkable city, which is aimed to be vibrant and liveable, thus opening the opportunities for all. Designed as plan for the people who live in the city, this very timely challenge is fabulously presented as a case study, which can be studied by many other cities.
Local Identity-Oriented Strategic Development Planning of Jiangsu Province, by Jiangsu Provincial Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, Urbanisation and Urban-Rural Planning Research Center of Jiangsu, Jiangsu Institute of Urban & Rural Planning and Design, and Urban & Rural Development Research Center of Jiangsu Province, China
This project for the provincial level is a cross-regional planning project for an area of more than 100,000 km2 of mainly rural and natural area, within one of the most densely populated areas in China. It presents a comprehensive plan, based on a wide scale spatial strategy, which considers geography, culture and the built environment, and defines 8 sub-districts, and 48 diverse “Charming Zones”, mainly based on the beautiful landscape and unique water resources of lakes and rivers. The plan was prepared with extensive participation of diverse stakeholders, and includes an action plan, and can be an eye-opening example for other regions. The challenge for the coming years will be to make sure these zones become sustainable, after the initial government support of the implementation phase.
We are thankful to all the submitters who clearly demonstrated how diverse, meaningful, challenging, and interesting the planning profession is, and how much our work can contribute for a better world. Therefore, we invite and hope for many more entries in the coming years. It is not a matter of scale, but of quality and eye-opening projects, which can serve as outstanding examples of contemporary planning practice.