EMBARGOED for Publication until 12:01 a.m. EDT, Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Charles Millenbah, www.streetair.org, email@example.com, 415-246-3000
Roberta Rewers, APA, firstname.lastname@example.org, 312-786-6395
Student Led Street Air Initiative Receives National Planning Achievement Award
American Planning Association recognizes 16 communities for best practices in planning and urban design.
CHICAGO – Street Air, a teenager-initiated research project studying traffic patterns and air quality in downtown San Francisco, has been awarded a Gold 2018 National Planning Achievement Award for a Grassroots Initiative from the American Planning Association (APA). The award recognizes the work of three high school students from Gateway and San Domenico high schools in San Francisco who took the initiative to study air pollution levels and street design along Columbus Avenue. The results of their work was shared through a documentary film that has received several awards. Street Air is one of 16 Achievement Award recipients this year.
“It is an honor for us to be acknowledged by such a prestigious organization as the APA. During our project we met several planners and found them to be inspiring. They are really trying to help communities and we wanted to do the same thing” said Charlie Millenbah, one of the founding members of Street Air. “We also want to encourage other students to work on local issues they are curious about. They would probably be surprised by how much there is to learn and how they can also help their community.”
Three high school students spent a year studying air pollution levels and traffic patterns along Columbus Avenue to determine if the heavy vehicle street traffic affected air quality. The students – Zelda Zivny, Milo Wetherall and Charlie Millenbah – conveyed their findings and street design recommendations in a short documentary film, “Columbus Discovers Air Pollution,” which has received numerous awards and has been featured at film festivals. Their work has drawn attention from the San Francisco Planning Department, which invited the teens to do community outreach for a redesign of Columbus Avenue.
The students plan to expand their research by studying the effects of street-level pollution on nearby restaurant interiors and staff. Street Air’s groundbreaking research highlights pollution as an urban planning issue, and the design recommendations can help guide other cities’ efforts to combat air quality issues.
“Street Air is the essence of community engagement and illustrates that students also have a stake in creating communities of lasting value,” said W. Shedrick Coleman, AIA, 2018 Awards Jury chair. “This meaningful project examines the impacts of the urban environment on the health and well-being of its community members.”
Each year, APA recognizes outstanding efforts in planning and planning leadership through its National Planning Excellence and Achievement Awards. The two-tier awards are selected through a juried process. Excellence Award recipients are the highest honor and Achievement Awards recognize accomplishments in areas of specialization within the planning profession.
APA’s national awards program, the profession’s highest honor, is a proud tradition established more than 50 years ago to recognize outstanding community plans, planning programs and initiatives, public education efforts and individuals for their leadership on planning issues.
In addition to Street Air, APA honors the following 2018 Achievement Award recipients:
- Spanish Planning Committee; Los Angeles County, California
- Planning Assistance for Thriving Communities; St. Paul, Minnesota
- San Francisco’s Accessory Dwelling Unit and Unit Legalization Program; San Francisco, California
- Columbus-Franklin County Local Food System Planning; Columbus, Ohio
- A Return to Past Prosperity: The ASARCO Redevelopment Project; Adams County and Denver, Colorado Economic Development – Gold
- Collaboration: Sea-Level Marin Adaptation Response Team; San Rafael, California
- Jamestown Urban Design Plan; Jamestown, New York
- Community Vision Plan for the High Line Canal; Denver Metro Area, Colorado
- Innovations in Public Engagement; Newark, New Jersey
- City of San Jose Video Tutorial; San Jose, California
- National Park Service Long-Range Transportation Plan; Washington, D.C.
- Grand Rapids Vital Streets Plan; Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Charlotte WALKS Pedestrian Plan; Charlotte, North Carolina
- Rock Chapel Marine/PORT; Chelsea, Massachusetts
- Rockaway Boardwalk Reconstruction; Queens, New York
All of the 2018 National Planning Award recipients will be honored at a special luncheon during APA’s National Planning Conference in New Orleans on April 23, 2018. The recipients will also be featured in the April issue of Planning magazine. For a complete list and summary of all the APA 2018 National Planning Excellence and Achievement Award recipients, visit www.planning.org/awards/2018/.
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The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides vital leadership in creating communities of lasting value. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the profession of planning, offering better choices for where and how people work and live. The 38,000 APA members work in concert with community residents, civic leaders and business interests to create communities that enrich people's lives. Through its philanthropic work, APA’s Foundation helps to reduce economic and social barriers to good planning. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Learn more at www.planning.org.