The Groves Award
The Groves Award for outstanding leadership and vision by a public official in the promotion of Transect-based planning is given jointly by the Transect Codes Council and the Congress for the New Urbanism. The award was created in honor of Ken Groves, the late Planning Director of the City of Montgomery, Alabama. His leadership in using land development and planning to create better communities is a gift that he left for all. Through his vision and persistence, Alabama's capital city began its journey back to prominence and sustainability.
To nominate a person or organization, follow the simple instructions on this form.
2015 Winner: Matthew Lewis
Matthew Lewis recently served as the Development Services Director for the City of San Marcos, Texas, and prior to that assignment he served as the Community Development Director for the City of Hutto, Texas. In both San Marcos and Hutto, he used his passion, persistence and know-how to lead the successful adoption and implementation of transect-based comprehensive plans and codes.
Matthew currently serves as the Assistant Director of Planning & Development for the City of Austin, Texas where he continues to apply his expertise and high-energy approach to improving the quality of development through transect-based planning, coding and implementation.
2014 Winner: Rick Bernhardt
Rick Bernhardt is the Executive Director of the Metro Nashville Planning Department, who has incorporated the use of the Transect into community-wide planning in Metro Nashville as a tool to ensure the ordering and organization of the built and un-built environment based on its rural-to-urban context. This allows important features such as building type and public right-of-way design to correspond to its appropriate setting in terms of development intensity.
The jury selected Rick as the 2014 Groves Award recipient because of his long-term leadership in furthering metro Transect-based planning and coding. His accomplishments include:
- Implementing Nashville’s change from a conventional land use and density planning framework to a land use system using the Transect as the basis of community character districts.
- Restructuring the multimodal transportation plan to be founded on Transect appropriate designs.
- Nashville neighborhood Transect-based codes (not including downtown) saw property values increase 3.5 times faster than the region as a whole.
- Downtown Nashville's Transect-based code saw property values up 209% post-adoption (30 months pre and post adoption have same amounts of recession).
- A property under Downtown Nashville's Transect-based plan and code produces 1,150 times more income per acre to the City than suburban counterparts.
2013 Winner: Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council
TCRPC is the Treasure Coast's only regional forum where elected and appointed leaders regularly come together to discuss complex regional issues, develop strategic regional responses for resolving them, and build consensus for setting and accomplishing regional goals. The TCRPC has use the Transect as a pivotal tool in placemaking regionally and throughout Florida. The jury selected the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council as the 2013 Groves Award because of the group's long-term leadership in furthering regional knowledge of Transect-based planning and coding. Included in TCRPC's Transect-based accomplishments is the St. Lucie Towns, Villages, and Countryside Plan and Transect-based code adopted in 2006, which covers 155,000 people over 49,087 acres, enabling both livability and preservation.
Since 1989, the Council has been providing town planning and urban design assistance upon request to local governments in the Treasure Coast Region and, more recently, in other areas of the state. The TCRPC Urban Design Studio is a team of urban designers, architects, and graphic technicians. A total of 58 public charrettes have been conducted in which Council has either has an important role or been the prime facilitator and organizer. Council has assisted in other 23 charrettes. Master Plans have been prepared, design guidelines, comprehensive plan amendments, traffic calming measures and codes have been recommended, and assistance with implementation has been provided.
The Awards Jury consisted of Jason King, Dover, Kohl & Partners; Rick Hall, Hall Planning and Engineering, Eliza Harris, Canin & Associates, Matthew McElroy, City of El Paso and winner of the 2012 Groves Award, Bill Spikowski, Spikowski Planning Associates, Matt Lambert, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co., and Hazel Borys, PlaceMakers.
2012 Winner: Mathew McElroy, City of El Paso
Mathew McElroy, Deputy Director of Planning and Economic Development in the City of El Paso, is the 2012 recipient of the Groves Award. The award recognizes outstanding leadership and vision in the promotion of transect-based planning and will be presented this year at the 20th Congress for the New Urbanism in West Palm Beach, Florida at the Friday Morning Plenary, May 11, 2012, 9:00AM to 10:15AM.
McElroy was unanimously selected by the jury this year due to his leadership and commitment in adopting New Urban and Transect-based plans, including the new city-wide Comprehensive Plan Plan El Paso; leadership in multiple SmartCode re-zonings throughout the City of El Paso; his commitment to CNU-accreditation; and his reform of El Paso's conventional subdivision regulations.
This year's jury consisted of Paul Crabtree, Crabtree Group Inc; Chad Emerson, City of Montgomery; Ana Gelabert-Sanchez, Former Planning Director of the City of Miami and co-recipient of the 2011 Groves Award; Marina Khoury, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company; Jason King, Dover, Kohl & Partners; Nathan Norris, PlaceMakers; and Sandy Sorlien, Smartcode Local. Jason King and Nathan Norris abstained from the vote given that they worked closely with McElroy in the past.
Learn more about McElroy's accomplishments by downloading the Transect Codes Council press release on McElroy's honor.
2011 Winner: Miami 21
Determination, persistence, and political know-how: Not a bad list of requirements for converting ambitious goals into official policy, and an apt description of the tools employed by former Miami planning director Ana Gelabert-Sanchez and former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz to shape their city’s blueprint for growth via the landmark Miami 21 form-based code. The Miami 21 code was first distinguished in 2010, as one of the winners of the prestigious Driehaus Form-Based Codes Award, given by the Form Based Codes Institute. Now, their achievement has earned them the additional distinction as recipients of the first Groves Award for outstanding leadership and vision in the promotion of Transect-based planning.
Given jointly by the Transect Codes Council and the Congress for the New Urbanism, the Groves Award honors the legacy of Ken Groves, the late planning director of the City of Montgomery, Alabama. “I can’t think of a better tribute to Ken than to set the standard for the award named after him with this announcement,” said Victor Dover, both the jury and CNU Board Chair. “Thanks to the tireless efforts of Ana and Mayor Diaz, Miami 21 represents a model for coding reform for large, complex urban environments. It’s a landmark achievement.”
While serving the City of Miami during one its strongest growth periods, Gelabert-Sanchez and Diaz realized that Miami’s outdated “one-size-fits-all” code was seriously flawed. They led the effort to completely replace Miami’s existing zoning code with one that formally incorporated walkability, sustainability, predictability, respect of neighborhood context and a high-quality public realm. Ana spent five years tirelessly writing, editing, testing and selling the code to Miami’s varied stakeholders, while Manny ‘s hands-on approach led the political charge and spearheaded the effort to incorporate environmental stewardship into the code.
“Their combined leadership, determination, persistence and political know how were key elements for its approval,” said Groves Award judges in announcing the winners.
Watch the inaugural Groves Award presentation at the beginning of the Closing Plenary held Saturday, June 4th, 2011 at the 19th annual Congress for the New Urbanism conference in Madison, Wisconsin.
(Miami Photo Credit: Beraldo Leal– Creative Commons via Flickr)