City of Riverside Wins APA Excellence Award

Posted by on Apr 4, 2022 in Headlines

The Inland Empire Section of the American Planning Association has announced their 2022 Award Winners, and we are pleased to announce that our work with the City of Riverside has been recognized with an Excellence Award.


In late 2019 the City of Riverside initiated an update of its General Plan. However, in early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the City to alter its approach and instead focused on updating only the Housing Element and Public Safety Element. This focused approach helped the City meet its goals for public outreach and engagement in a virtual, and socially distant manner, in keeping with COVID-19 protocols. 

As a part of the Housing Element update, Riverside was required by the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) to find sites to accommodate approximately 24,000 new housing units by 2029. In consideration of potential sites to meet RHNA requirements, the City worked to ensure that the location of the potential units considered factors related to Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) such as access to transit, education, and employment as well as environmental justice.

With the resultant group of sites, planners at Houseal Lavigne employed emerging web-based technologies to extend the communication and engagement with the public during this time of isolation.  The city of Riverside’s adoption of web-based technology included the use of web-maps, web-based story telling tools including StoryMaps and interactive 3d web scenes. ArcGIS Urban and CityEngine were also used to test potential policy changes and development scenarios. Now that the updated Housing Element is adopted, the City continues to interactively engage with residents, letting them explore 3D web maps and an ArcGIS StoryMap that outlines the planning process and outcomes.

This StoryMap provides an overview of the approach and technology used by the City for its award-winning Housing Element.

The full list of award winners is below. Additional information can be found on the Chapter’s website.

Advancing Diversity and Social Change:
Excellence: Riverside PACT

Best Practices:
Excellence: SCAG Disadvantaged Communities Active Transportation Planning Initiative
Merit: Ontario Recreation and Parks Master Plan

Comprehensive Planning (Large Jurisdiction):
Excellence: Riverside Housing Element Update
Merit: Rancho Cucamonga General Plan

Comprehensive Planning (Small Jurisdiction):
Excellence: City of Perris Green Valley Specific Plan

Economic Planning:
Excellence: Palm Desert Outdoor Dining Program

Grassroots Initiative:
Excellence : Big Bear Workforce Housing Initiative 
Merit : Artlands Redlands

Hard-won Victory:
Excellence: Palm Desert Vitalia Apartments Affordable Housing

Healthy Communities:
Excellence: Sidewalks for Muscoy

Excellence: City of Palm Desert San Pablo Avenue Corridor 

Innovation in Green Community Planning:
Excellence: Rialto CAP

Monica Guerra

Planning Advocate:
Janice Etter

Public Outreach:
Excellence: City of Eastvale RHNA Challenge

Transportation Planning:
Excellence : CVAG Sync
Merit: Ontario Active Transportation Master Plan

Urban Design:
Excellence: UCR LRDP