2023 Nomination Form

SCAG Sustainability Awards Guidelines & Application Form

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Deadline: January 10, 2023 at 11:59 p.m.

GUIDELINES

SCAG 2023 Sustainability Awards

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is committed to highlighting excellence in sustainable planning and projects in the SCAG Region. These projects are integral to carrying out the goals and policies of SCAG’s Connect SoCal Plan, and promoting a more mobile, sustainable, and prosperous region. Each year, SCAG honors projects that best exemplify the core principles of sustainability with awards at the Annual Regional Conference & General Assembly.

SCAG is now accepting nominations for projects (including plans and programs) that use innovative planning to improve the mobility, livability, prosperity, and sustainability of our region. The SCAG Sustainability Awards Program is open to governmental agencies, non-governmental agencies, community based organizations, non-profits, universities, etc. For projects that span multiple agencies, sectors, and geographies, applicants are encouraged to submit a joint entry. Submittals include projects completed or adopted after January 1, 2018, and prior to January 10, 2023. Videos of winning projects will be presented in an awards ceremony held on May 4th or May 5th (final date to be determined) at the 2023 Regional Conference & General Assembly. All winners will receive an award suitable for display.

AWARD CATEGORIES & CRITERIA

This year, SCAG will accept submissions in six categories that are detailed below. Applicants can only submit their project under one category; submissions will be evaluated based on the selected category criteria. In addition to awarding one project in each of the six categories, one additional project is awarded Outstanding Achievement in Sustainability. Click here to see examples of past winners.

Active, Healthy, & Safe Communities

Honors an implemented project that promotes public health through improved active transportation, transportation safety, or pollution reduction. Submissions should demonstrate how the projects promote healthy behaviors such as biking or walking, improve community safety through declining collision rates, or reduce exposure to environmental hazards. Projects should result in communities where residents are empowered to lead healthier lives.

Clean Cities: Alternative Fuels & Infrastructure

Honors an implemented project that highlights efforts to promote low- and zero-emission transportation in the region, with a focus on clean fuel vehicles and infrastructure. Successful examples might include replacing gas or diesel fleet vehicles with cleaner alternatives, streamlining permitting for clean fuel and electric vehicle charging infrastructure, a vehicle idle reduction program, or a program to promote system-wide efficiency and reduced fuel consumption. This award is presented by the SCAG Clean Cities Coalition, a U.S. Department of Energy-certified program.

Equity

Honors a project or program that advances equity and facilitates the growth of healthy, livable, sustainable, and economically resilient communities. Submissions should demonstrate how the plan or project addresses improving outcomes for traditionally marginalized, vulnerable and/or underrepresented communities. Examples include projects that have meaningful partnerships with community-based organizations or community ambassadors, explicitly integrate equity into the planning process (e.g., through the existing conditions analysis, project prioritization methodologies, etc.), or develop innovative tools or resources that help further advance equitable planning.

Green Region Initiative: Resource Conservation & Climate Action

Honors an implemented project that addresses climate change through greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction or adaptation planning. This includes projects that conserve, restore and enhance the natural environment, and/or prepare communities for challenges related to a changing climate such as extreme heat, drought, sea level rise, and wildfire. Examples include habitat conservation and restoration projects, climate action plans, green infrastructure, and watershed management projects.

Housing Innovation

Honors an implemented project that promotes and supports innovative housing practices. Submissions should demonstrate how the plan or project addresses housing needs across income levels, uses innovative practices or policies, improves access to jobs and transit, or helps create diverse, vibrant communities. Submissions for projects should show promise for implementation in the near term, and submissions for projects should show how they are exemplary for meeting housing needs.

Plan, Policy, and Programs

Honors a plan, policy, or program focused on the integration of land use and transportation planning that achieves sustainable outcomes. Submissions should identify how the project promotes infill, Transit Oriented Development (TOD), equitable access to housing and employment opportunities, or placemaking for vibrant and connected neighborhoods and centers. Submissions should demonstrate the potential for sustainable outcomes such as reduced vehicle miles traveled (VMT), increased transit use, increased housing and jobs within regional Priority Growth Areas (p. 50), and shorter distance trips in existing and planned neighborhoods. Nominations can include, but not limited to, plans for smart growth, signage, natural and farmland preservation, urban design, wetland mitigation, resource conservation, climate action and adaptation, capital improvements, citizen participation, neighborhood improvement, and other sustainable plans or programs.

ELIGIBILITY

Nominations are open to all projects within the SCAG region that promote the goals and policies of SCAG’s Connect SoCal Plan. Eligible submittals must have been completed or adopted after January 1, 2018 and prior to January 10, 2023. The SCAG Sustainability Awards Program is open to governmental agencies, non-governmental agencies, community based organizations, non-profits, universities, etc. Projects which previously won a SCAG Sustainability Award, including honorable mentions and awards of merit, are ineligible to apply again. Projects which have received funding through SCAG grants are also ineligible to apply.

EVALUATION PROCESS AND CRITERIA

Projects will be evaluated by a review panel consisting of experts in the fields of planning and development using the following rubric. Criteria include benefits to disadvantaged communities, collaboration, quantifiable results, and innovation.

Scoring in each category will be decided based on what might be expected from comparable projects. Additionally, scores will be determined relative to the scope and particulars of the submittal to ensure that exemplary projects can be recognized, even if they are small in scale. For example, an active transportation plan for a small community that shows strong merit and overcame barriers could be competitive against an active transportation plan that covers a larger area or population but has a less compelling story of how it came to fruition or how it will benefit the community.

CRITERIA MAXIMUM POINTS
Benefits traditionally marginalized, vulnerable, and/or underrepresented communities 30
Working with partners 20
Quantification of benefits 30
Going the extra mile 20
Total 100

 

CRITERIA 0-7 Points 8-14 Points 15-22 Points 23-30 Points
Benefits traditionally marginalized, vulnerable, and/or underrepresented communities* Does not benefit or consider traditionally marginalized, vulnerable, and/or underrepresented communities. Demonstrates some benefits and/or consideration of traditionally marginalized, vulnerable, and/or underrepresented communities. Demonstrates better than average benefits and/or consideration of traditionally marginalized, vulnerable, and/or underrepresented communities than might be expected for this type of project or plan. Demonstrates significant and substantive benefits and/or consideration of traditionally marginalized, vulnerable, and/or underrepresented communities.

 

CRITERIA 0-5 Points 6-10 Points 11-15 Points 16-20 Points
Working with partners Does not demonstrate partnering nor collaboration across traditional boundaries. Demonstrates some partnerships and collaboration across administrative, jurisdictional, geographic, sectors (e.g., public, private, community-based organizations (CB0s), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)), and/or other divisions. Demonstrates better than average partnering and collaboration across administrative, jurisdictional, geographic, sectors (e.g., public, private, CBOs, NGOs), and/or other divisions than might be expected for this type of project or plan. Demonstrates significant and substantive partnering and collaboration across administrative, jurisdictional, geographic, sectors (e.g., public, private, CBOs, NGOs), and/or other divisions.

 

CRITERIA 0-7 Points 8-14 Points 15-22 Points 23-30 Points
Quantification of benefits The benefits of the plan, project, or program are not quantified, do not meet expectations for a plan or project of this type, or are negligible. Demonstrates some reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, vehicle miles traveled, air pollution, share of single-occupancy vehicle trips, or other performance measure to improve sustainability and the lives of Southern Californians. Demonstrates a better than average reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, vehicle miles traveled, air pollution, share of single-occupancy vehicle trips, or other performance measure to improve sustainability and the lives of Southern Californians. Demonstrates a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, vehicle miles traveled, air pollution, share of single-occupancy vehicle trips, or other performance measures to improve sustainability and the lives of Southern Californians.

 

CRITERIA 0-5 Points 6-10 Points 11-15 Points 16-20 Points
Going the extra mile Shows little to no innovation. The plan or project is part of what is required or expected as a usual course of business. Generally follows established guidelines or practices, but demonstrates some amount of innovation or extra effort. Exceeds expectations or standard practice as a whole or in some elements. The project or plan could be a model for similar communities. This project, program, or plan goes well beyond what is required or done as a usual course of business. The project, program, or plan innovates beyond standard practice. Serves as a model for the region.

*Populations served can include, but are not limited to low-income households, youth, elderly, persons with disabilities, minority communities, or areas as defined by Connect SoCal’s Environmental Justice Technical Report (SB 535 Disadvantaged Communities, Environmental Justice Areas, or Communities of Concern).

Notes About Scoring

Scoring in each category will generally be decided based on what might be expected from comparable projects. Additionally, scores will be determined relative to the scope and particulars of the project to ensure that exemplary projects can be recognized, even if they are relatively small in scale. For example, an active transportation plan for a small community that shows strong merit and overcame barriers could be competitive against an active transportation plan that covers a larger area or population but has a less compelling story of how it came to fruition or how it will benefit the community.

For questions regarding the 2023 SCAG Sustainability Awards, please contact Lyle Janicek at janicek@scag.ca.gov.

AWARDS

Winners will be recognized at a luncheon at SCAG’s Regional Conference & General Assembly.