This fall czb will head to Allentown, Pennsylvania to accept the Daniel Burnham Award from the Pennsylvania APA. The Daniel Burnham Award, named after one of the county’s most prolific planners, is given to a plan that demonstrates exceptional amounts of originality, has a high probability of implementation, and contributes to the advancement of the field of planning.

Compared to earlier plans for the city, which were designed to channel rapid growth and development, Erie’s new comprehensive plan addresses a very different planning context. As czb points out throughout the document, the city is grappling with a sizable imbalance of supply and demand after 50 years of population loss. The weak market conditions that have resulted are expressed in a variety of ways, including 4,700 vacant housing units, nearly 10,000 residential structures that show moderate-to-severe signs of distress and disinvestment, and a community that currently lacks the fiscal capacity to invest sufficiently in its core assets.

By explicitly invoking the need to right-size, prioritize, and make difficult choices, the plan goes well beyond the traditional scope of comprehensive plans. It is both a plan and a decision-making tool that is designed to align the work of stakeholders across the city with strategies tailored to the needs of specific sub-markets and the city as a whole.