Posted 7 years ago

1000 Friends of Iowa’s Best Development Awards program is designed to bring attention to cities, companies, nonprofit organizations, and individuals who demonstrate how responsible development and planning practices provide benefits to the community, the environment, and quality of life for future generations. Nominated buildings and projects help advance sustainability across our state by considering site placement, design, water efficiency, energy management, materials and resources used, indoor environmental quality, public use, and long-term benefits.


  • There is an application fee of $25.  Click here to pay securely.
  • Projects or project phases must be completed by date of application.
  • Businesses, developers, government agencies, organizations, and individuals may apply.
  • The main project owner will be the nominee. However, project nomination applications can be completed by any individual or entity involved.
  • Nominations can include one .jpg image. If applicable, an additional 3-5 images of before and after, interior and exterior, may be sent to If chosen as a category winner, you will be asked to supply high resolution .jpg files.
  • Note that category criteria AND general criteria will be used to score each nomination.
  • Questions? Send a message to
  • Deadline is November 17, 2023.

The Placemaking/Greenspace category spotlights spaces and attractions that combine sustainability, culture, inclusivity of an all-ages population, preservation of open spaces, and creative solutions that engage community members to interact with nature, with a local, small business economy, and with each other. Additional qualities include a community-led or multi-organizational effort with diverse stakeholders as well as accessibility for all to experience a sense of belonging and participation.

Nominations for the Placemaking/Greenspace category will be reviewed and awards will be granted based upon nominees that exhibit commitments to the following CATEGORY CRITERIA :

  1. Implementation of creative projects that increase community spaces, improve resident/visitor quality of life, and promote sustainable practices around natural resources, historical assets, or cultural resources
  2. Collaboration across organizations that work toward comprehensive planning and/or solicitation of community input
  3. Use of sustainable materials, processes, and energy-efficient or renewable energy technologies in infrastructure features
  4. Measurable impact or anticipated impact of increased livability, social and cultural interaction, and inclusivity and accessibility
  5. Replication opportunities as a model of placemaking, conservation, sustainability, and community/economic viability
  6. Public education and outreach

Nominations in all categories will be reviewed and awards granted based upon projects that meet the following baseline GENERAL CRITERIA:

  1. Meeting 1000 Friends of Iowa’s mission:

Founded in 1998, 1000 Friends of Iowa is the only organization in the state focused solely on promoting responsible land use in community, state, and federal development decisions. We encourage land use planning that protects farmland and natural areas, and ensures livable communities through implementation of smart growth principles

  1. Fulfilling objectives of Smart Growth as defined below:

Smart growth is the efficient use of our resources to develop sustainable communities that provide a high quality of life.

  • Smart growth efficiency utilizes our tax dollars and private investments through:
    • Reinvesting in existing communities that have experienced decline. This includes rehabilitation and reuse of older buildings and in-fill development.
    • Focusing new development around walkable, mixed-use town centers with a balance of housing and jobs.
    • Coordinating the provision of utilities and public services amongst local jurisdictions in a metropolitan region.
  • Smart growth is sustainable because it:
    • Distributes affordable housing throughout the region to improve access to employment opportunities and avoid concentrations of poverty.
    • Utilizes green building practices to conserve energy.
    • Attracts new business and industry, which increasingly consider quality of life factors when selecting communities in which to locate or expand.
    • Balances urban expansion with the protection of agricultural land and natural areas.
    • Empowers citizens to take responsibility for their community and become actively involved in the planning process.
    • Recognizes the interdependence of the social, natural, and built environments.
    • Considers the impact of development on future generations.
  • Smart growth provides a high quality of life by:
    • Creating a framework to build community and establish a sense of place.
    • Providing walkable, mixed-use community centers that include civic, commercial, and residential uses.
    • Offering residents a variety of choices in housing options and transportation modes.
    • Establishing urban green spaces and protecting environmentally sensitive areas from inappropriate development, such a displacing low-income individuals or the development of high-quality farmland.
    • Engaging residents in a more active, healthy lifestyle.
    • Reducing health threats from air and water pollution.
    • Offer equitable solutions to people of all ages, abilities, and income levels.


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