Memphis 3.0 Comprehensive Plan honored by American Planning Association as nation’s best for 2020

Memphis 3.0, the City of Memphis’s first comprehensive plan for growth since 1981, has been selected by the American Planning Association for the prestigious Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan for 2020. 

The announcement, originally planned for the national planning conference in Houston, TX was made Sunday evening during a Facebook Live awards announcement. Staff from the Division of Planning and Development joined the event remotely to celebrate receiving the nation’s highest honor bestowed on a comprehensive plan.

APA’s Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan is presented annually to a plan that advances planning—the work of building and enriching communities. The award is named for Daniel Burnham, one of the nation’s most renowned urban planners.  

The product of significant community involvement of public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders, over 15,000 residents, and over 400 public meetings and activities, the Memphis 3.0 Comprehensive Plan was honored by APA for its innovative use of community-based anchors as the building block of new growth, investment, transportation connections, and redevelopment policy in neighborhoods across the City.

“The Memphis 3.0 planning process represented a historic moment for our City to not only develop and adopt the first plan since 1981, but to involve over 15,000 residents in the process of shaping our City’s growth for years to come,” said Mayor Jim Strickland.

For more on American Planning Association and their selection of the Memphis 3.0 Comprehensive Plan, please see below.

“Receiving this award is such a great honor not only for our staff, but for the Memphis community,” said John Zeanah, Director of the Division of Planning and Development.

The Memphis 3.0 Comprehensive Plan process began in November 2016 and continued for over two years. The plan was adopted as the City’s general plan for physical development by the Memphis and Shelby County Land Use Control Board on February 14, 2019, by Executive Order of Mayor Jim Strickland on May 14, 2019, and by the Memphis City Council on December 3, 2019. 

Feature image: Roshun Austin and residents of the South District map assets, challenges, and opportunities for new growth in the first of three planning workshops for each district. Photo courtesy City of Memphis.

To view the full plan or for more information, please visit


Memphis’s First Comprehensive Plan Since 1981

For nearly 40 years, Memphis, Tennessee, lacked a comprehensive plan. Without a plan to map out the city’s vision for growth and development, the city drifted into the 21st century with an outdated model of growth by sprawl and annexation.

Without an established culture of planning, Memphis struggled to identify a single community vision with broad public support. In November 2016, the city began developing the Memphis 3.0 Comprehensive Plan to reimagine a vision for the city’s future.

Adopted unanimously by the Memphis and Shelby County Land Use Control Board in February 2019, the result is a national model for planning the developed city that focuses on flexibility and enabling the growth of urban assets.

The plan’s success is recognized with the 2020 Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan.

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