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May 13, 2002


Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris Wins National Planning Award


The American Planning Association (APA) has presented Mayor Jeremy Harris with its 2002 National Distinguished Leadership Award for an Elected Official.  The Mayor received this unique honor at APA’s national conference in Chicago.  Highlights of Mayor Harris’s award-winning efforts were also featured in the March 2002 issue of Planning magazine.


The award recognized the Mayor’s achievements during 15 years of public service—including more than eight years as the City’s Managing Director—especially his commitment to and passion for community-based planning, architecture and urban design.  It recognized his focus on improving the lives of Honolulu’s citizens.  Because of the Mayor’s leadership, virtually every City and County project contains an element of the planning process.


“Mayor Harris has offered incomparable support for excellence in planning and community design, and his passion for protecting the integrity of both natural and man-made environments is unmatched,” said Bruce Knight, chair of APA’s awards jury. “Mayor Harris has fostered the empowerment of citizens who now take much greater responsibility for their neighborhoods and communities.”


The Mayor’s initiation of the Visioning Process in 1999 was one of the key programs acknowledged by the APA.  The process was created in direct response to a need to bring residents, business leaders, and local government together at the grassroots level to improve Honolulu’s neighborhoods. In a cooperative effort, 19 vision teams develop and update vision statements, concepts, and priorities. Based on this direction, $2 million is budgeted for each vision team, subject to the City Council’s approval, to fund and implement capital improvement projects.


In partnership with the Honolulu chapters of the American Institute of Architects, American Planning Association, American Society of Landscape Architects and the Consulting Engineers Council of Hawaii, Mayor Harris tapped local designers, planners, and engineers under the Vision Design Assistance Team Program. They offer their professional expertise on a volunteer basis to help facilitate meetings, encourage discussion and assist each of the 19 teams in graphic presentation of their projects and visions. Both the professional contributors and the vision teams have gained valuable insight from each other during this process.


Vision Projects have included:

·        Town centers

·        The Pearl Harbor Historic Trail

·        Restoring old towns such as Haleiwa

·        Recapturing Oahu’s waterfront

·        Sustainable land use

·        Projects to “keep the country, country”


Additionally, the award recognized the empowerment of citizens who participated in the Vision Process, and the difference they made in their communities in the areas of planning and sustainable development.


Mayor Harris also took a leadership role in addressing Honolulu’s transportation needs by embarking on a comprehensive community planning effort known as OAHU TRANS 2K. As a result of this effort, new transportation solutions, such as the Bus Rapid Transit, the City Express, and In-town Electric Trolley, are being implemented.


            The APA recognition is one of more than 40 national and local awards Mayor Harris and the City and County have received since 1999.  These awards acknowledge some of the City Administration’s significant accomplishments in urban planning and design, management, and preserving the quality-of-life in Honolulu. 


            Locally, the Hawaii Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties recently presented the Mayor with its Outstanding Service Award for 2002.  This award is presented to public officials who eliminate red tape, support the formation of public and private partnerships to improve the community, and demonstrate a balanced approach to development and economic issues.



Tuesday, July 09, 2002

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