Philadelphia’s Interface Studio receives prestigious national planning award

Spring Garden Connector / Interface Studio
Interface Studio

 Washington, D.C. – Interface Studio, a full-service planning and urban design practice based in Philadelphia, will receive the 2013 National Planning Excellence Award for an Emerging Planning and Design Firm from the American Planning Association.


The Emerging Planning and Design Firm award honors a young planning and design firm that has helped elevate the planning profession and build public support for planning, and through its current work, demonstrates the potential of having a continual influence on the planning profession for years to come. This is the first year this award has been presented.


“We believe the process of urban planning is evolving, becoming increasingly graphic, grassroots driven, and interactive,” said Scott Page, principal, Interface Studio. “With the growing presence of technology in our world comes near-constant visual stimulation, unprecedented access to information, and an empowered generation of do-it-yourself activists. Interface Studio’s planning approach celebrates these



Founded in 2004, Interface Studio has had tremendous success with their approach to public dialog and design, which is graphic, grassroots-driven, and interactive, and garners support for and among the communities with which they work.  Their plans are:


  • Data driven: Pulling from previous studies and plans, datasets, and memories – to uncover the local narrative and promote place-specific values and authenticity.
  • Visually engaging: The firm develops infographics – pictograms that translate complex observations into images – and utilizes GIS (geographic information system) mapping, three-dimensional models, photo renderings, animation, and expressive fonts.
  • Fundraisers: Their plans have drawn millions from private foundations and helped public entities access and allocate limited federal, state, and city resources. The monies raised enable the plans to remain living documents, catalysts of investment and advocates for desired change.
  • Stakeholder driven: The firm’s pragmatic and creative strategies result in immediate implementation by very engaged stakeholders.

“Interface Studio’s team of creative thinkers is breaking down the barriers between planners and those-planned-for, welcoming the public and giving them easy access to the planning process,” said Ann C. Bagley, FAICP, 2013 APA Awards Jury chair.“Although the firm is young, it has had a tremendous impact on the profession of planning, adding value and stretching traditional notions of communication in planning practice.”  


Since the firm was founded, its planners have been active in sharing their knowledge and furthering the profession of planning.  By contributing to the planning blogosphere, publishing articles,

lecturing at conferences, teaching design studios, jurying student work, and building public art installations, they have developed a distinctive and distinguished body of work.


The firm’s work has been recognized with state and national awards, including three American Planning Association National Planning Excellence Awards, two for Grassroots Planning (2009 and 2012) and one for Public Outreach (2010) as well as a national award for Planning and Analysis from the American Society of Landscape Architects (2010).


The Emerging Planning and Design Firm Award will be presented at a special luncheon at APA’s National Planning Conference in Chicago on Tuesday, April 16, 2013. The firm will also be profiled in an issue of Planning magazine, APA’s flagship publication.


For a list of all of the APA 2013 National Planning Excellence and Achievement Award recipients, visit APA’s national awards program, the profession’s highest honor, is a proud tradition established more than 50 years ago to recognize outstanding community plans, planning programs and initiatives, public education efforts, and individuals for their leadership on planning issues.


The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning — physical, economic and social — so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. Members of APA help create communities of lasting value and encourage civic leaders, business interests and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people’s lives. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Ill. For more information, visit  

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