Gruen Associates’ Planning Department awarded the 2019 APA LA Distinguished Leadership Award

Jun 21, 2019Awards

Gruen Associates’ Planning Department is honored to receive the APA-Los Angeles chapter’s “Distinguished Leadership – Planning Firm” award, recognizing decades of pioneering planning projects throughout Southern California and around the world. The award was presented at the APA-Los Angeles Awards Gala on June 20th. Gruen congratulates our colleagues and clients who also received an award at the event. More information about the event and a list of awardees can be found here:

Gruen Associates was recongized for its contributions and achievements in four core competencies, including influence on the profession, innovative projects, our commitment to collaborative ethical practice, and meaningful outreach.


Collaboration is a core Gruen Associates value and is embedded in our exemplary project management practices, dynamic partnerships, and meaningful planning and design. The firm has influenced the planning profession for seven decades throughout Southern California, and the world. Gruen implemented the vision of a true “Landscaped Transit Parkway,” Metro’s Mid-City/Exposition (EXPO) LRT Line (Phase I), connecting to some of the area’s densest residential neighborhoods. Further cementing Gruen’s place as a leader in regional transportation and land use planning, our planners worked with Los Angeles’ Department of City Planning to develop the EXPO Corridor Transit Neighborhood Plan for compact, connected station areas.

Recently, Gruen led a large multi-disciplinary team in the award winning Los Angeles Union Station Master Plan (LAUSMP) to link existing public transit modes and to re-establish meaningful links between adjacent areas of cultural significance. As a catalyst for transit-oriented development, LAUSMP encourages further investment in regional transportation infrastructure and serves as a model to influence long-range transportation planning nationwide. One of the first projects to stem from LAUSMP is the Forecourt and Esplanade led by Gruen Associates, which is currently in the design phase.

Innovative Projects

Gruen Associates develops high-quality, creative solutions and implementable plans that are rooted in extensive research, analysis, and meaningful stakeholder and public engagement. Our plans are tailored to the unique issues faced by each community. Our focus on implementation is evidenced by graphically rich, accessible documents that can be understood by a variety of stakeholders, and include a clear vision, realistic goals and objectives, design guidelines, standards, recommendations for practical infrastructure projects, and development strategies. Many plans also feature a set of trackable metrics and key milestones that offer planners clear guidance for implementation as plans are realized. A recent example of our innovative plans is the High Quality Transit Area Pilot Project led by Gruen Associates in partnership with SCAG. A landmark project is the Metro Orange Line.

Gruen, as the prime consultant, planner and urban designer, analyzed alternatives for a former rail ROW in the San Fernando Valley and facilitated a robust outreach process. Among the first and most successful BRT system in the nation, MOL and the subsequent Canoga Extension have transformed nearby communities, with a “Multi-Modal Gateway” including amenities for cyclists, transit riders and pedestrians. The project received several awards and demonstrates high quality design, planning, and successful implementation.

Ethical Practice

Gruen’s leadership, including several AICP-certified professionals, is committed to the principles and rules of conduct as described in the APA Code of Ethics. Our Planning Department sponsors seminars and design forums, and encourages and supports emerging planners as they pursue certification. Ongoing engagement with APA and education enables Gruen Associates to develop innovative plans while ensuring the process is ethical, inclusive, and upholds our responsibility to the public, clients and employers, and our profession and colleagues.


Gruen Associates is deeply committed to inclusive, meaningful outreach as an integral part of our planning projects to understand client and stakeholder needs. Our creative public participation strategies engage the community through transparent visioning, showing clear alternatives and explaining tradeoffs using a full range of outreach methods including presentations, design workshops, pop-up events, and social media, resulting in plans that address key stakeholder concerns and priorities.