APA Feature: The Power of Planning in a Remote and Rural Context

EcoPlan International and the City of St. George Alaska win two major planning awards:

  • Canadian Institute of Planners – National Planning Award for Planning Excellence (July 2021)
  • American Planning Association – Western Planners Award (August 2021)

Here is what the judges had to say…


Award for Planning Excellence Merit
Project Name: Rebuilding our Future – Kayutuuxtxin Tanagnangin Igayuusalix angagiimchin agnaxtxichin – St. George’s Economic Development Strategy
Company: EPI EcoPlan International, Inc. and City of St. George

St. George Island is located in the Bering Sea, with approximately 60 on-island residents. Recognizing an urgent need to act, the City of St. George undertook an innovative economic development strategy with EcoPlan International. The January 2020 strategy had to be one-of-a-kind to address the unique conditions facing the Island.

Rebuilding our Future goes beyond the territory of a traditional economic development strategy, blending healing, community need, traditional knowledge, and environmental resilience, while providing actionable items for growing and diversifying the economy. The strategy involved significant research and public engagement, with over 80% of St. George’s residents engaged, as well as 23 organizations and knowledge-holders. Recommendations from the strategy focus on leveraging partnerships, while combining knowledge of the traditional Unangan economy with Western science, to sustainably manage and leverage the Island’s natural resources.

Increased cooperation between the City government and the Traditional Council will be key to the success of the strategy. The actions recommended by this strategy are broad-reaching and clearly laid out with short, medium, and long-term plans for implementation.

The jury applauds St. George’s Island for the Rebuilding our Future strategy, noting the action-oriented nature of the plan, with a heavy focus on not only economic development but also sustainability.