2019 Medalist

Regional Plan Association (RPA)

The Witte-Sakamoto Family Medal in City and Regional Planning

For 90 years, Regional Plan Association has been an indispensable source of ideas and plans for policy makers and opinion shapers across the tristate region, including metropolitan Philadelphia, with a focus on recommendations to improve the quality of life and economic competitiveness.

RPA is America’s most distinguished urban research and advocacy organization. RPA works to improve the prosperity, infrastructure, sustainability and quality of life of the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan region. Some of the region’s most significant public works, economic development and open space projects have their roots in RPA ideas and initiatives, from the location of the George Washington Bridge to the revitalization of downtown Brooklyn, Stamford and Newark to the preservation of open space and development of parks in the Palisades, Governors Island and Gateway National Recreation Area. 

RPA has pursued these goals by conducting independent research, planning, advocacy and vigorous public-engagement efforts. Every year, the most pressing challenges facing the region are debated at RPA’s spring conference, the Assembly, which draws leaders and professionals from government, business, civic groups and the media. Recent Assemblies have featured former Vice President Joe Biden, former United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and New York City Transit president Andy Byford. A cornerstone of our work is the development of long-range plans and policies to guide the region’s growth. Since the 1920s, RPA has produced four landmark plans for the region, the most recent was released in November 2017.

“Regional Plan Association is honored to accept the first ever Witte-Sakamoto Family Prize in City and Regional Planning,” said Tom Wright, president and CEO of RPA. “RPA’s Fourth Regional Plan includes 61 recommendations to achieve greater equity, shared prosperity, better health, and sustainability across the metropolitan tristate region. We thank the Witte-Sakamoto family and the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design for recognizing the value of our organization’s work.”

The jury included Eugénie Birch, Lawrence C. Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research and Education, Weitzman School, Eleanor Sharpe, deputy director for planning and zoning, City of Philadelphia, Weitzman Dean and Paley Professor Fritz Steiner, and Bill Witte, Weitzman alumnus and overseer and ceo of Related California.

  • Pro-active management and better design of Manhattan streets can make it easier to get around and create healthier neighborhoods (ORG Permanent Modernity for the Fourth Regional Plan)
  • The New York, New Jersey, Connecticut region in 2040 (Courtesy Regional Plan Association)