Griffith University’s Urban Research Program and Associate Professor Jason Byrne have been honoured at the Planning Institute of Australia’s National Awards for Planning Excellence 2015.

Announced in Melbourne, the national award for Cutting Edge Research and Teaching went to Australian Environmental Planning — Challenges and Future Prospects, a textbook co-edited by Associate Professor Byrne, Professor Neil Sipe (UQ) and Professor Jago Dodson (RMIT), and published byTaylor & Francis/Routledge.

The book provides tertiary students with essential planning concepts to carry into their professional careers. It has been adopted by other Australian planning schools and won for the same category in last November’s Queensland-wide PIA planning excellence awards.Book cover: Australian Environmental Planning textbook

The national awards recognise innovation and excellence in the built environment and have grown over the past three decades to become the pre-eminent forum for planning projects in Australia’s cities, towns, regions and places.

They showcase leading practice across all planning disciplines and provide the opportunity to celebrate and reward outstanding planners and planning outcomes.

Associate Professor Byrneassembled a team of national and international experts to write what is a unique hybrid book — part-research text and part-textbook.

“The book was designed to be readily accessible to students, practitioners and scholars, reporting on the latest issues and trends in Australian environmental planning,” he said.

“It showcases examples of best practice and offers new insights into old problems, as well as opening up a dialogue between researchers and practitioners about how to solve some of the biggest planning challenges of the 21st century.

“Those problems include food and energy security, waste management, housing, and challenges associated with climate change.”

Associate Professor Byrne was delighted with the award, saying:”It is the highest honour conferred by the PIA on a research or teaching project and it is great reward for the people involved and the approach we took.”

Established in 2004, the Urban Research Program is part of Griffith University’s School of Environment and seeks to lead Australia’s effort to improve understanding of all aspects of urbanisation and urban inquiry. It is one of the most respected and largest dedicated urban research groups in Australia.