The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community is delighted to have won a Pierre L’Enfant International Planning Achievement Award from the American Planning Association, for the Akanda Masterplan and Smartcode carried out in partnership with Opticos Design.

The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community was invited by Gabon’s L’Agence Nationale des Grands Travaux to lead a collaborative Masterplanning and neighbourhood development exercise for Akanda. We led an International team that included the Cresolus Tropical Sustainable Design team, Opticos Design and engineers from the WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff group.

Tom Perry, International Programme Manager, said:

“We are thrilled to receive this award. It is wonderful recognition of the hard work that went into creating this Masterplan and SmartCode both by The Prince’s Foundation, Opticos Design and the wider team. I’d like to thank the government of Gabon for inviting the Foundation and we look forward to seeing the recommendations adopted and implemented to support Gabon’s drive for sustainable development."

“Supporting and demonstrating our key principles around sustainable development is central to our work at The Prince’s Foundation so we were delighted to be able to work on a new masterplan for Akanda.”

Gabon Aerial 1


At a time of climate change, natural resource depletion and rapid urbanization, the need to develop efficient and implementable urban framework plans and regulations has never been more urgent. The scale of the challenge is vast, with 2.5 to 3 billion people projected to move into towns and cities by 2050. The benefits to Libreville of managing urban growth through implementable urban framework plans and simple regulations will be to create places that can engender wellbeing, safety and prosperity.

The completed Masterplan and SmartCode are part of a package of tools we have developed to enable the Government to control the growth of Libreville whilst protecting valued natural resources.   

Shedrick Coleman, AIA, 2016 APA Awards Jury Chair said: 

“The awards jury commends the plan for balancing population growth while still protecting Gabon’s cultural, economic and environmental assets.  The plan further advances the principles of sustainability through the design guidelines that take into account the unique local climate to reduce energy demands.”

Akanda is a new ‘green town’ to the north of Gabon’s capital,Libreville which is a flagship example of sustainable development in the country. The Akanda Sector Plan was created to establish a regional scale map for determining where to build and where and what to preserve and protect.

The Master Plan for Akanda forms the northern edge of the Libreville urban area and is bounded by a buffer zone that provides a transition between the city and Parc National d’Akanda. The National Park covers 54,000 hectares and includes most of the bay of Mondah. Akanda is a Ramsar site, and contains mangroves, mudflats, coastal water and patches of moist coastal forest. 

This award recognizes planning practices and efforts undertaken outside the United States to promote communities of lasting value. The award criteria are based on a set of goals developed by the Global Planners Network.