NEW IBERIA — The West End Redevelopment Initiative in New Iberia was recognized as an Emerging Great Place in this year’s 2011 Great Places in Louisiana awards, according to a news release.

The annual awards program recognizes communities and their leaders who have pioneered new methods in planning, design, construction services and programs that make it possible to live in a community throughout a lifetime, according to a release issued Monday by Southern Mutual Help Association.

The West End initiative is part of an effort to redevelop 700 acres in a historically significant African-American space within the city.

The initiative was launched by the nonprofit Southern Mutual Help Association in partnership with the city, Architects Southwest and a private donor who was raised in the district.

The judges panel was made up of seven professionals from a variety of fields. Applicants were judged based on criteria such as affordability, sustainability, community engagement and “walkability,” the release said.

Among the judges’ remarks: “Is a comprehensive example of how a community can come together to build on its past while re-imagining its future,” according to the release.

The awards program is sponsored by the AARP Foundation, Acadian On Call, Caesar’s Foundation, Care Innovations and Entergy, the release said.

Awards were announced Saturday during the 2011 Smart Growth Summit at the Manship Theatre at the Shaw Center for the Arts.