Monday, October 17, 2011

URP students took both first and second place this year in the American Planning Association's Iowa Chapter Student Poster Contest. First prize went to Michael Beach, Eric Isaacs, Emma Papworth and Erik Sampson for their group poster titled, "Agricultural Trends in Iowa: Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, & Grundy Counties."

The students created this poster initially as a project requirement for the School of Urban and Regional Planning's Analytical Methods II course. Groups were formed around common interests and were assigned a block of Iowa counties with which to base their research. This group was interested in examining agricultural trends for the assigned counties of Bremer, Black Hawk, Grundy and Buchanan. They simply felt it would be interesting to apply newly learned economic analysis techniques and to examine the current state of agriculture in their four-county region. The project was meaningful because it allowed for an in-depth analysis of problems that agriculture is facing in Iowa such as loss of employment and declining county populations. Overall, they found that creating this poster was a great opportunity to apply their knowledge to a real industry facing real problems.

The winning poster may be viewed here.

Robyn Fennig won second place for her individual project poster titled, "Natural Hazards into Comprehensive Planning in Southwestern Wisconsin."

Robyn says, "I became interested in the way that Wisconsin localities address hazards in their local plans during my summer 2011 internship with Wisconsin Emergency Management. I learned about some of the best practices in the state, and broadened my understanding of emergency management.

I think this project is important for two specific reasons. 1) Wisconsin's comprehensive planning legislation is undergoing opposition in the state legislature and 2) the state is witnessing increased frequency of flooding from greater precipitation events, just as other states around the Midwest are. Though Wisconsin does not require local governments to address natural hazards in comprehensive plans, most counties have stand-alone hazard mitigation plans to satisfy the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requirements for federal funding. This study identifies the extent that hazards are addressed in comprehensive plans in southwestern Wisconsin, flood event damages, and mitigation efforts, highlighting where improvements should be made."

Her poster may be viewed here.