Friday, October 26, 2012

Dr. Katia Balassiano will be giving a presentation titled, "Locating Political Power in a Rural Gateway Community: Anglo and Latino Participation in Public Affairs in Perry, Iowa”. The lecture will be held in room 347 of the IMU (Minnesota Room) at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, November 12th. The event is free and open to the public.

America’s gateway communities continue to struggle with integrating newcomers. Traditional participatory mechanisms and spaces where people are encouraged to voice their interests are not regularly facilitating joint governance. This lecture presents the preliminary findings of empirical research conducted in the spring of 2012 that documents where different people go to communicate socio-political needs and to what degree these places correlate spatially with the demographic variables of their users. Using a predominantly Anglo, middle-income, rural municipality undergoing transformation to a municipality with a sizable lower-income Latino presence as a test case, this research investigates the geographies of power. Findings are based on data generated from a series of participatory mapping workshops attended by both Anglos and Latinos with various lengths of residence in Perry, Iowa – a typical rural new gateway community. Using indicators of place-making and place attachment, the cognitive mapping process was customized to reflect and respect different cultural approaches toward participation.

Dr. Katia Balassiano, AICP, is an assistant professor in Community and Regional Planning at Iowa State University. Upon graduating in 2009 with a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Hawaii, she taught at Cornell University for two years as a visiting assistant professor. Dr. Balassiano's research interests - land use regulations and how they facilitate or hinder the production of spaces for the public, and the degree to which public spaces can increase participation in governance - are informed by her ten years as a practitioner on the east coast where she worked as a planning director, policy analyst and consultant.