Thursday, February 25, 2016

Jim Schwab, AICP, 1985 graduate of the University of Iowa School of Urban and Regional Planning and adjunct professor in SURP, has achieved the planning profession’s highest honor by being named to the prestigious American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) College of Fellows for his outstanding achievements in urban planning.

 Fellowship is granted to planners who have achieved certification through the American Planning Association’s professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, and have achieved excellence in professional practice, teaching and mentoring, research, public and community service, and leadership. Invitations to join the College of Fellows come after a thorough nomination and review process, ensuring the candidate has had a positive, long-lasting impact on the planning profession.

 “Individuals who make up the College of Fellows are the true leaders of the planning profession,” said AICP President Valerie Hubbard, FAICP. “These individuals have made lasting contributions to the profession and have inspired generations of new planners. They are truly awe-inspiring.”

Jim has been pivotal in innovating and leading the integration of natural hazards into planning practice. Through his leadership spanning more than two decades in APA's research department, and, since 2008, as Manager of the APA Hazards Planning Center, he has played a central role in creating and shaping a new subfield of professional planning.

 Jim wrote and edited the path-breaking 1998 Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction, Planning Advisory Service Report No. 483/484.  While Jim's 1998 report set the table for understanding how planning could be central for post-disaster recovery, much had happened in the ensuing 18 years.  Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast hard in the fall of 2012.  Jim and his colleagues had already begun work on a sequel to the 1998 report when Sandy hit and they used their collective expertise to provide valuable training events for planners in late 2012 and early 2013.  In 2014, Jim edited and served as lead author for Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation, Planning Advisory Service Report No. 576.  This volume focused on resilience and how communities need to build resilience in their planning for disasters. 

 Overall, Jim has been a leader in both helping planners to better understand the role played by planning in preparing for and responding to hazards.  Prior to his work, hazard mitigation planning was dominated by emergency management professionals and Jim has been effective in convincing both FEMA and planners of the importance and value of planning for hazards.  We have been very fortunate at the University of Iowa where our students have had direct exposure to his expertise and leadership in the hazards and planning for disaster field.

 Schwab is one of 61 inductees into this year’s College of Fellows. Inductions are done biennially. This year’s formal induction will take place during APA’s National Planning Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, on Sunday, April 3. Currently, there are 508 members in the College of Fellows.