Monday, October 31, 2016

University of Iowa Urban and Regional Planning Master’s students Rachel Serslev and Akanksha Tiwari received an award for their poster, “Comprehensive Plan Update 2026 Mason City,” at the recent Iowa Chapter of the American Planning Association’s annual conference in Burlington, IA. They placed third in the competition and will split their financial award. The poster is based on their current capstone project which centers on creating a new comprehensive plan for the City of Mason City, IA.

Urban and Regional Planning in partnership with IISC, is working on an updated comprehensive plan for a 10-year planning period. Mason City has undergone a number of significant and gradual changes since the preparation of the Mason City comprehensive plan in 2006. Two years after that plan was implemented, the great floods of 2008 affected the community by leaving homes damaged and requiring the City to create a buyout program. The floods also left many of the existing comprehensive plan goals unattainable or low in priority due to the immediate recovery and mitigation needs of post-flood Mason City. Given the age of the current plan and the changing conditions of Mason City, updating the plan content and its goals to reflect the current realities of the city and the values of its residents is necessary.

The primary objectives of amending the current Mason City comprehensive plan are to update demographic data and background information; alter plan goals to be obtainable and formulate new goals that reflect the steering committees’, community stakeholder’s, and resident’s desires for future Mason City. Resiliency will be a theme that resonates throughout the plan and will guide the formulation of economic, social and environmental goals. Furthermore, an aging population calls for a comprehensive planning process that addresses the ways in which land use, housing, transportation, and institutional development can serve residents who wish to age in place and move through their life cycle in Mason City. The themes of resiliency and aging in place are critical to the future growth and development of Mason City due to flood risks and an aging population. The resulting deliverable of this project will be an updated comprehensive plan that accurately depicts the wants and needs of Mason City residents. The four Master’s students working on this year-long project include Jordan Brown, Priyanka Rayamajhi, Rachel Serslev and Akanksha Tiwari.