Faculty Win National Curriculum Innovation Award

Professors Lucie Laurian, Scott Spak, and Steve Spears are co-recipients of the Curriculum Innovation Awards, given by the Lincoln Land Institute of Land Policy and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP), for their development of the “Eight Generational Planning: Envisioning Cities for Year 2228” (URP:4752), a new undergraduate course.  This is the second time in three years that Urban Planning faculty at the University of Iowa have won this award.

The award-winning Urban and Regional Planning course was one of 32 high quality curriculums submitted by accredited planning programs from across the U.S. The course explores city planning for 2228, the year Star Trek tells us Captain Kirk will be born in Iowa. Thinking eight generations ahead, students envision and design great regenerative cities in the age of Anthropocene—the period we are in which features substantial human influence on climate and the environment; exploration of contemporary philosophies and urban strategies for sustainability, resilience, post-scarcity abundance, human well-being, social inclusiveness, and justice in an era of rapid changes in society, technology, climate, and environment.

The Curriculum Innovation Award recognizes undergraduate and graduate courses that prepare future urban planners to solve economic, social, and environmental challenges. To receive this award, courses must demonstrate innovative design, incorporate expertise from multiple disciplines, integrate theory and practice, and actively use student feedback to improve course design and teaching practice. “Eight Generation Planning” combines Spak’s knowledge of climate change, Laurian’s focus on environmental planning and Spears’ expertise in transportation planning. The group will receive a $7,000 award. The Lincoln Institute recognizes and emphasized that building successful courses is a multiyear commitment that requires the same amount of thought and planning that go into research.