Name: Ahnna Nanoski-Johnson
Originally from: Kansas City, MO
Degree: M.S. Urban and Regional Planning, concentration in Land Use and Environmental Planning
Graduating class: 2018
Field Problems in Planning is a capstone course in which graduate students in the University of Iowa’s School of Urban and Regional Planning gain experience working on a two-semester project involving a current planning issue.
“I really like Field Problems. You have a project that gives you real world experience, instead of it just being all about academia,” says Ahnna Nanoski, a second-year master’s student in the School of Urban and Regional Planning.
Nanoski’s Field Problems project involves helping create Cedar County’s Great Places Visioning Plan. As part of the development of the Cedar County Comprehensive Plan, Nanoski and her fellow students are assembling application materials to help Cedar County apply for an Iowa Great Places designation, a program administered by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.
“This designation allows communities to get grant money to help fund different projects in the area that will help increase quality of life,” Nanoski says. “It can be anything from trails, to public art, to historic preservation. The vision plan identifies what’s special about Cedar County and what can be done to improve what they already have.”
Nanoski is impressed with the number of historical sites in Cedar County, most notably Hardacre Theater in Tipton.
Hardacre Theater served as a movie house from 1919 to 2013, until it closed. The Hardacre Theater Preservation Association bought the theater in 2014 and is renovating it into a live performing arts theater, as well as a space to host community events.
“We identify all these places in the county, like Hardacre Theater, and come up with implementation strategies for each community to strengthen those unique attributes,” Nanoski says.
Iowa is the right choice
Nanoski studied in the Architecture, Urban Planning, and Design Department at the University of Missouri-Kansas City as an undergraduate. While there, she took classes with Associate Professor Michael Frisch, who connected her with the University of Iowa.
Professor Frisch had contacts with faculty members in the UI’s School of Urban and Regional Planning and thought the program would be a good fit for his student.
His assessment was right on target. Nanoski enjoys everything about the University of Iowa from the academic component, to community outreach opportunities, to her relationship with her fellow students.
“Having us all congregate in the drafting room and working on our projects together and building off each other is really helpful,” Nanoski says.