CRP workshops display department's professional component

October 10, 2009

The Department of City and Regional Planning (CRP) offered three workshops to graduate students for the fall 2009 semester that provide a broad array of topics in the fields of environmental and land-use planning, community and economic development, and international studies in planning. These workshops are designed to give students real world application of methods learned in the classroom with opportunities to work with real clients in real situations.

The Community and Economic Development Workshop (CRP 5074) led by Professor Susan Christopherson is focused on informing local policy makers about green economy choices and investments. With the ramp up of these types of investments due to local initiatives and state and national tax incentives, rural communities and small cities are being confronted with a new set of policy issues and decisions. During the semester students are conducting research on the problems local policy makers face as these investments begin to impact their communities and what resources, including model zoning ordinances and public processes, have been developed that might help them. Students are also looking at the issue of NIMBYism and what can go wrong for policy makers and communities as they attempt to use investments to improve their local economies.

The emphasis of the Project Planning in Developing Countries (CRP 5076) workshop, facilitated by Professor David Lewis, is setting up an agricultural research station in Southern Sudan in conjunction with the new Catholic University of Sudan. Southern Sudan has seen its limited infrastructure — including roads, education and civil institutions — almost completely destroyed. Concurrent with the semi-autonomous government in the region beginning to rebuild the infrastructure, the goal of the research station is to reestablish and strengthen agriculture in local areas among the farmers. The design of the research and project is focused on getting the station into the hands of cooperating farmers, and building in protection for them so that they do not suffer or risk their livelihoods simply by adopting new practices. The coursework focuses on aspects of project planning such as assessing clients, budgeting, scheduling, financial feasibility, and proposal presentation.

Visiting Faculty George Frantz is leading The Land Use, Environmental Planning and Urban Design Workshop (CRP 3073/5072), which is introducing students to the various measures taken over the past several decades to protect the agricultural land resources and to promote local food sources in the United States. Students are engaging in a team research and analysis project consisting of a survey of agricultural land protection planning and implementation strategies placed in municipalities throughout New York. They will produce reports on the status of planning for agriculture in the state and examples of successful implementation of agricultural land protection strategies. A key goal of the semester is to expose students to the close interaction of the development and implementation of land use planning in a rural and suburban context, including the social, economic, and political forces.

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