The Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) brings University of Iowa students to communities across the state to collaborate with local leaders on real-world projects.

The program offers essential, energizing, and applicable learning experiences to graduate and upper-level undergraduate students, while simultaneously providing valuable services to communities. 

An IISC partnership includes multidisciplinary expertise focused on a specific geographic area, yielding deep and substantial outcomes. 

IISC in Iowa

SERVING IOWA

IISC creates mutually beneficial partnerships with communities across the state to advance shared goals. Full partnerships bring numerous multi-disciplinary teams of UI faculty and students into communities over the course of an academic year, collaborating on up to 15 projects. Communities also have the option of working with us on standalone projects.

50 +

Communities in Iowa have partnered with IISC on at least one project

200 +

Students work on IISC community engagement projects each year

320

Community-based projects completed since 2009

15

Number of projects IISC completes as part of a full partnership

10,000 +

Hours are contributed to each partnership by UI faculty & students

23

UI Departments have completed community-based projects through IISC

Voices of IISC

Young brown skinned young man wearing a gray tshirt and sitting in a public location while smiling at the camera.

As a planner I want to make the communities that we live in and work in more livable and enjoyable, but a big aspect of that is also advancing social equity. This is what brought me to the program at Iowa. My capstone project is in the neighborhood and community I live in, which has been especially helpful in introducing me to a lot of the people who are driving change here. That community energy was not that visible to me before this, so it’s very exciting to know all these different dreams and ideas are possible.

 

Leon Begay, Master of Urban & Regional Planning, 2021

Woman in gray suit with a blue and purple scarf around her neck smiles at the camera.

The Community Empowerment Law Project (CELP) is staffed by law students working under faculty supervision. They advise entities working to advance social, economic, and racial justice in Iowa, while honing their legal skills in the real world. Collaboration with IISC and their community partners enables students to better understand the issues, culture, and strengths of rural and small town Iowa; to participate in interdisciplinary work with students from across the university; and to do meaningful work and have an impact beyond Johnson County.

Daria Fisher Page, College of Law

Black man in his 40s looking up at the sky with an American flag behind him. He is wearing glasses and a violet dress shirt.

With the expertise from our partnership, we have the opportunity to focus holistically on our community. One project we did with IISC focused on a neighborhood with a lot of diverse populations – Latino, African American, newly arrived immigrants. The housing in that area hasn't kept up with time. The Neighborhood Plan was a great opportunity for us to figure out how to raise and elevate the levels of housing and create energy and a sense of pride back in the area for the residents who live here. 

Quentin Hart, Mayor, Waterloo, IA

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Full Partnerships

Depth & Breadth of Our Work Across Iowa

In the last decade, IISC has partnered with communities across Iowa—from Sioux City on the western border, to Decorah in the northeast, and Keokuk in the most southwestern tip. Our "full partnerships" have included larger cities, like Waterloo, and smaller ones, including amalgamations of rural towns, such as those in Jackson County. 

 

What do we offer?

Each year, we undertake full partnerships with one or two Iowa communities. We listen to our partners' needs and match these with the capacities of the university faculty and departments. Together, we co-develop up to 15 diverse projects that address complex problems which tap the assets of both the community and our students. Our goal is always to bring high-quality work to Iowa's communities, while providing learning opportunities for the next generation of community leaders.

For a list of past and potential projects by disciplinary area, visit the Project Types page.

 

Has IISC worked in your community yet? 

In addition to the full partnerships that IISC has completed with the Iowa communities listed to the left, we have also collaborated on stand alone projects with more than 50 additional communities. To learn more about our past work across the state, visit the Projects page of this website.

EPIC-N_Icon_white

EPIC-N Network

IISC is a member of the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities-Network (EPIC-N). This global nonprofit and its members unite the human capital of universities with local governments and communities to improve the quality of life and social wealth for all involved. IISC, which is considered a leader in this work, was a founding designer of EPIC-N. Our director, Travis Kraus, currently serves on the organization's board.

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Office of Community Engagement

IISC has a strong relationship with the University of Iowa Office of Community Engagement, which works to facilitate the development of mutually beneficial partnerships between faculty, staff, and students at the University of Iowa with community partners across the state, nation, and world.  

Engineering with IISC

See what Civil and Environmental Engineering students have to say about their experiences working with IISC community partners in their Senior Design class! 

Senior Design is a cornerstone of IISC partnerships.  Each year IISC staff identify and develop 10 to 15 unique, real-world challenges for these soon-to-be engineers. 

Watch the video on the right to learn more about the tremendous impact of these experiences for UI students.

News

woman in maroon sleeveless shirt and jeans holding two tree saplings and smiling

Five Questions with Lorin Ditzler

Tuesday, January 30, 2024
Lorin Ditzler received her MS in Urban and Regional Planning from the UI in 2011. She was part of one of the earliest IISC teams during Fall 2010, working on a project in Decorah. One of her current planning projects is in Bondurant. Today, Lorin serves as associate director of Keep Iowa Beautiful and as a planner with a Des Moines-based public art consulting firm.
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Mapping Real World Problems

Friday, December 8, 2023
The Iowa Community Integrated Geography Organization (ICIGO) is a student organization that is a perennial partner for IISC. They have mapped everything from food deserts and utilities, to insects and watersheds.
Alexander Bondurant's house

Looking Back in Bondurant to Move Forward

Friday, December 8, 2023
Graduate students in a UI Humanities Lab course worked with the Bondurant Historic Society to produce archival research and provide documents that capture the fast-growing community's past.
Planning drawing

Five Questions with Farnaz Fatahi Moghadam

Tuesday, October 31, 2023
Farnaz Fatahi Moghadam officially entered the School of Planning and Public Affairs this fall but has already distinguished herself.
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Dubuque Inspires

Friday, September 15, 2023
When the University of Iowa’s Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) visited Dubuque in early September, the day was filled with surprises. “Dubuque is an inspiring place,” says IISC director Travis Kraus. “I know we’ll be able to help the city move some of its goals forward while also learning from their innovative team.”
A small town and a river seen from above.

Manchester's Shelly Park Reopens

Wednesday, September 13, 2023
During the 2020-2021 academic year, the University of Iowa’s Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) partnered with Manchester to complete 16 projects. One of these was a project undertaken by four Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) students for improvement to Shelly Park, which sits directly on the Maquoketa River. This summer, their plans were realized when the newly renovated park was officially opened.
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Bondurant Visit Highlights Small Town's Expansion

Thursday, September 7, 2023
“Unlike many Iowa communities that need to focus on smaller populations and what planners allude to as ‘shrinking smartly,’ Bondurant is in a unique situation of rapid growth,” says Travis Kraus, IISC’s director. The needs that come with this growth provide interesting challenges and learning opportunities for UI students who will work with Bondurant during the 2023-24 academic year. They will complete 15 projects and bring a wide array of academic skills to the city, including archival research, art, engineering, and planning.
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5 Questions with Ali Hval

Tuesday, September 5, 2023
I have completed more than 40 public murals around the country, though the majority are in Iowa. I’ve experienced “Iowa Nice” to be a real thing. In Clinton, the mayor drove me around and gave me a tour of the city after finishing a project there. While painting, people stop to chat and bring you cold drinks and snacks. In Webster City, the mayor had a dinner party for me, and personally installed the panels with a lift. If I’m painting in a big city, these things don’t happen—you just show up and do your job.
2023-24 IISC Partners

IISC Announces 2023-23 Community Partners

Monday, June 26, 2023
The Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities is excited to announce that our students and faculty will be working in Bondurant and Dubuque during the 2023-24 academic year. We are grateful for the many strong applications submitted last spring. The selected communities provide unique opportunities for University of Iowa students to apply their learning through hands-on projects that will benefit the state of Iowa.
Several people look at academic posters on easels at an indoor public event in a gray room with wood floors.

IISC Celebrates Clinton Partnership

Monday, May 8, 2023
On Thursday, May 4, the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) capped off its year-long partnership with the community of Clinton, Iowa. Seven student groups made presentations, followed by a ceremony that included awards, remarks, and a documentary film screening.
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Students Advocate at Hawkeye Caucus Day

Monday, May 8, 2023
As Master of Public Affairs (MPA) students participating in the IISC program, Payton Colbert and Maggie Schnurr shared a student perspective. Both Colbert and Schnurr worked with the IISC partnership in Clinton. “I study policy and what makes it work and what makes it fail,” Schnurr says. “I think that it’s important to evaluate policy not just by standards of 'does it work' but by looking at 'who does it work for?'"
A group of people in an alley that has a lot of graffiti and other art.

Courses Combine to Focus on Creative, Equitable Placemaking

Wednesday, April 5, 2023
One of the most cross-disciplinary classes on campus is actually two classes that have opted to combine forces. Travis Kraus teaches Community Development through Creative Placemaking in the School of Planning and Public Affairs, while Loyce Arthur teaches Action! Engage! Art! Creative Placemaking for the Public Good in the Department of Theatre Arts. Undergrad and graduate students from those departments, as well as political science, dance, engineering, and public health meet to discuss creativity and equity in placemaking.
Manchester Fish Hatchery mural ribbon cutting

Manchester Fish Hatchery Celebrates New Mural

Sunday, April 23, 2023
The mural was made possible by the Maquoketa River Watershed Management Authority. Through an Iowa DNR watershed planning grant, they enlisted the help of the University of Iowa’s Initiative for Sustainable Communities program, which takes students out of the classroom and into communities to complete real-world projects.
Five people outside holding papers and binders, smiling into the sun.

Clinton's Liberty Square - Revitalizing a former brown field

Tuesday, April 11, 2023
For their capstone project, graduate students in planning and sustainable development have spent the year conceiving a new life for an area at the western entrance of Clinton, IA. The group sought public input during design charrettes in order to come up with four concepts for the narrow land that was once the site of a railroad repair shop.
Clinton kickoff event

UI students bring improvements to City of Clinton through university program

Tuesday, March 28, 2023
The University of Iowa’s Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities program, or IISC, will bring more than 20 student-led projects to the City of Clinton by the end of the academic year. The program allows students from a range of disciplines to develop and share ideas to help advance a community’s goals. This year, the IISC partnered with the City of Clinton.
A tan house with a picket fence and balloons outside.

IISC Students Contribute Plans to Create New Pocket Neighborhood

Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Original designs for a new pocket neighborhood in Maquoketa, IA, were created by University of Iowa Civil and Environmental Engineering students in conjunction with the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Studies’ (IISC) partnership with the East Central Intergovernmental Association (ECIA). The homes in the development are affordable and help the community increase its housing stock.
People working in small groups.

IISC Participates in Naming of New Iowa City Neighborhood Association

Monday, February 13, 2023
Members of IISC class participate in formation of new westside neighborhood association.
A river with a small lighthouse and a bridge.

Tippie Students Help Make Iowa Cities Better Places to Live

Thursday, January 26, 2023
Students from the Tippie College of Business' Marketing Institute provide consulting services to IISC partner communities, including Clinton.
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Festival Time! Engineering Students Create Plans for Clinton Park

Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Students in the University of Iowa's Civil and Environmental Engineering Department provide designs to renovate and add to Clinton's Riverview Park as it prepares to host a large music festival.
Five young people stand in front of a table.

Planning and Sustainable Development Students Assess Clinton's Housing Needs

Wednesday, January 18, 2023
A group of graduate students from the University of Iowa's IISC program are spending the academic year studying the housing needs of the city of Clinton.
Young woman with long brown hair, smiling, standing in a green field

Meet IISC Alum Caitlin Shanahan

Thursday, December 29, 2022
Caitlin Shanahan received her Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning with a focus on Land Use and Environmental Planning in 2014. We checked in with Caitlin to learn about her current work and the ways in which participating in IISC has impacted her. 
Emani Brinkman, young woman with brown skin, curly shoulder length hair, and wearing a maroon sweater smiles broadly

Student Spotlight: Emani Brinkman

Friday, November 11, 2022
Emani Brinkman’s undergraduate studies were a bit of a smorgasbord. She double majored in economics and business administration, minored in religion, and got a concentration in environmental studies. She jokes that it was the “I-don’t-know-what-I-want-do!” combo platter, but now as a Master’s student in Urban and Regional Planning, she realizes it was evidence of her desire to blend many interests under one job area.
Kids playing in a splash pad in Delmar, IA.

Impact of 2016-18 Partnership with the East Central Intergovernmental Association

Monday, October 10, 2022
From 2016 to 2018, IISC had a full partnership with the East Central Intergovernmental Association (ECIA). During those two academic years, we collaborated on 19 projects across Cedar, Clinton, Delaware, Dubuque, and Jackson Counties.
A group of people standing outside and listening to one woman talk, with a dark sky overhead and bright green grass.

Far From Typical: Keokuk partnership garners city nearly $1 million in grants

Saturday, September 17, 2022
The Covid-19 pandemic meant that IISC's 2019-20 partnership with Keokuk was far from normal. Despite the challenges, we completed 21 projects and created new processes that will be helpful to future partnerships.
Camp Courageous poster presentation

UI Civil & Environmental Engineering students make recommendations to Camp Courageous

Monday, February 7, 2022
University of Iowa students will present strategies today for undeveloped areas of Camp Courageous that will help improve water quality and provide new experiences for campers. Four teams of University of Iowa faculty and staff will present their plans on 24 acres of Camp Courageous, which includes designs involving a multipurpose trail system, a nature education center, stormwater management plans, and systems for reducing contaminants in source water.
Raina Harmon - Unified Baller

ICAD, UI partner on website to support Black-owned businesses

Tuesday, September 21, 2021
A new online resource aimed at growing and promoting Black-owned businesses in the Iowa City area launched this month. The site, called a Story Map, includes a directory and map of Black-owned businesses in Johnson County, and highlights the entrepreneurial journeys of 14 Black entrepreneurs and community leaders through personal stories, photos and audio clips. The University of Iowa School of...
Cityscape cover - February 2021

IISC featured in Cityscape Magazine

Thursday, March 11, 2021
Cityscape, a publication of the Iowa League of Cities, featured IISC and the new Master of Public Affairs degree in the February 2021 edition.
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Planning students hold workshop to discuss growth in Manchester

Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Planning students from the School of Planning & Public Affairs conducted a successful Zoom workshop as part of their capstone project to develop a Strategic Development Plan for the City of Manchester.
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Planning Scholar Suggests Iowa Is at a Crossroads, and Proposes a Path Forward

Wednesday, November 11, 2020
The University of Iowa Obermann Center for Advanced Studies reviewed the new book "Green Fair and Prosperous: Paths to a Sustainable Iowa" by School of Planning & Public Affairs director and founder of IISC, Chuck Connerly.
Iowa City, Iowa

IISC Student Project Wins Award

Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Planners from the School of Planning & Public Affairs were awarded the 2020 Exemplary Student Project Award for their Iowa City Automated Vehicle Adaptation & Equity plan.
Maq Sentinel Press - WMA photo

Studying the Watershed

Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Coverage from the Maquoketa Sentinel-Press of the Maquoketa River Watershed Management Plan project being done by graduate students in the School of Planning & Public Affairs
Volkmann Building Restoration

Investor begins restoration of Volckman building

Sunday, September 6, 2020
A Clinton property owner is restoring an historic downtown building and will follow many of the plans, designs, and recommendations developed by UI Civil & Environmental Engineering Projects. Click the title to read the full article.
IISC students visit Manchester

University of Iowa Students Assisting Manchester with Community Projects

Friday, August 21, 2020
Students from the University of Iowa will be helping Manchester with several projects over the next nine months. Manchester was one of two cities in the state chosen for a program called the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities. Travis Kraus, director of Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities and an assistant professor at U of I, explains. Kraus says the goal is to work on fifteen...
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Branding the great outdoors

Thursday, February 20, 2020
Kaisha Billings

Recent Informatics Grad Built Mason City Community Mobile App

Thursday, June 21, 2018
As part of an Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities project and using graphic designs from students in the School of Art & Art History, recent UI Informatics alumna Kaisha Billings built, during her last semester at Iowa, a community-based mobile app on behalf of the City of Mason City and Visit Mason City that connects residents and visitors to the local activities and resources. The Iowa...
Marketing Institute presentations

UI students, faculty make a difference in Mason City

Tuesday, June 5, 2018
“We wanted to show people that the North End isn’t that different from other parts of the city,” says Steven Van Steenhuyse, UI alumnus (BA ’83, MA ’87) and director of development services for the city of Mason City. “We want to share the good news about some of the new businesses and provide opportunities for people to come and see for themselves that what they thought all along is just not true...
Community Partner Award

University of Iowa Students, Faculty, and Community Partners Recognized for Outstanding Community Engagement Work

Friday, June 1, 2018
Student, actor, director, teacher, and singer Tempestt Farrar confidently stepped up to the podium Wednesday, May 9, at the 2017-18 Annual Year-End Celebration for the Office of Outreach & Engagement to accept her award for Student Excellence and Service. She looked upward and sang out the first verse of Greatest Love of All. “This is how I feel,” she told an audience of faculty, staff, students...
Touring Terry Trueblood Park

UI students suggest natural, cost-efficient plan for city park

Sunday, May 6, 2018
A park that can take care of itself. It's an idea for a plot of land next to the Terry Trueblood Park in Iowa City. The University of Iowa's Urban and Regional Planning Department has been studying the area and it thinks taking it back in time is the right plan for the future. "We're talking pennies on the dollar for something that, if you were going to come in and clear cut the sight completely...
Touring Terry Trueblood Park

UI students reimagine park experience with unique adaptation plan

Sunday, May 6, 2018
Early on in the course, University of Iowa urban and regional planning professors Lucie Laurian and Scott Spak asked their students to imagine the perfect landscape. When asked what they saw, many of the students said they envisioned a peaceful place with soft grass, a few shade trees, and a gentle stream or fish pond. Laurian and Spak told students they were thinking too narrowly. They showed...
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Webster City chosen as next community to partner with to promote sustainable development

Wednesday, March 21, 2018
The Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities has announced Webster City as the next community to partner with to promote sustainability. Webster City is a community located in Hamilton County with a population of 8,000. The group aims to promote sustainability in Iowa communities while transforming teaching and learning at the University of Iowa. When students work in the communities, they get...
Webster City

Sustaining Webster City

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
The Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities at the University of Iowa Wednesday announced Webster City as its next community partner. Webster City’s resilience and grass-roots recovery initiatives reportedly inspired the IISC advisory board to choose the community for IISC’s engaged-learning partnership that will bring 150 or more university students, faculty, and staff to work alongside...
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UI Engineering students help Lake Delhi solve long-standing waste water problem

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
After a 2010 flood on the Maquoketa River caused the Lake Delhi dam to collapse and the lake behind it to drain, residents in this northeast Iowa community thought they might never get back their picturesque water views. But seven years later, thanks to an influx of state funding and the construction of a new dam, the lake and its prized scenery have returned. However, Lake Delhi residents still...
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UI Students Present Wastewater Solutions to Protect Lake Delhi

Friday, December 8, 2017
IOWA CITY, Iowa (CBS 2/ FOX 28) — It has been more than seven years since flood waters took out the Delhi dam, causing the city's lake to drain and disappear. "It's becoming a recreational lake once again, after this year," said Jason Ruffatti, University of Iowa senior in Civil Engineering. With the lake now fully restored, University of Iowa students are using engineering skills to protect the...
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Stopping the brain drain: Rural areas struggle to keep young professionals

Thursday, December 7, 2017
BELLEVUE, Iowa — Claira Sieverding is 25 years old and engaged, with a good job and a master’s degree. She was born and raised in Bellevue, population: 2,177. Other than living in Dubuque while she attended Loras College, she always has called Bellevue home — and plans to continue doing so. “In Bellevue, you can have an active voice and be involved in the decision-making,” she said. “I love the...
Assistant Professor Lindsay Mattock and LIS students

Digitizing Mason City’s Architectural Heritage

Saturday, November 11, 2017
This semester, students in Assistant Professor Lindsay Mattock’s Archives and Media course are working on a database project that engages with the notion of architectural heritage changing over time. The project began in the summer of 2017, when the Office of Outreach and Engagement reached out to Professor Mattock with a proposal for a community outreach project with Mason City, Iowa as part of...
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Mason City's 'Taste of the North End' provides discussion on ways to improve

Monday, October 30, 2017
MASON CITY, Iowa- Three restaurants on the north part of Mason City are opening their doors and providing food to residents who have ideas on how to bring change to the north part of town, and those who live on the north side say they have plenty of ideas. "I'd like to see some more businesses open up here and to see the north end cleaned up some," says Larry Snyder, of Mason City. "We don't have...
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Residents, U of I students, talk future of Mason City's North End

Monday, October 30, 2017
MASON CITY | Tiffany Jacobson has lived on the North End for 13 years. She likes her neighborhood, enjoys seeing kids play outside on her block and takes pride in where she lives. And with the Blue Heron Bar & Grille and Little Chicago opening on North Federal Avenue within the past few months, she hopes the city and community can continue to build and improve her end of Mason City. "It's gotten a...
Taste of the North End event

North End residents invited to free dinner, offer tips to better Mason City neighborhood

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
MASON CITY | Forty North End residents will have the opportunity to eat for free at three nearby restaurants on Thursday night. The catch? Offer input and suggestions to University of Iowa students on how to better their neighborhood. Travis Kraus, assistant director for the Iowa Initiative of Sustainable Communities at the University of Iowa, is one of the organizers of "Taste of the North End."
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Jackson County partnering with University of Iowa students to attract young families to small communities

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
BELLEVUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Jackson County is looking to attract more young families to its communities. The county has teamed up with University of Iowa graduate students to discover what young people look for in a city. In Bellevue, Kelsey and Geoffrey Kaiser are examples of a young couple who moved to the town from a big city. Geoffrey Kaiser is the principal at Marquette, and Kelsey Kaiser...
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Pearl Street Park Opens in Sioux City, based on Greenspace Plan developed through Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities

Monday, October 23, 2017
SIOUX CITY, Iowa - Sioux City has dedicated its newest park, and it's located downtown. Parks and Recreation officials holding the grand opening ceremony for Pearl Street Park. It's located at 620 Pearl Street, and city leaders believe it will nicely compliment the Launchpad Children's Museum, which sits right across from the park.
Jackson County project partner meeting

Economic development leaders aim to make Jackson County attractive to youth

Thursday, August 31, 2017
MAQUOKETA, Iowa — Iowa’s urban communities are known for having more entertainment, dining, education and networking options for young professionals. But Jackson County leaders say they have amenities to offer that big cities can’t. And they want young people to know about them. The Jackson County Economic Alliance is teaming up with the University of Iowa Outreach’s Iowa Initiative for...
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Washington residents pass hotel/motel tax supported by IISC partnership

Friday, August 4, 2017
Washington, IA, an IISC community partner in 2013-2014, passed a hotel/motel tax this week, which is another example of a successful IISC project. Prof. Rachel Young and her Strategic Communications Campaigns course worked with the Chamber of Commerce to identify appropriate messaging to ensure the tax would pass a public vote. For many years the residents of Washington were opposed to a hotel...
Clinton Mural Ribbon Cutting

University of Iowa MFA students complete mural in downtown Clinton, Iowa

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Two University of Iowa art students celebrated the completion of their mural in Downtown Clinton, Iowa with a ribbon cutting ceremony on July 6th, 2017. Ali Hval was selected by the Office of Outreach & Engagement to design and install the mural, and she recruited fellow artist and MFA student Marina Ross to provide assistance. The project was made possible by a collaboration between two...
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IISC Delmar project video published on YouTube

Monday, April 24, 2017
Through a partnership between Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) and East Central Intergovernmental Association (ECIA), eight University of Iowa graduate students collaborated with Delmar city officials, residents, and 4th-6th grade students to record interviews of longtime Delmar residents, or “storytellers”. The purpose of the project, conducted during the Spring 2017 semester...
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UI grad students take humanities-based approach to community development in Delmar, Iowa

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Driving down Main Street in Delmar, Iowa, is a lot like the drive through many small rural towns across the state. There a few remaining buildings from a bygone era: the church, the school, the convenience store. But to understand Delmar—to really get to know what it’s all about—you have to get out of the car. You have to walk around. You have to find the people who call it home and, when you do...
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Laurian receives Faculty Service Award from Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Lucie Laurian, associate professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning, received the 2016-2017 annual Faculty Service Award presented by the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC). The award is presented to one faculty member each academic year and recognizes the recipient's commitment to community engagement and the impact of his or her project on students and the partnering...
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UI students help eastern Iowa communities identify brownfields

Friday, March 31, 2017
University of Iowa students are partnering with communities in eastern Iowa to help local leaders identify abandoned properties and decide which ones hold the greatest potential for reuse. The properties the students are cataloging are called brownfields. These are sites where redevelopment has been complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or...
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IISC project supports improved recycling in Iowa city

Monday, March 27, 2017
Leaders of Iowa City's downtown say a plan to bring recycling services to downtown alleyways next month should keep tons of recyclables out of the city's landfill while at the same time keeping alleys cleaner. Downtown District Executive Director Nancy Bird said the overall plan, which is expected to eventually include composting, is built on a 2015 study of garbage bins in downtown alleys...
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UI marketing students help develop new brand to aid Iowa town seeking tourists

Monday, March 13, 2017
The City of Maquoketa recently completed a $4 million renovation of its downtown, and city leaders want to show it off. To help, they’ve turned to the University of Iowa’s Marketing Institute and Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC), working with marketing students in the Tippie College of Business to develop a new brand and marketing strategy to attract more tourists.
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Graduate Students Look for Community Input for Mason City Projects

Monday, March 13, 2017
Two groups of University of Iowa Graduate Students asked the public for feedback on plans they came up with for the City of Mason City, a partnering community with Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC). One of the groups is looking at the city’s comprehensive plan. The other is focused on a first of its kind sustainability plan. Attendees had the opportunity to look at what the...
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University of Iowa Students Discuss Housing Potential in Preston

Thursday, February 9, 2017
Four University of Iowa students, a college professor, the program coordinator for Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities, 2 team members from ECIA, Preston Mayor Steve Ritenour and 2 representatives from Preston Growth and Development gathered in Preston Council Chambers last Thursday to discuss potential housing options for the city’s Marvin Property.
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KIMT coverage illustrates value of IISC partnership with Mason City

Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Mason City has many projects in the works and a two year-long initiative is helping move things forward with the help of University of Iowa students.
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City of Sioux City announces $500,000 donation to develop park conceptualized by University of Iowa students

Monday, October 24, 2016
Parks and Recreation Department worked with students in the Urban and Regional Planning department at the University of Iowa earlier this year to develop a long-term vision for the park project as part of a greenspace study with the City, SIMPCO and Downtown Partners.

UI wins $3 million grant to launch water sustainability graduate program

Monday, October 3, 2016
The University of Iowa has received a five-year, $3 million National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) grant to develop a Sustainable Water Development graduate program.
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KIMT news features IISC project in Mason City

Monday, October 3, 2016
MASON CITY, Iowa – Some graduate students getting ready to go into the workforce are getting an early chance to apply their skills.

U of I Students recommend storm water ordinance, fee

Wednesday, August 10, 2016
There are problems with storm-water runoff in the city of Decorah, but there also are solutions, Bailee McClellan, of the University of Iowa’s School of Urban and Regional Planning, told the Decorah City Council Monday night.

Decorah approves first reading of new storm water utility

Friday, July 29, 2016
The first reading of an ordinance that would create a storm water utility for the city of Decorah was has been approved by the Decorah City Council.

UI Marks Progress on 2020 Sustainability Goals

Friday, April 22, 2016
The University of Iowa has made significant progress on its 2020 Vision Sustainability Goals. Liz Christiansen, director of the Office of Sustainability, reported on the mid-term progress of the goals from 2010 to 2015 at an Earth Day open house April 22 in the Office of Sustainability.

Hanley receives IISC Faculty Service Award

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Paul Hanley, associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering, received the spring 2016 Faculty Service Award presented by the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC). The award seeks to highlight one faculty member each semester and recognize his or her commitment to community engagement and the impact of their projects on their...

Iowa City earns 4-STAR certification

Thursday, March 10, 2016
Iowa City has earned certification as a 4-STAR Community for its work in economic, social and environmental sustainability. The city received its certification Wednesday from the Sustainability Tools for Assessing and Rating Communities, or STAR Communities, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that works to evaluate and improve sustainability within communities.

Teaching community outreach

Wednesday, March 9, 2016
University of Iowa faculty and students will partner with Mason City and a five-county region in east-central Iowa on community-betterment projects ranging from art to urban revitalization, officials announced Thursday.

Young receives Faculty Service Award from Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities

Monday, December 21, 2015
Rachel Young, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, received the first annual Faculty Service Award, presented by the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities. The award is presented to one faculty member each semester and recognizes the winner's commitment to community engagement and the impact of his or her project...

Sioux City business group studying green space to give downtown a boost

Friday, December 11, 2015
Downtown Partners, a nonprofit business advocacy group, wants to add green space to attract more people downtown, but Rusty Clark and some other business owners say a lack of parking and foot traffic are bigger issues.

Sioux City Council moves closer to installing bike lanes

Sunday, October 11, 2015
Sioux City is one step closer to installing bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly crosswalks. Two weeks ago, the City Council adopted an active transportation plan that recommends bike and pedestrian improvements in the city, including bike lanes, safer sidewalks and crosswalks, timelines for implementation and costs for the proposed projects.

County, city and IISC to celebrate community projects Tuesday

Monday, May 4, 2015
Winneshiek County, Winneshiek County Conservation, city of Decorah and the University of Iowa’s Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) invite the public to attend a celebration highlighting sustainability projects completed over the last academic year.

Study of downtown trash bins aims to improve sustainability

Sunday, April 12, 2015
The Iowa City Downtown District and the University of Iowa's Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities have joined forces with the city in an effort to make downtown alleys a little greener.

Residents, city, students look to move forward with University of Iowa project in Leeds

Sunday, March 22, 2015
Second Chance Flea Market at 4029 Floyd Blvd. recently celebrated its one-year anniversary in the business corridor of Sioux City’s Leeds neighborhood.

NE part of county has high quality ‘frac’ sand

Thursday, February 12, 2015
The presence of sand highly suitable for fracking is “amazingly consistent” at sample locations in the northeast corner of Winneshiek County, according to Dr. Emily Finzel.

Decorahnews.com: Researchers conclude NE Winneshiek County has "high suitability" for frac sand mining

Monday, February 9, 2015
Graduate students and professors at the University of Iowa who have been studying the frac sand issue in Winneshiek County on Monday presented another program on the results of their studies. University of Iowa graduate student Austen Smith presented maps showing the location of St. Peter sandstone throughout the county. Smith also studied how far below the surface the sand is located and how...

Decorahnews.com: Frac sand-related presentation Monday at the Courthouse

Sunday, February 8, 2015
As part of a two-year partnership between Winneshiek County and the University of Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities, students and faculty across six different departments at the university are doing extensive research on the potential for frac sand mining in Winneshiek County. At noon Monday in the large courtroom at the Winneshiek County Courthouse, preliminary results on the location...

Suitability of Winneshiek County sand for fracking will be discussed during Monday’s supervisor meeting at noon

Friday, February 6, 2015
A university of Iowa professor and student will give a presentation during the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors’ Monday, Feb. 9, meeting at noon. The title of their talk is St. Peter sandstone in Winneshiek County: Subsurface Geology and Suitability for Mining. The presentation will take place in the large courtroom of the Winneshiek County Courthouse.

Leeds study will address aging infrastructures, businesses

Sunday, January 25, 2015
A study conducted by University of Iowa graduate students into Sioux City’s Leeds neighborhood aims to preserve and revitalize the community’s aging business corridor.

UI recognized for community commitment

Wednesday, January 7, 2015
The University of Iowa has been recognized nationally for its commitment and involvement to the community.

Sustainable Iowa

Friday, November 21, 2014
University of Iowa students have a hand in supporting the viability of a number of Iowa communities for years to come through the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC.)

UI project aims to restore a sense of community

Monday, November 17, 2014
When 53-year-old Ron Beals was a boy growing up in the Leeds neighborhood in northeast Sioux City, folks could walk the area’s main strip and purchase just about everything they needed for a simple, small-town life.

Graduate students from the University of Iowa focus on Sioux City for thesis projects

Thursday, October 16, 2014
Graduate students from the University of Iowa school of Urban and Regional Planning are focused on Sioux City's future.

U of I researcher informs supervisors about frac-sand impact

Monday, October 6, 2014
Scientists have known for centuries crystalline silica is a carcinogen, according to Dr. Peter Thorne. The head of the University of Iowa’s Department of Occupational and Environmental Health was in Decorah making a presentation at the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors’ meeting last week. The University is currently conducting an Environmental Health Sciences Research Center (EHSRC) project...

Partnership kicks off in Sioux City to improve community

Thursday, August 28, 2014
How does Sioux City keep its residents happy while also attracting newcomers? City officials and the Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council are teaming up with the University of Iowa to find out.

University of Iowa Students Help Sioux City Plan for the Future

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Some University of Iowa students are helping Sioux City plan for the future. Sioux City is one of three communities in the state chosen for this project. Wednesday at the Orpheum Theater the students met with members of the Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council, known as SIMPCO. They'll be doing studies on how to improve various areas of life in the community.

IISC Projects Start Soon

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
University of Iowa professors and students will be kicking off Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) projects throughout the county this fall.

UI partners with Decorah, Iowa City, and Sioux City on sustainability

Thursday, April 3, 2014
Through the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC), University of Iowa professors and students help Iowa communities build a more sustainable tomorrow by addressing the economic, environmental, and socio-cultural issues of today.

Students, city focus on sustainability

Friday, March 28, 2014
Each work day brings a variety of projects to Washington’s Chamber of Commerce director Michelle Peiffer and Debbie Stanton, director of the Washington Public Library.

Plans for Muscatine riverfront are coming into focus

Monday, March 10, 2014
From arts, to fitness, to fauna, Muscatine residents and leaders were treated to three different visions for the future of the Mucatine riverfront on Saturday. They were on display at the Pearl City Station at the park Saturday afternoon as part of a project for a group of University of Iowa students with its School of Urban and Regional Planning. The public presentation for residents at the...

Business students help build Iowa communities

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
University of Iowa marketing students are using their newfound expertise to help a pair of eastern Iowa towns build their economies by attracting new employers and new residents. The undergraduate students are marketing majors in the Tippie College of Business who are participating in the Marketing Institute, a program that operates like a consulting firm of sorts, to give students the opportunity...

University of Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities hosting upcoming focus group

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
The University of Iowa's Initiative for Sustainable Communities is holding an upcoming focus group as part of its Workforce Retention project. Through the project, urban and regional planning graduate students are working with the city of Cedar Rapids to better understand what keeps people in the city.

Your 2014 resolutions for Iowa's Creative Corridor

Sunday, December 29, 2013
We were overwhelmed by the response to our call for your New Year's resolutions for our region. This word cloud of commonly reoccurring words from your submissions offer a glimpse into the varied, ambitious goals we have for this remarkable place.

Passion and persistence help New Bohemia neighborhood to thrive

Sunday, December 22, 2013
Third Street SE in the heart of the New Bohemia neighborhood is a place to see and be seen. A place to browse locally owned shops for vintage furniture or high-end fashion or books. To meet over a cup of coffee, a beer or a meal. To experience artists’ installations or shop your way through the NewBo City Market — the latest jewel adding to the neighborhood’s vibrancy, novelty and diversity.

University of Iowa's Initiative for Sustainable Communities focuses on diversity and its tie to workforce retention in Cedar Rapids

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
When a group of University of Iowa graduate students set out to work with the city of Cedar Rapids to address workforce retention, the group did not anticipate what would surface as one of the most critical issues — diversity.

UI partners with the city of Washington, Iowa

Thursday, October 10, 2013
Each work day brings a variety of projects to Washington’s Chamber of Commerce director Michelle Peiffer and Debbie Stanton, director of the Washington Public Library.

Sustainable community

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Over the next year, the City of Washington, Washington Public Library and the Washington Chamber of Commerce will get some help in the form of projects being done free of charge by graduate and upper class undergraduate students from the University of Iowa.

Assignment: Muscatine

Tuesday, August 20, 2013
University of Iowa graduate students could play a big role helping Muscatine residents shape their community for the years to come. Monday provided local leaders an initial glimpse at what the process might look like. Second-year graduate students participating in the university’s Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities joined their professors as well as some of the city’s civic and business...

Reinforcing a commitment to the public

Monday, March 11, 2013
Nick Benson serves in a number of roles these days, but his favorite is probably matchmaker. As coordinator of the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC), Benson is making new connections between the University of Iowa and Iowa communities.

Art Changes a Community

Friday, March 1, 2013
Drive through any Iowa community and you are likely to find some form of public art. While they may not always be obvious to the eye, art installations can be found in parks, city halls, libraries, open spaces, sidewalks and more. Public art can include sculptures, murals and paintings as well as performances, concerts or lectures. These various forms of art can have a lasting impact on a...

Urban and Regional Planning graduate students earn national honor

Thursday, February 14, 2013
Graduate students in the University of Iowa School of Urban and Regional Planning have received national recognition for their groundbreaking sustainability project in the city of Dubuque.

UI partnering with Muscatine for community improvement projects

Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Built on more than brick and mortar, communities depend on innovative local leaders and passionate residents to create progressive change and a unique identity. For nearly four years, the University of Iowa’s Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities, part of the School of Urban and Regional Planning, has allowed local students and faculty to gain hands-on experience with sustainable community...

Muscatine can learn from students

Tuesday, January 22, 2013
A new partnership with students and faculty at the University of Iowa could help Muscatine undertake initiatives ranging from installing Wi-Fi in parks to figuring out what to do with empty buildings.