Planning & Public Affairs

The School of Planning and Public Affairs is committed to admitting a diverse student body and supporting a learning environment in which many values and perspectives contribute to the richness of the educational experience, to the fields of planning, public policy, and public administration, and to the communities in which we we live and work.


URP Open House

Updating the 2006 Mason City Comprehensive Plan

As part of their capstone project, second-year graduate students from the University of Iowa’s School of Urban & Regional Planning will update Mason City’s 2006 Comprehensive Plan, with a thematic view towards environmental and social resiliency and a topical focus on aging in place.


Local Foods Policy and Programming

For their capstone project, Public Affairs graduate students from the School of Planning and Public Affairs will evaluate local food efforts and opportunities in the Clinton area, particularly as they relate to food insecurity and health and wellness.  Local food strategies often include "farm to table" programming, expanding markets for producers, community gardens, and more.  


Policies and Strategies for Youth Drug Deterrence

Public Affairs graduate students from the School of Planning and Public Affairs will help identify and develop policies and strategies aimed at deterring drug and alcohol use among youth in Clinton. 


Greening Downtown Spaces

Students in the course Public Policy and Persuasion will explore case studies and best management practices, as well as existing conditions in Clinton, to develop policy, programming, and infrastructure recommendations for "greening" the downtown district.  Green practices can produce many positive outcomes, such as stormwater management, waste management, beautification, creating vibrant spaces for visitors to enjoy, and spurring economic activity.


Activating Downtown Alleyways

Downtown alleyways often serve important functions, such as waste management or service entrances for businesses.  However, communities are increasingly recognizing alleyways as opportunities to create unique public spaces.  Alleyways offer pathways to pedestrians, increasing connectivity and walkability along interesting and quieter routes.   Improving alleyways can mean stormwater management to reduce flash flooding, greenery and plantings that offer environmental and aesthetic benefits, new commercial and entrepreneurial opportunities, and spaces for arts and culture.


Homelessness Policy Recommendations

Homelessness is an issue in communities across the country. Due to poverty, mental illness challenges, lack of affordable housing, and other factors, homelessness is becoming more prevalent in contemporary society.  Students in the course Public Policy and Persuasion will develop policy briefings for Clinton community partners, with the broad goal of helping to ensure safe, sanitary, and secure housing options for residents. 


Reigniting the Mayor’s Youth Commission in Clinton

After a hiatus, the City of Clinton has restarted the Mayor's Youth Commission.  The Mayor’s Youth Commission was established to be composed of students between the grades of 7th grade and the 1st year of college who reside within the city limits of Clinton.  The commission is be an advisory body to the City Council making recommendations to the City Council on matters that are of interest to the youth of the community.  Students in the course Public Policy and Persuasion will assist in the organization and relaunching of the program, with a focus on exploring best practices from similar co


Local Strategies to Address the Opioid Epidemic

Public Affairs graduate students from the School of Planning and Public Affairs will work with the Clinton Police Department and other service providers to identify new local, proactive strategies for addressing opioid addiction and abuse in the community.  A focus of the project will include tracking how recent funds garnered by the State of Iowa from settlements with pharmaceuticals companies can be deployed in Clinton.  


Master Plan for Clinton’s Liberty Square District

The City of Clinton seeks to revisit planning and strategies for use and development of the Liberty Square District, a section of mostly undeveloped land that runs between and adjacent to the split four lanes of Highway 30. 


Clinton Housing Needs Assessment / Housing Policy and Strategy

The City of Clinton seeks to update its Housing Needs Assessment, which was last completed in 2016.  A Housing Needs Assessment is a tool to help decision-makers ensure that existing and future residents can find safe, secure, and quality housing that meets their needs and budgets.  The assessment evaluates both housing needs and housing availability, typically determining the number and types of new units needed to accommodate needs, as well as other factors like vacancy, housing quality, rental needs, and more.  Housing Needs Assessments are useful to housing


Iowa City Solar Study

Students in the School of Planning and Public Affairs course Environmental Policy researched technical and policy solutions to advance more solar energy generation in Iowa City, with a focus on resilience, economic benefits, and equitable access.  UI faculty members Scott Spak, Adam Skibbe, and Travis Kraus worked with local stakeholders to complete the study. 

MCC site visit

Muscatine Community College Sustainability and Environmental Responsibility (SER) Initiative

Second-year Master of Public Affairs (MPA) students collaborated with administrators and students at Muscatine Community College in the development of policies and best practices for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and implementing a Sustainability and Environmental Responsibility (SER) Initiative.