Dubuque is Iowa’s oldest city and among the oldest settlements west of the Mississippi River. Its proximity to the River and its abundant land and resources has long attracted migrants and immigrants who call Dubuque home. The City offers an eclectic mix of history and tradition yet celebrates innovation and forward-thinking. The architecture and bluffs draw people to Dubuque which serves as the major retail, medical, education, cultural, employment center for the tri-state area.
Dubuque takes great pride in the slogan ‘Masterpiece on the Mississippi,’ but such was not always the case. In the 1980s, Dubuque experienced difficult times. The city had double digit unemployment, an exodus of residents, a struggling downtown, and disconnected neighborhoods. Community leaders from the private and public sectors joined in community visioning efforts focused on downtown redevelopment, industrial expansion, sustainability and reconnection to the river. While significant progress has been made, Dubuque’s commitment to sustainability and resiliency for residents and visitors will propel us into the future.
Dubuque has been working to improve access to affordable housing and is poised for the next step in its process. In recent years, it has had several different kinds of housingassessments completed. It has incentivized homeowner rehabilitation and has passed incentives for developers to create nearly 800 new units. It’s also created more infill by removing dilapidated buildings. Despite considerable action in this area, Dubuque faces challenges.
As part of its ambitious sustainability plans, Dubuque seeks to reduce vehicle dependency and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and create/promote accessible and equitable transportation alternatives.
The City of Dubuque is exploring the idea of an electric bike and/or scooter share program. The city wants residents and visitors to have access to transportation options that are easy to access and affordable for short distances where walking may be an issue or a car is unnecessary.
The capacities for Dubuque’s stormwater detention basins were established in the early 1990s. Since that time, annual rainfall has outpaced predictions and is expected to increase in the coming decades. The City and area watershed administrators are considering redesigning existing detention basins while also understanding the capacities for future ones.
Like many communities in the midwest, Dubuque has many people whose first language is not English. Local government has an obligation to ensure these residents are included in all aspects of civic life. This includes having information that enables them to participate in city activities, ranging from library programs and recycling, to elections and parks. They also need to be able to receive important information about health and safety, such as immunization programs and extreme weather notices.
Libraries are the pride of many communities in the United States, offering free access to many materials, programming, access to internet and other technologies, and serving as a meeting place. They are also safe spaces for neurodivergent individuals who rely on them as a place for daytime shelter, information, and other resources.
A collection of metal pipes and other parts from former playground equipment will serve as the materials for Jamie Weinfurter, an MFA student in studio arts, to create a new sculpture. Weinfurter will work with the public, especially students and staff at Audubon Elementary School, to get ideas and collect additional materials for the sculpture. It will eventually be located near the school in the Bee Branch Creek Greenway.
As Dubuque seeks to make its streets more accessible to bikers and pedestrians, it is especially interested in ways to make several major thoroughfares safer. One of these is JFK Road, a major north-south arterial road.
Juniors in the Tippie College of Business Marketing Institute created advertising campaigns for Travel Dubuque to promote the outdoor recreational opportunities in the Dubuque area, with a particular focus on attracting mountain biking enthusiasts to the area's growing trail infrastructure.
In 2011, Dubuque Regional Smart Planning Consortium was formed and tasked with developing a regional sustainability plan. Building on the 2011-12's Indicator and Indicator Measures for 11 Sustainability Principles for the City of Dubuque, students created measurements for the sustainability goals outlined in the Smart Plan on a regional scale.
Students studied factors that affect a household's locational choice and developed seven recommendations for the City of Dubuque to fulfill its vision of creating a choice of livable neighborhoods and opportunities would attract and retain households, especially young professionals and families.
Students addressed the affordability of transportation by examining opportunities such as car-sharing and bike-sharing in The City of Dubuque. Students analyzed the accessibility of the current transportation system; solicited feedback from focus groups comprised of likely end-users; and synthesized demographic data to access locational feasibility.
Students developed four design alternatives for the South Port in that were in line with the sustainable vision of Dubuque and based upon significant community input.
Following the redevelopment of the North Port, city officials in Dubuque wanted to identify improvements for the South Port, which is comprised of 33 acres of semi-industrial land.
Students in the School of Urban and Regional planning partnered with the City of Dubuque because the Dubuque Community School District (DCSD) wanted to know the factors that contribute to elementary school student achievement.
Through their research, students created a community survey; a production function, a tool which identifies factors critical to student performance; and a hedonic preference model which identifies how DCSD's schools affect home values. In addition, students identified policy options for exploration by the City of Dubuque and DCSD.
Graduate students in the School of Urban and Regional Planning worked with city officials to provide recommendations and two tools for the City of Dubuque to expand its Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI).
The tools developed included the Priority Model and economic feasibility calculator for rental units. Other recommendations included strategies to engage renters and landlords; innovative funding; interdepartmental cooperation building; and participant engagement and outreach.
Students studied over 40 indicator systems and 1200 potential indicators, and narrowed it down to 60 indicators specifically for the City of Dubuque and its 11 principles through discussion with city staff, public engagement, and analysis of comparable cities. The students developed a score card for each indicator to be used by officials.
Dubuque city leaders wanted to increase the production and consumption of local foods as part of their Sustainability Dubuque initiative. In addition to common direct-to-consumer approaches, such as community supported agriculture programs and community gardens, Dubuque city leaders wanted to expand to a higher impact approach by expanding the market for local food producers to sell their products to large institutions.
Students researched who is in poverty and where they lived in Dubuque, IA; identified barriers to getting out of poverty; and developed recommendations for best practices in anti-poverty initiatives.
One of the cornerstones of sustainability is social/cultural vibrancy. After the City of Dubuque adopted its Sustainable Dubuque plan, city leaders wanted to explore poverty so sustainable initiatives could be provided that addressed the needs of the poor in an informed and efficient manner.
Students combined geophysical-based renewable energy capacity mapping with return on investment to evaluate how renewable energy can impact Dubuque's sustainability vision.
In order to sustain growth and demand for energy, the City of Dubuque was interested in developing policies for economic development that incorporated renewable energy.