Iowa City

Home to the University of Iowa, Iowa City has heavily invested in sustainable design and infrastructure as it continues to grow economically and culturally. After devastating floods in 2008, the city has reconstructed with a focus on sustainable practices. Partnering with the IISC will allow the city and local organizations to continue to grow the downtown into a dynamic cultural hub for the community, market their goals and achievements, and further their progress on building a sustainable community.




Emerald Ash Borer: Monitoring and Management

Students conducted research on Iowa City’s ash trees to help prepare for the emerald ash borer (EAB) and develop a response plan. Students used various survey methodologies to assess current ash tree condition and coverage in Iowa City, including counting the trees, recording their GPS coordinates, and measuring their characteristics. Using this data, students created a map of ash tree coverage and identified priority sites in which they recommend that the city implement monitoring and management strategies.


Enhancing Urban Pollinator and Beneficial Insect Habitat

Students researched bee diversity in Iowa City, compared it to bee diversity in prairie and agricultural settings, and related it to floral diversity in each setting. They used pan trapping and sweep netting methods to collect bees during their research. They offered recommendations to the City of Iowa City to help the area maintain and increase urban bee diversity.

Green Alleyways study

Green Alleyways

Students in the School of Urban and Regional Planning gave four recommendations to the City of Iowa City and the Iowa City Downtown District about waste management in local alleyways in order to increase the use of the sustainability potential of these areas.


Internal and Local Marketing of Sustainable Behavior

Students in the Tippie College of Business created a local marketing campaign to promote sustainable behavior in Iowa City called IC Impact. Their objective was to have IC Impact start a sustainability movement in Iowa City that would lead to a positive impact on the community.


Soil Analysis of Potential Urban Agriculture Areas within City Limits

Students in the Earth and Environmental Sciences program evaluated soils at the Chadek property, which was a vacant city lot located in the Morningside neighborhood of Iowa City, south of City High and a few blocks west of 1st Ave.


South Airport Site Development Improvements

Engineering students created a Master Redevelopment Plan that presented findings on the condition of Iowa City's airport facilities and made recommendations on how to most efficiently develop the farmland around the decommissioned southern runway to increase the airport’s future revenue generation capacity.

Star Community logo

STAR Sustainability Assessment

Students in the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences assisted the City of Iowa City with their Leadership STAR Community Program application by gathering information about City policies, practices and actions in the areas assessed by STAR.

Bio Retention System

Stormwater Management with Permeable Pavement and Bioretention Structures

Engineering students researched the extent of impermeable surfaces in the east-west portion of North Dodge Street Court and developed a stormwater management plan for the city of Iowa City.

Iowa City was interested in the increased application of permeable pavement and bioretention within the city. These systems fell under the umbrella of “green street” designs, which address growing concern for sustainable stormwater management by mimicking local hydrology prior to development.

Sustainable Iowa City logo

Strategic Communication Campaign for Marketing Sustainability

Undergraduate students created three strategic communication plans for the City of Iowa City.

The goal of these plans is to help city communicators gain local and regional attention to the sustainability efforts in Iowa City. Each of the campaigns is directed towards a different audience and includes different promotional materials, also developed by the students. Each campaign outlines branded marketing materials, website mockups, costs, timelines and more.

Water Reclamation map

Water Reclamation for Terry Trueblood Recreation Area

Engineering students created a project aimed at reducing the water demand, energy consumption and costs for Iowa City's Wastewater Division. The students calculated the areas needing irrigation along with the volume of water needed. Pump sizes, electrical service, and a design plan estimating construction and operational costs were the deliverables.