Winneshiek County sought to understand the possible economic impacts that the frac sand mining industry could have if it became established in the county. For this project, graduate students in the School of Urban and Regional Planning performed a comprehensive economic impact study that evaluated the short and long-term gains and losses to the county's economy that could follow from the industry’s establishment. The students assumed a single-mine scenario to contextualize mining impacts in three areas: county accounts, private accounts, and social costs.
To help the City of Iowa City continue to foster the benefits of its natural areas, students from the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences conducted two research projects on the ecological services provided by the parks and open spaces in the city. The first project used hedonic pricing to research how the valuation of different kinds of open spaces contribute to the values of detached single-family homes.
In a report to The Edgewood Museum Corporation, students in Heidi Lung's "Museums in the Digital Age" class recommended appropriate methods to digitize historical artifacts for a new community museum and developed a comprehensive communications plan for the organization.
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.
Graduate students in the School of Library and Information Science worked with the Washington Free Public Library to address goals related to the library’s long-term plan, particularly in relation to the Children’s Area. Projects included evaluating the potential for creation of a parenting collection, reclassification of the Children’s Area, and rearranging the Children’s Area to create a welcoming environment.
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.
As part of their Senior Design Capstone course, Civil & Environmental Engineering students created design alternatives for new uses of the former school building in Essex, and provided specs and cost estimates for the final design.
Essex, Iowa, was interested in the redevelopment and reuse of a gymnasium within town. The city was looking for a community center, focused primarily on creating public spaces, hosting programming for youth and adults, and holding public events. The city was also interested in a storm shelter.
As part of his graduate capstone project, Sports & Recreation management student Chris Gelhaus provided recommendations for the reuse of a historic school gymnasium in Essex, Iowa.
Essex, Iowa, is interested in the redevelopment and reuse of a gymnasium within town. The city is looking for a community center, focused primarily on creating public spaces, hosting programming for youth and adults, and holding public events.
The iGreenCR program was developed in late 2011 as a coordinated strategy to promote and brand Cedar Rapids’ sustainability efforts under one program rather than separate departmental initiatives. Students conducted research to evaluate community awareness and willingness to embrace sustainability, as well as their current level of awareness of iGreenCR.
Students from the Geographical and Sustainability Sciences department used GIS to map the sources of the farmers’ market products and locations of their vendors, giving consumers, and market managers - it is a visual understanding of the area over which the local products are sourced. In addition, students researched how the locations of these vendors and the market correspond to food recovery institutions to assist the Farmers’ Market in forming future collaborations.
As part of the ICIGO student organization within the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences, students used GIS to analyze risk factors and indicators of emergency management hotspots in Waterloo.
Community Risk Reduction is defined as “a process to identify and prioritize local risks, followed by the integrated and strategic investment of resources (emergency response and prevention) to reduce their occurrence and impact” (Vision 20/20).
As part of their Senior Design Capstone course, Civil & Environmental Engineering students provided a structural evaluation, feasibility study, and restoration alternative plans with cost estimates for a historic fire station in Mason City.
Due to Oskaloosa's increase in population, city officials were interested in recommendations that supported growth in a sustainable way. Students evaluated the economic and environmental impacts of the City's waste hauling system and made recommendations for developing a more environmentally friendly and economically sound program.
Students in the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences course GIS for Environmental Studies course conducted a flooding risk assessment for the Cerro Gordo County Emergency Management Agency using HAZUS modeling software.
Engineering students developed design solutions to mitigate the threat of pooling behind the Floyd River levee and reduce flood insurance rates for the Leeds neighborhood in Sioux City, IA. These designs included recommendations for detention basins, pumping stations, and green alternatives.
Engineering students designed a new trail layout for the Floyd River Trail that allowed for safer trail access and provided more recreational space for the residents of Sioux City and the surrounding area.
Students in the College of Law conducted statutory and case law research to contribute to the development of the potential regulations being considered by Winneshiek County. In response to the potential entry of the frac sand mining industry into the area, Winneshiek County sought research and recommendations on best practices for interacting with the industry. This project brought together the University of Iowa Citizen lawyer program with county attorneys to provide legal research and analysis on regulatory options available to the county.
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.
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.