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Project Spotlight: Over 100 University of Iowa Project Examples Now Available in EPIC-N Project Library

By: Max Prestigiacomo

The ​​Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) was launched in 2009 in the School of Urban & Regional Planning by Dr. Chuck Connerly, since then, IISC has expanded and now works with over 20 Community Partners, putting the EPIC Model into practice.

Since its founding, this EPIC Model program has made a number of community contributions crossing discipline and geographic boundaries across Iowa, now totaling over 300 projects. Recently IISC staff worked with EPIC-N to share many of these projects with other EPIC-N members within the EPIC Member Commons. Below are some highlights.

A look back at one of IISC’s first projects, the “First Step Oskaloosa Solid Waste” Project, started in the 2010-11 academic year, tasked students with evaluating the economic and environmental impacts of the City of Oskaloosa’s waste hauling system. Ultimately, students delivered recommendations that have greatly added to this community’s prosperity through economic and population growth coupled with a flourishing cultural scene. Read more about this project

Community Partner: City of Keokuk 

The City of Keokuk partnered with IISC during the 2019-2020 academic year. IISC took a unique approach to these projects, specifically using the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Framework for Creating a Smart Growth Economic Development Strategy”. IISC used this EPA framework to create the ‘Keokuk Downtown Redevelopment Plan’ with the goals of creating a sustainable redevelopment plan to reuse existing infrastructure, reinvigorate investment in the downtown area and create community-friendly space that is connected to surrounding residential neighborhoods and the riverfront. As the lengthy report details, this project has been a success in recommending new uses for existing downtown infrastructure. Read more about this project

The City of Keokuk also worked with IISC and students to develop pedestrian-focused pathways and green streets. In their “Keokuk Pathways and Green Streets Plan”, second-year graduate students from the School of Urban & Regional Planning evaluated the communities declining revenue from population loss and existing planning infrastructure; finding the outdated urban planning a challenge, students pushed through to recommend redundant and inefficient streets be turned into pedestrian-friendly infrastructure. Nadia Silva, a second-year student pursuing a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Iowa, shares a little about this project in a feature by the University of Iowa Planning and Public Affairs department. Read more about this project

Access Full Project Reports

To access over 100 of IISC Projects, visit the Project Library in the EPIC-N Members Commons. Many of the EPIC-N Member Commons Project Library entries include links to the full reports generated for each distinct project. Sign up for a free EPIC-N membership to gain access to the full project reports (and other project examples).

You can use your account to explore other resources available to help you adopt the EPIC Model in your own college or university, city, county, special district, or community group.

Becoming a member of the EPIC-Network is easy and free (for a limited time). To join, simply create an account. After creating your account, use the “Request Support” button to set up meetings with EPIC-N Support Staff.