First-Year Planning Field Trip

During our fourth annual planning field trip with first-year students in the Urban Planning + Design program, we finally made it to the Kansas City, Missouri City Hall observation deck (it was closed during previous trips).  After speaking with a planner on the 15th floor, we walked to Louis Berger to learn what AUP+D alums are working on. We rode the streetcar to Union Station and walked to lunch at Crown Center before returning to campus on the Main MAX bus.

Clara Irazábal merges pursuit of social justice and equity in two areas

Clara Irazábal is settling into her new roles as director of the Latina/Latino Studies (LLS) Program and professor of Urban Planning at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she combines these roles to pursue social justice and spatial equity.

“These positions allow me to teach, research and serve while addressing the urban challenges our communities face,” said Irazábal.

“I feel mutually connected and devoted to both areas, and my classes at UMKC will have components from urban planning and Latinx Studies, including exploration of issues of economic and community development; affordable and inclusionary housing; and sustainability and resilience for the Latinx communities and other minoritized groups in Kansas City and beyond,” she said. “Not only will we learn to identify and analyze the challenges, but most importantly, rehearse solutions for them while empowering communities.”

Irazábal has conducted her planning research in Latinx communities in the United States and in countries of Latin America, including Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Caribbean. Throughout her career, she has been motivated by her concern for understanding social justice struggles as displayed in the transformation of urban space, which has allowed her to share her experiences and expertise with communities.

“I have conducted the majority of my urban planning research in the Latinx community. It sets the stage for how to improve practices and the well-being of the entire community, beyond Latinxs,” said Irazábal. “I know here in Kansas City there’s a Troost divide, which the city has not yet overcome. We need to integrate both sides of the community,” she said.

Irazábal explained the rapidly-growing term ‘Latinx’ (pronounced Latin X) as an all-inclusive term. When using ‘Latina or Latino,” some individuals might be excluded. Latinx includes individuals who do not identify as women or men in the LGBTQ community.

The new UMKC Center for Neighborhoods in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design is an example of where she can merge the two areas of research and engage the community.

“The goal of the center is to promote community development by training leaders, and allowing them to select projects they wish to work on,” Irazábal said. “The Center just graduated its first cohort of trainees, which includes neighborhood leaders and police officers. There is much hope for the LLS and the Center for Neighborhoods as instruments for community development, representing opportunities to learn how to work better, collaborate and create synergies,” she said.

Since her arrival in July, Irazábal has been attending meetings and learning about more initiatives at UMKC, which she will support.

“I have already attended meetings with the UMKC Hispanic Advisory Board and was impressed by how invested its members are in the LLS Program and UMKC at large, as well as their energy when promoting the university and our students,” she said. She has learned about upcoming Division of Diversity and Inclusion programs, including the Social Justice Book and Lecture Series, the Agapito Mendoza Scholarship Breakfast and the Avanzando program.

“Each of these is critical to the success of our students and to celebrate and reach out to the community,” she said.

Irazábal has some specific thoughts about enhancing the LLS Program, which include opportunities for growth.

“I want the program to mature and expand and offer an integrated graduate certificate, a Latina/Latino Studies major and eventually a master’s degree,” she said. “Also, I want the program to include Latina/Latino and Latin Americas Studies, attracting students and faculty to increase visibility and impact in the community,” she said. “I want the program to have a larger presence in our community and for the community to be engaged with us.”

Having arrived at UMKC by way of Columbia University in the City of New York, where she taught and conducted research for eight years, Irazábal worked with the Institute of Latin American Studies and collaborated with the Centers for Brazilian, Mexican and Caribbean Studies.

“Latinxists and Latin Americanists – researchers, teachers and activists – came together to create a synergy, a dialog, an enrichment to communities and students,” she said. “I want to stimulate that here at UMKC.”

While not in the classroom this semester, Irazábal will take the time to be become more familiar with UMKC and the LLS program before teaching in the spring.

“I will teach Introduction to Latina/Latino Studies. It will be a good way to get to know the students and for them to know me,” she said. “Later, I will teach Urban Planning and Latino Studies, which will help students understand community development and the LLS. It will have an impact on the minority community. That course is still being developed,” said Irazábal. She also wants to ensure the students continue to grow their research skills, including investigating, developing and testing hypotheses.

Invoking a line from poet June Jordan – “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” – and a phrase from activists César Chávez and Dolores Huerta – “Sí se puede (yes we can),” Irazábal illustrated her sense of mission and vision for what she and the community can do together.

Wandra Brooks Green, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

Photo credit: Brandon Parigo, Strategic Marketing and Communications

Reposted from UMKC’s blog.

Urban Studies Student’s Photography Project on Display in Miller Nichols Library

Head to Miller Nichols Library this semester for a display of Anne Martin’s photography.  The lightboxes are on view just to the west of the circulation desk on the first floor.

Anne is a senior Urban Studies major who conducted research and photographed homes built in Minneapolis as part of the Green Homes North project. The photography exhibit highlights the environmental and economic development impacts of infill housing in an older urban core neighborhood.

The UMKC Office of Undergraduate Research funded Anne’s work with a Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity (SUROP) grant.

Shaping Cities: The Architect as Community Organizer

John Ruble
Moore, Ruble, Yudell Architects & Planners

Please RSVP here.

As co-founder and partner in the Santa Monica, California-based architectural firm Moore, Ruble,
Yudell, John Ruble has collaborated on a broad spectrum of residential, academic, cultural,
and urban design work in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Ruble examines urban design issues now confronting Kansas City and other metropolitan areas in
the latest Kivett/Seligson Lecture. Ruble also discusses his work, and that of his firm,
and its emphasis on creating meaningful, memorable, and sustainable places.

Kivett / Seligson Lecture Series, Sponsored by the UMKC Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design

BUD Prize 2015

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From left: Olivia Ashbrook, Sam Green, Lauren Silvers

Future architects learn design and responsibility

What does it take to stimulate an appetite for discovery in an urban environment, establish a space to both create and appreciate art, and build a connection among a park, a school, a church and a residential neighborhood?

It takes an architect with an understanding of urban design. And that is the underlying lesson for the second-year students in the Architectural Studies program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Students in Architectural Design Studio I, taught by faculty members John Eck and Ted Seligson in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design, spent much of the semester working on an assignment to design a community art center for the Hyde Park/Manheim Park neighborhood.

A specific site was chosen – the northwest corner of Troost Avenue and Mannheim Road – and students were required to consider the immediate neighborhood’s context: a mix of residential space, parkland, and major buildings such as St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and DeLaSalle Education Center.

“Although the program asks you to provide a pleasing and functional space for a number of art-related activities, your responsibility does not stop there,” the assignment’s creative brief reads. “Your art center has the potential to physically bring the community together—through art shows, classes and other events. When you design the art center, your client is not only the art center—it is also, and perhaps even more importantly, the community.”

The building was required to include an outdoor entry court, entry vestibule, gallery, six artist studios, a wood/metal shop, print shop, outdoor work space and an apartment and studio for a visiting artist.

In addition to learning their future profession, the students also competed for the annual Bud Prize, a $1,000 scholarship established in 2004 with Helix / Architecture + Design to honor Edwin S. “Bud” Persons, who was a Senior Interior Architect with Helix.

First Prize in the competition went to Olivia Ashbrook. Her design called for a steel structure with white metal paneling on inside spaces for a pure, sleek appearance; a central gallery uses glass paneling to allow natural light.

In an accompanying essay, Ashbrook wrote “The gallery became the central focus of this design, or the hierarchy space … located in the center of the building, with the rest of the spaces wrapped around it.”

The gallery can be glimpsed, but not seen fully from the street, she added, so it “becomes something to be discovered, drawing people in off the street.” The design called for a structure built to a residential scale but “the aesthetic is meant to declare a commercial presence.” Exterior louvers are covered by art to shade the studios and act as signage for the center.

Lauren Silvers earned second prize for her design, a square structure with a central courtyard that serves as the heart of the art center, illuminated by a screened skylight, with secondary spaces grouped around it.

Sam Green earned Honorable Mention. Other participating students in the studio included George Aguilar, Elana Carter, Landon Cook, Jadenn Kelley, JD Meyers, Alex Overbay, Dennis Tong, Sam Valenzuela and Charlie Vue.

Jurors for the competition were Joy Swallow, Architect and AUP+D Department Chair; Shannon Jaax, Planner/ Director of the Repurposing Initiative for Kansas City Public Schools; Alissa Wehmueller, Director of Interiors at Helix / Architecture + Design; Jennifer Tuttle, Artist and Artist’s Mentor; and Christopher Fein, Architect and Professor of Architecture at Kansas State University.

(Story via John Martellaro, UMKC Communications)

It’s that time of year… Final reviews! You’re invited.

Our students have been busy all semester….

Please swing by Katz Hall in the next few days and see our students in action during final reviews and presentations…

Pavilion Project – first year studio
9am-12
9 December / Katz Hall, 101, 107

Valentine Neighborhood / Site alternatives for
Urban Planning and Design I
2:30 pm
Katz Hall 101

Dallas Architecture Field Trip 2015

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Every spring, the second-year architecture studio at UMKC joins up with their future Kansas State University classmates and roadtrips to Dallas, Texas. In addition to being just an all-around good time, lessons are learned and some great architecture is seen. Among the highlights: the Modern Art Museum by Tadao Ando (pictured above), the Winspear Opera House by Norman Foster, the Wyle Theater by Rem Koolhaus/REX, the Kimball Art Museum by Louis Kahn, the Nasher Sculpture Center by Renzo Piano, the Perot Science Center by Morphosis, the Dallas Symphony Center by I.M. Pei, the Cistercian Abby Chapel by Gary Cunningham . . . and much, much more!

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Legislative Day Attended by Urban Planning + Design Students

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Every year the University of Missouri System hosts Legislative Day at the Missouri state capital as a platform to advocate for higher education. This year, senior planners in Dr. Wagner’s Planning and Design Studio IV made the trip to Jefferson City where they visited with elected officials and shared research they have conducted in preparation for the Center for Neighborhoods. Students advocated and–encouraged lawmakers to support the Center for Neighborhoods. After a morning of lobbying legislators, lunch was hosted by Senator Kiki Curls office.

Students attending: Luisa Calumpong, Shawn Edghill, Madelyn Johnson, Gabriela Pintos, Andrew Pollock, Micah Radler & Micah Scoggan.

Urban Planning + Design in the News!

Five do-gooders quietly make it easier for KC to heart itself
By David Hudnall @davidhudnall / excerpt from: The Pitch, 2/10/15

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Photos by Angela C. Bond

Idris Raoufi, 2013 Urban Planning + Design Alumnus
816 Bicycle Collective
The past couple of years, we’ve marked Valentine’s Day by talking to our crushes: men and women around town who are doing things cool enough to make us swoon a little. This year, we went looking for people who had crushes of their own: on the city. We’re not talking about garden-variety hometown-priders, the “I share too much pro-KC clickbait on Facebook” types. We mean folks who spend their time actively contributing to the improvement of Kansas City and its citizens.
The five individuals we picked — and yes, we know, our list is a couple of thousand people short — direct their energy toward a variety of civic endeavors, from battling predatory lenders to educating teenagers through theater about HIV/AIDS. What they have in common: They impress and inspire us. We hope they impress and inspire you, too.

 Idris Raoufi’s views on urban planning in Kansas City border on bleak.

“KC is one of the most underplanned municipalities in the United States,” Raoufi says. “We’re 30 years behind the curve with land use, neighborhood preservation, municipal services, community health. There’s been almost no emphasis on planning for the future.”

But even in challenging environments, dedicated souls tend to locate niches in which a difference might be made. Raoufi’s niche: the 816 Bicycle Collective, where he focuses his energy when he’s not working his day job as a transportation planner for Wilson & Co., an engineering and architecture firm.

The 816 Bicycle Collective is a free community bike shop, staffed by volunteers who repair bikes and teach commuters how to do the same: how to adjust the brakes, how to change a flat, how to fix a derailleur, even how to build a bike from scratch. “People who rely on a bike to get to work — many of whom realistically can’t afford to ride the bus — are in large part the people who visit us,” Raoufi says. “There’s a large population of people in this city that gets around by bike, and our main function is to empower those people with the knowledge to fix their own bikes.”

Raoufi co-founded the collective in 2008 with Suzanne Hogan, Kirk McDowell-Shafer, Bri Lauterbach and Sean Eagan. For now, it’s located in a back alleyway off Troost, at 3116 Forest. But in late spring or early summer, it’s moving to a more visible location, in the Union Hill neighborhood. Two years ago, at the Jackson County delinquent-tax auction, the organization purchased three buildings near the corner of 31st Street and Cherry.

“We got these three buildings on the same parcel in incredible condition, in a great location,” Raoufi says. “We had no intention of actually getting them. But nobody else bid on them.”

Thanks to donations at the shop, heavily discounted services from a friendly contractor and $32,000 netted from a 2013 crowdfunding campaign, the 816 Bicycle Collective has gradually renovated the properties. The new space will be multifaceted, housing the collective as well as its parent organization, the KC Bicycle Federation. The goal is to have leasable spaces in the other buildings that will generate revenue to fund the operations of the bike collective and pay for expenses associated with upkeep. “Ideally, we’d be leasing to like-minded nonprofits,” Raoufi says.

A self-sustaining hub for cycling advocacy: not bad for a town that historically has been less-than-progressive on transportation issues.
“There’s a lot you can do here that you can’t do in other cities,” Raoufi says, sounding a little more optimistic. “It’s why the collective has been able to do what it’s done so far. The work I’m passionate about is taking technical abilities I learned in school and helping advance disenfranchised communities to take better hold of the development of their neighborhoods. If you tried to do that in lots of other cities, you’d be dealing with higher real estate [costs], scarcer resources, more competition. This is a city of great opportunity if you’re aware of it.”

excerpt from: The Pitch, 2/10/15
http://www.pitch.com/kansascity/five-do-gooders-quietly-make-it-easier-for-kc-to-heart-itself/Content?oid=5052842

Entrepreneurial Scholar: Joohae Yoon, Urban Planning + Design

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I am a student from South Korea. I have started my degree in 2011, as an Environmental Horticulture major at the University of Seoul. I was deeply interested in urban ecology, plant remediation and urban environmental systems.
My first visit to the U.S happened in fall, 2012. I applied for several different universities in other states as an exchange student but the only acceptance letter I received was from a state I have never heard of, Missouri. I researched this place for days and nights but still wasn’t sure if I could really like this place. But when I arrived, soon enough, the world turned around, introducing me to new experiences that I would have never had.
That’s when I first encountered the concept of entrepreneurship. I have been keeping my eyes on launching a start-up business ever since. Magazines like Entrepreneur, INC magazine and Forbes became one of my favorite pastime. I am now studying Urban Planning and Design at UMKC and an active member and a project leader of UMKC Enactus, a college students’ international non-profit organization dedicated to enabling progress through entrepreneurial action. I am in the process of gaining experience needed to launch a startup business. Getting selected as a recipient of UM System’s ESI program is an honor, and will help me improve my entrepreneurial skills as I prepare to start my own business, here in my 2nd home.

UM System names first class in its Entrepreneurial Scholars and Interns Program
Students from all four campuses will have a unique opportunity to enhance their entrepreneurship skills

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri System today announced the selection of the first 15 students to be part of the inaugural class of the UM System Entrepreneurial Scholars and Interns program. Starting in the spring semester, students will begin taking approved entrepreneurial-related courses to be followed by a 10-week, paid summer internship. This exclusive program provides the students with a strong academic foundation in entrepreneurship as well as the opportunity to learn from a mentor or work within a startup company.

“Entrepreneurial experiences for students, at such a young age, is huge for the state,” University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe said. “By creating this culture on our campuses—one that encourages innovation—we will produce well-educated entrepreneurs that will power Missouri’s 21st Century economy.”
The goal of the program is to create a steady stream of entrepreneurs around the state capable of taking their cutting-edge ideas to the market as new business ventures. Creating this new wave of well-educated entrepreneurs in Missouri will benefit the local, regional and national economies.
“Increasing research and economic development activity is integral to our strategic plan,” UM System Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Research and Economic Development Hank Foley said. “This opportunity for our students to collaborate with a like-minded cohort will be an engine for the state’s vitality in the coming years.”
The program introduces students from different degree programs on each of the four system campuses to entrepreneurial principles and practices and creates a network of connections centered on entrepreneurship. The application process was open to all undergraduate students on all four campuses. In total, 38 applications were received from disciplines ranging from journalism, environmental engineering, nursing and graphic design. Below is the list of students, their degree program and campus affiliation:
Natasha Brewer, Journalism, MU
Audrey Engel, Marketing, UMSL
Drew Forster, Agribusiness Management, MU
Teresa Frank, Business Finance, UMSL
Connor Hall, Finance, MU
Josh Jetter, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Missouri S&T
John Larrick, Finance & Real Estate, MU
Kimberly Miller, Entrepreneurship, UMKC
Andrew Neely, Business, UMSL
Erik O’Riley, Mechanical Engineering, Missouri S&T
Mary Puleo, Environmental Engineering, Missouri S&T
Nick Rollins, Information Science & Technology, Missouri S&T
Alexander Sweeney, Computer Science, UMKC
Aaron Vonderhaar, Mechanical Engineering, Missouri S&T
Joohae Yoon, Urban Planning & Design, UMKC

Excerpt from UM System press release 12/19/2014