UPD Student Will Present Research on Cuba on March 6 and March 8


Funded by a SEARCH grant from UMKC Undergraduate Research, UPD Junior Billie Hufford traveled to Havana, Cuba over winter break to study transportation and the built environment. Billie will present her research in 101 Katz Hall (5005 Rockhill Rd.) at noon on Monday, March 6, 2017 and repeat it at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Please join us to learn more about Cuba!

UPD Faculty present at the 2017 Community Development Workshop

Faculty from Urban Planning and Design participated in the 5th Annual Community Development Workshop in Kansas City.

The workshop was well-attended by community members, city staff, students and local professionals in community development and planning.

This year the Center for Neighborhoods was a sponsor and participant in the event.

Dr. Michael Frisch, Dr. Clara Irazabal-Zurita, Dr. annalise fonza, and Jacob Wagner all participated in an event focused on developing a shared understanding of gentrification. The session was very well-attended and participants worked in groups to generate mutual knowledge about the different definitions of gentrification as well as the implications of this controversial concept.


Students from Augsburg Germany collaborate with UPD students on Prospect Charrette

Students from Augsburg Germany’s University of Applied Sciences joined UMKC students in Urban Planning and Design (UPD) for a five day charrette in Kansas City. Four teams of students worked together to develop architecture, urban planning and urban design concepts for the Prospect Avenue corridor in Kansas City, MO.


Students worked in an intense and quick environment over five days to develop their ideas. Each team built a model to illustrate their ideas and to explore two sites on Prospect Avenue.


Students developed new friendships and learned about planning and architecture in Germany. Faculty shared different approaches to urban design and learned from their colleagues through a collaborative design process.

Several professionals joined the students to review their final presentation, including staff from Gould Evans, Zahner Design & Fabrication, Populous Architecture, REACH Collaborative, and Taliaferro and Browne. Staff from the Center for Neighborhoods also participated in the charrette and final review.



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.

Entrepreneurial Scholar: Joohae Yoon, Urban Planning + Design


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

Dr. Frisch quoted in Pitch story about Armour Blvd

Associate Professor Michael Frisch contributed to today’s story in The Pitch by writer Steve Vockrodt. The article details the challenges of creating a revitalized historic corridor along Armour Boulevard with a mix of housing, including housing for low income families. As a case study, the Armour Boulevard revitalization in Hyde Park, Kansas City Missouri is a great example of the tensions between gentrification, concentrated poverty and inclusive redevelopment.

Urban Studies students meet U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx


As part of their “Urban Scavenger Hunt” assignment for Urban Studies 101, three UMKC students had the chance to meet Anthony Foxx, Secretary of Transportation – as well as Mayor Sly James and City Councilors Melba Curls and Jermaine Reed. The student team including Samuel Espinoza, Shaina Stovall and Theresa Hernandez visited City Hall as part of the assignment and were in the “right place at the right time” to meet a great group of public officials.