Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Cornell Planner - Fall 2012 - Issue 7

The semester’s seventh and final issue of the Cornell Planner is available on the CRP website. CLICK HERE to view online.

Please send your news updates to Gar-Yin at

Past issues:
Fall 2012
Issue 6
Issue 5
Issue 4
Issue 3
Issue 2
Issue 1

For other archived issues, click here

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Cornell Planner - Fall 2012, Issue 6

The semester’s sixth issue of the Cornell Planner is available on the CRP website. CLICK HERE to view online.

Please send your news updates to Gar-Yin at

Past issues:
Fall 2012
Issue 5
Issue 4
Issue 3
Issue 2
Issue 1

For other archived issues, click here

Monday, November 12, 2012


Join us for the second annual Historic Preservation Planning Symposium
The threatened David and Gladys Wright House,
Frank Lloyd Wright, Phoenix, 1952.

All events take place in 115 W. Sibley Hall unless otherwise noted

November 16, 2012

Jeff Chusid

CLICK HERE for more information from the CRP Website.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

URS in ROME Exhibition Reception

URS students will present last spring's work on community profiles and policy analysis in Rome.

This exhibit would be especially useful to URS sophomores and juniors looking to see what the Rome Workshop will be like.

Exhibition Presentation and Reception
Date: November 1st
Time: 3pm-5pm
Where: 115 W. Sibley Hall

The exhibit will be on display in the West Sibley Gallery from November 1st-November 12th.

Contact: Kevin Yen ( for more information

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Cornell Planner - Fall 2012, Issue 5

The semester’s fifth issue of the Cornell Planner is available on the CRP website. CLICK HERE to view online.

Please send your news updates to Gar-Yin at

Past issues:
Fall 2012
Issue 4
Issue 3
Issue 2
Issue 1

For other archived issues, click here

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Cornell Planner - Fall 2012, Issue 4

The semester’s fourth issue of the Cornell Planner is available on the CRP website. CLICK HERE to view online.

Please send your news updates to Gar-Yin at

Past issues:
Fall 2012
Issue 3
Issue 2
Issue 1

For other archived issues, click here

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

CRP Graduate Student Open House

This past March, more than 50 prospective MRP, HPP, and PhD students came to Ithaca for a firsthand look at the programs offered in City and Regional Planning.  The Open House proceedings were directed by John Forester, and began on Friday with introductions from the faculty, presentations from each academic concentration, and a luncheon with representatives from several graduate student organizations.  The prospective students also had an opportunity to join current students and faculty at a lecture by recent graduate Andy Rumbach (PhD ’11) on disaster preparedness in American Samoa.  Friday's events concluded with a campus tour led by Ben Koffel (MRP '12) and a reception for this year's ULI/Hines Urban Design Competition participants.

“They seem like a really engaged, curious group,” said student organizer Nora Wright (MRP ‘13) of the prospective students, “and very social, probably even more so than our class.”  The weekend’s activities included several social events hosted by graduate student organizations in the department.  The Organization of Cornell Planners (OCP) hosted dinners at various restaurants in Collegetown and on the Commons for prospective MRP students both Friday and Saturday, while the HPP students gathered for a dinner of their own.  On Friday evening, Planning Students for Diversity (PSD) hosted a bowling event at Ithaca’s Bowl-o-Drome.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Women's Planning Forum Social

Image provided by Allison Arnold

Get the scoop on the Women's Planning Forum!  They are holding an ice cream social (and a small amount of sorbet for the dairy-free folks) between the hours of noon and 2pm today at Sibley Hall.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Future of International Studies Discussion

Friday, April 20, 2012, 12:30 - 3:00 pm, Sibley  Room 208

Join International Planning Student Association (ISP) for a discussion and Q&A with Professor Bish Sanyal about the future of international studies.  Professor Sanyal is the Ford International Professor of Urban Development and Planning at MIT. Trained as an Architect Planner with a doctorate from University of California at Los Angeles. Sanyal has served as a planning consultant to Ford Foundation, World Bank, International Labour Organization, United Nations Center for Human Settlements, United Nations Development Program, and the United States Agency for International Development. Research experience in India, Bangladesh, Zambia, Kenya, Jordan, Lebanon, Brazil, and Curacao.  His research areas of interest are: urban economy and housing, Planning Institutions and Processes; Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in development process; Planning Education and Theory.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

DELHI2050 Opening Reception

Image provided by Jeffrey M. Chusid

 Thursday, April 19,  5 p.m., 115 W. Sibley Hall

Opening reception and informal presentation
An exhibition, opening simultaneously in the City and Regional Planning (CRP) Gallery, Cornell University, and the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The exhibition was curated by arch i platform, Delhi, and Venhoeven CS Architecture + Urbanism, Amsterdam.

DELHI2050 is an initiative of arch i, an architecture firm based in Delhi, collaborating with Indian and Dutch experts to fundamentally rethink the future of Delhi and its surrounding region, an area of some 46 million people whose rapid economic and population growth is dramatically outstripping the area’s infrastructure, natural resources, and social institutions. Phase one of the project resulted in four physical ‘thinking’ models of future development, which toured the city on pushcarts, evoking responses from a wide range of residents. Phase two used these conversations to help develop a process not only for spatial planning at various scales (from street level to regional), but also for utilizing a robust network of researchers and designers across disciplines and borders to propose a range of possible scenarios that would serve as an alternative to the existing Delhi Master Plan.

Comments by Jeffrey M. Chusid, associate professor, CRP; Aditya Ghosh, architect, arch i, and M.Arch. candidate, Cornell; and Neema Kudva, associate professor, CR

(Information provided by AAP Events)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Partnerships for Regional Equity: A Planners Network Forum

Image provided by Christopher Hayes

Registration is now open for Partnerships for Regional Equity: A Planners Network Forum! Planners, citizens, and scholars are invited to Cornell University in beautiful Ithaca, NY to share strategies to cooperate and achieve regional equity goals, even in the face of shrinking budgets and political opposition.  More information, including the most up-to-date program, can be found at:

Registration is free, but there is limited capacity, so reserve your spot now!  There is also an optional suggested donation to help defray costs, but please feel free to donate whatever you can. Click here to register.

Want to know more about Planners Network? Check out

Featured Activities:
  • Plenary Session: “Activist Planning: Making Local Movements National”
  • Food Systems: Presentations on Urban Agriculture, Equitable Access, and Regional Systems
  • Housing: Presentations on Community Land Trusts and Just Housing
  • Economic Dev: Presentations on Labor Coalitions, Manufacturing Retention, and Job Training
  • Sustainability: Presentations on Hydrofracking Response and Coalitions for Environment
  • Neighborhoods: Presentations on School-Community Partnerships, Gentrification, Preservation
  • Mobile Workshops and Charrettes on above topics with local organizations in the Ithaca area
  • Social Networking Events in the Community: Good food, discussion, and fun!
Proposals for presentations are still being accepted.  If you would like to speak about one of the above topics please contact Christopher Hayes.

The Planners Network Forum is sponsored by Organization of Cornell Planners, and co-sponsored by the Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell Preservation Studies Student Association, and Cornell Women's Planning Forum.  The event is funded in part by the Cornell GPSAFC, and is open to the public.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Design Tactics and the Informalized City

Friday, April 13-14, 2012, Abby and Howard Milstein Auditorium, Milstein Hall

Photo / SMAQ architecture urbanism research
Informality, which was first categorized and described in the 1970s, is now pervasive — across cities, in the places we live, work, and move through the everyday. For many, the informal is no longer a discrete sector appended to the workings of the "formal" city, but an integral effect of the structuring of cities and landscapes by contemporary economic, political, and technological change. Self-built architectures and urban agglomerations, ambivalent landscapes, nomadic and temporal spatial manifestations of informalization are situationally specific, but globally ubiquitous. Design Tactics and the Informalized City brings a discussion of this reality to disciplines that work on the city in material and spatial terms: architecture, urban design, landscape architecture, engineering, media and product design. Charged with shaping and managing living environments, usually on behalf of instituted powers, these disciplines confront significant questions in encountering the informalized city. Working practices and ways of representing urban phenomena, the appropriate medium and matter of design, even conceptions of agency, constituency and purpose, all come to the fore as matters for critical and creative inquiry. The conference brings together international practitioners from diverse design fields to explore these questions through discussions of recent, compelling work. Additional support provided by The Institute for Social Sciences and The Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.

More information at

Information provided by Cornell's College of Architecture, Art, and Planning.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Blogs . . . Camera . . . Action!

Advocacy through Interactive Media: Using Blogging and Web Video to Effect Change

Provided by Cornell AAP
Monday, April 9th, 4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., 213 Kennedy Hall, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Milstein Auditorium

Act 1: Blogging for Big Change with Ben Fried, editor-in-chief of…Anyone can start and run their own blog. But how do you build and retain a substantial audience? How do you get policy-makers and influencers to pay attention? How do you write a headline, make a post go viral and raise money to keep yourself going? Learn the tricks of the trade.

Act 2: Streetfilms University with Clarence Eckerson, producer of…Learn how to create powerful web videos for advocacy, education and policy changes. Capture the essence of your message in inexpensive and entertaining ways. See how humor, animation and man-on-the-street interviews can be used to tell your story.

Q&A following

Sponsored by Cornell's Department of City and Regional Planning and the Department of Communication.  Information provided by Cornell's College of Art, Architecture, and Planning.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Giving Life to a River: Sustainable from the Ground Up

Image provided by Cymone Bedford

Morgan Powell is a local historian and landscape designer from the Bronx. A few years ago he undertook a historical research project funded by Fordham University's African American Studies Program to uncover the many unsung heroes of ecological restoration and redevelopment along the Bronx River. Today, he is the Director of the Bronx River Sankofa, a local movement to put African Americans back into environmental history. Its work is to celebrate African American ecological and social history in communities and institutions based near the Bronx River by hosting landmark walking tours and events with green activists.

Last Saturday, Powell gave an hour's presentation on his findings working in the Bronx. He also opened the stage for Cornell graduate students and researchers to ask questions about how to best incorporate and collaborate with the environmental and community development efforts of people of color in poor urban communities. The event had an excellent turnout from the Department of City & Regional Planning, Art, and Architecture as well as from the Departments of Development Sociology and Natural Resources. Cymone Beford (MRP 12'), the organizer of the event, said it, “represented a step towards further collaboration between CRP graduates and URS undergraduates concerned about diversity. Planning Students for Diversity (PSD) and Minority Organization of Art, Architecture and Planning (MOAPP) helped put this together.” Others who assisted in organizing the event that should also be recognized included Brandon Taylor, Ujijji Davis, and Nicolas Savides.

(Information provided by Cymone Bedford)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Come Celebrate Milstein Hall!

Tomorrow, continue the Milstein Hall festivities starting with a breakfast with faculty at 8:00 a.m. quickly followed by a presentation about the making of Milstein Hall by Shohei Shigematsu, Robert Silman, and Peter Neissen.  In the afternoon enjoy a lecture by John Reps about urban design, a conversation with William Forsyth and Timothy Murray, and a performance entitled Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time.  Most of all, don't forget the party in the Milstein and Sibley domes from 7:00 p.m. until midnight!  Walk-in registration is available for alumni on Saturday, March 10, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. in the basement level of Milstein Hall.  For more information about the events visit the AAP website or contact Beth Kunz.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Call to Action

Image provided by Zeewan Lee
Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 6:40 p.m., Sibley Hall 101

What do you like about the CRP program? What do you wish it had provided? Call to Action is an annual event in which CRP students gather to examine these questions and look at potential solutions. In the past, topics that have been discussed include the curriculum, career preparation, student advising, and life at Cornell. Not only is Call to Action a great way to communicate your experiences in the program, but it also provides practice building your planning skills. At Call to Action, student concerns are gathered, sorted, and then formally presented to the faculty in a Town Hall format. If you have questions about the event please contact Zeewan Lee.  Pizza will be provided! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

SMART Trip: Zambia

Rebecca Gershon (MRP’12), Marion Smith (NS'13), Takako Hashida (CIPA'13), and Pratyush Ranjan Singh (IARD'12) also participated in the SMART program over the break. They worked with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Mongu, Zambia investigating ways to better address nutrition concerns within the organization’s already existing agricultural programs. Joining them to conduct field research were four Zambian students, each in a master’s program in nutrition or public health, and several staff members at CRS and Caritas Mongua, a non-profit working with the Diocese and CRS. Utilizing a nutrition framework developed by a professor at Cornell, the team of fifteen divided into four groups to conduct specialized research on health, nutrition, agriculture, and livelihoods. Each group conversed with approximately ten ‘key informants,’in the communities among which included ministers, local government officials, extension workers, non-profit sector leaders, and educators. In addition, each team conducted participatory exercises in three different rural villages around Mongu, to gain an understanding of the critical issues affecting nutrition from the residents.

The project relates to planning in the sense that they had to determine how best to address the needs of a community of people. Rebecca observed, “Not unlike rural poverty in the US, many of the villager’s challenges were related to a lack of reliable transportation, inaccessible services due to low income, poor rural infrastructure, and educational or language barriers.” Many of the villages and communities had become so accustomed to receiving sporadic assistance from NGO’s and NPO’s, that they have been conditioned into thinking they couldn’t solve their own problems. Rebecca attested that, “It’s a clear example of why planners need to start thinking more about food accessibility within their scope of work.”

Over the course of the spring semester the team will be compiling the information gathered and formulating recommendations for CRS. They hope that the insights gained from the interviews and focus groups will shed some light onto how nutrition status can be improved through efforts that CRS is already engaged in.

Giraffes in Chobe National Park. Image provided by Rebecca Gershon.

The team conducted a mapping exercise in a school in the village of Mweke.  Image provided by  Rebecca Gershon.

A group of mothers worked on a daily food chart in Imulunga.  Image provided by Rebecca Gershon.
(Information provided by Rebecca Gershon)

MRPers in Latin America, Part II

The Student Multidisciplinary Applied Research Team (SMART) Program, sponsored by the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture, and Development (CIIFAD), connects teams of students and faculty from a variety of disciplines with firms, organizations, or community groups located in developing countries to work on sustainable global development projects. During the winter break, teams complete two to eight week assignments in a developing country. The program challenges students to apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to help ameliorate problems related to global food security, sustainable rural development and environmental conservation.

In January, Kristofer Goddard (MRP’12), Maren Hill (MRP ’13), Ben Koffel (MRP ’12), and Stefanie Levner (MBA ’12) traveled to Honduras to participate in this program. Their client was AguaClara, a Cornell engineering organization that designs gravity-fed water treatment plants, built with locally available materials, and operated by technicians with less than a high school education. The primary task of the group was to document the success of the projects and develop a public relations plan and associated collateral that AguaClara could use to communicate with potential partners and donors. Throughout the two weeks the students were in Honduras they visited several communities with operating plants and met with local water board officials to learn more about the governance models that have made the plants successful. “The trip was a fantastic experience to collaborate so closely with engineers and to understand both the technology and the governance structures that enable successful municipal service delivery in emerging markets,” said Ben Koffel. Professor Mildred Warner also joined the students for a few days to investigate the governance models that go alongside the technology. Students also recorded and conducted approximately forty interviews with users about the impact that clean water has on their health. This information will be used to help AguaClara communicate its successes.

Professor Mildred Warner and SMART team members Ben Koffel, Maren Hill, Kris Goddard, and Stefanie Levner spent time interviewing community members to generate public relations collateral that the organization could use to better communicate their message.  Image provided by Ben Koffel. 
 The team  visited a water treatment plant designed by the AguaClara team at Cornell in the town of Alauca, Honduras.  There, students learned about how the community is involved in operating the plants and managing their service delivery.  Image provided by Ben Koffel.

(Information provided by Ben Koffel)

DesignConnect Spring Projects

This semester, DesignConnect, Cornell’s student-run community planning and design organization, not only has new officers but also has six new projects in the pipes.  Students have the choice of working on a revitalization strategy for downtown Elmira, assisting the Village of Spencer with a comprehensive plan, drafting recommendations on the revitalization of the Dewitt Mall, generating design suggestions for a local recreation way, engaging community members in a dialogue about pedestrian and bike access-ways along Six-Mile Creek, or providing input on the development of a grocery store in Collegetown.  Whether you are interested in economic redevelopment, transportation, historic preservation, open space, or issues of equity there is a project for you.   What often draws students to the organization are the opportunities to apply classroom principles, develop planning skills, and take a leadership role on campus.  "DesignConnect gave me the opportunity to work with a real client, it was really challenging but I learned what it takes to produce meaningful work a community, and it was amazing to see our plans and design actually used!” said a prior DesignConnect participant. Although most participants hail from the city and regional planning, landscape architecture, or architecture programs, students from all majors are welcome to participate. For full descriptions of the current projects visit the DesignConnect website.  Questions about DesignConnect can be sent to

CRP Skills Development Workshops

This semester, CRP is offering a series of free Skills Development Workshops organized and led by students for students.  Many of these sessions are being peer-led. While students will not receive credit for attending these workshops, participants will get the opportunity to learn or hone important skills that will assist them in their graduate studies and beyond.  These sessions are intended to be both useful AND enjoyable! Refreshments will also be served at all workshops, with the exception of those taking place in the computer lab.

Friday 17th February
Introduction to Adobe PhotoShop and InDesign Workshop
4pm - 6pm, Sibley Rm 305 (Third Floor Lab)
Grace Zheng, Cristen Chinea

Friday 24th February
Introduction to AutoCAD and Sketchup
4pm - 6pm, Sibley Rm 305 (Third Floor Lab)
Tomas Moller-Holtkamp, Vidhee Garg

Friday 9th March
Tricks to Research: Learning RefWorks
3pm - 4pm, Sibley Rm 305
Jim Knower (Mann Library)

Tuesday 13th March
Basics of Real Estate Finance: De-Mystifying the Pro-Forma.
4.30pm - 6pm, Sibley Rm 115
Robert Lewis

Tuesday 27th March
Participatory Tools for International Development
4.30pm - 6.30pm, Sibley Rm 115
Eva Birk, Marshall McCormick

Friday 6th April
Introduction to Historical Preservation
3pm – 5pm, Sibley Rm 115
(Presenters TBC)

** Other tentative sessions that are currently waiting for confirmation on scheduling are 'Dynamic Presentations' (Presented by Tony Liao and Christopher Langone, Dept of Communication) and 'Media, Press, and Lobbying' (tentative title).

(Information provided by Lindsay Carter)

Seminar on International Planning

Image provided by Maren Hill
The Seminar on International Planning is a weekly speaker series led and coordinated by Professor Neema Kudva that addresses a variety of development, urbanization, and planning related issues across the world. This semester, topics range from citizen engagement to disaster resilience and rights and property development to sustainable development. The seminar is held every Friday from 12:20 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Abby and Howard Milstein Auditorium in Milstein Hall. Students may enroll in the seminar for one credit. More information including talk abstracts and short bios can be found by following the links below or by visiting the Cornell City and Regional Planning Department website


Jan 27:
Introduction - Neema Kudva

Feb 3:
John Gaventa, Director, Coady International Institute, VP of International Development, St. Francis Xavier University
Seeing Like a Citizen: Strategies for Citizen Engagement in the Global South

Feb 10:
Elliot Bronstein and Jacque Larrainzar, City of Seattle
The Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative: What happens when a city government decides to end racism?

Feb 17:
Victoria Beard, Associate Professor of Planning, Policy and Design at the University of California at Irvine
Community-Based Planning and Urban Poverty in Southeast Asia

Feb 21: 
Faranak Miraftab, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Transnational Developments: Rethinking Local and Global in CommunityDevelopment Processes

Feb 24: 
Mi Shih, China Research Centre at the University of Technology, Sydney
Rights, Property Development, and Urban Planning in Transitional China

March 2:
Pamela Jerome, Wank Adams Slavin Associates and Columbia University
The Challenges of being a Female Preservation Architect working in the Middle East

March 9: 
Marie Cieri, Co-Director, Artists-in-Context, Cambridge, MA;
Critic in Graduate Studies, Rhode Island School of Design Adventures in Alternative Mapping

March 16/23: 
No talk (spring break)

March 30: 
Andrew Rumbach, University of Hawaii at Manoa
The Family, the Fale, and the Village: Planning for Disaster Resilience in American Samoa

April 6: 
The Sustainable Rural Cities Project in Chiapas, Workshop Project, CRP-Fall 2011
A Rights-based Analysis of the Sustainable Rural Cities Program in Chiapas, Mexico

April 13: 
Design Tactics and Informality Conference, AAP —
Rahul Mehrotra, Neil Gershenfeldt, Alfredo Brillembourg, Priti Parikh

April 20:
Paul Smoke, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University
The Emergence of Recentralization in Developing Countries: Forms, Motivations and Consequences

April 27:

May 4:

Transportation Research Board Conference

Image source:
Recently, Ben Cummins (MRP '13), Viktor Zhong (MRP '12), Katie Filardo (MRP '13), and Professor Mike Manville attended the Annual Transportation Research Board Conference in Washington, D.C. The conference, which represents the 91st meeting of the transportation industry, brought together policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions to discuss all modes of transportation whether it be highway, rail, freight, water, or air. The conference included five days of workshops, conference sessions, and poster sessions ranging in topic from everything between pavement mixtures and carsharing. Participants were able to use an online interactive program to develop an itinerary tailored to their interests.

Students enjoyed the opportunity to interact with leading professionals in the field throughout the event. “I would strongly recommend this conference for anyone interested in transportation - any aspect of it really, whether it is domestically or internationally,” said Viktor Zhong. “Basically, you can meet the people at the forefront of transportation development, research, advocacy, etc.” Even Ray LaHood, the United States Secretary of Transportation was in attendance. Students also noted that the conference was a great networking opportunity to find internships and jobs.   

(Information provided by Viktor Zhong)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

MRPers in Latin America, Part 1

Over winter break, 1st year MRP students, Maren Hill and Marshall McCormick, continued their research on community health and the Sustainable Rural Cities (SRC) model on local agricultural livelihoods, respectively, in Chiapas, Mexico. Their trip was funded through Tinker Travel grants from the Latin American Studies Department. Maren and Marshall began their research in the International Studies in Planning workshop taught in the fall semester by Marcela González Rivas. Their class's research will be presented throughout the course of the semester in the Seminar in International Planning and LATA/IARD 4010.

First SRC in Nuevo Juan de Grijalva, Chiapas, Mexico
Photo credit: Marshall McCormick

Additionally, Marshall was selected to participate in a CIIFAD SMART trip in the Dominican Republic. He and a group of four other SMART fellows conducted a feasibility study of farmers cooperatives in the San Juan region of the Dominican Republic. Their aim was to help farmers reduce costs or increase productivity. The group encouraged the famers to create a cooperative which would help reduce interest rates, access funds from real banks, and begin to offer loans against group assets such as building, tractors, etc and buy items in larger amounts at a cheaper cost. The SMART fellows also advised on constructing a storage facilities to hold goods for several months when prices are higher.

Marshall with farmers in the DR Photo credit: Marshall McCormick

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sustainable Neighborhoods Nicuragua

1st year MRP student Nora Wright has secured the support of Cornell University Sustainable Design to partner with SosteNica, the Sustainable Development Fund of Nicaragua, to create a new business model for affordable housing and to create the first 30-house house cooperative in Nicaragua to integrate ecological technologies.

This collaborative effort seeks to design innovative affordable housing and neighborhood planning in conjunction with the self-build and cooperative loan fund model. Through this project, CUSD hopes to lead in the field of sustainable design for low-cost ecological housing. The development, when completed, will be the first micro loan fund program to combine sustainable technologies with affordable housing in Nicaragua. Following the research and design phases, CUSD will participate in the construction of the community building and one of the 30 homes with the community in Nicaragua.

Nora is in the process of recruiting a research team for the first segment of the project which will span the course of the spring semester. Those interested should attend one information session (You can't sign up for an interview without attending!)

Information sessions will be given on:

January 25 at 5pm, Kimball B 11

January 30 at 5:00 Mann Lobby 102

January 31 at 5:00 Sibley 157

This is a great opportunity to gain international experience, work on the design of a neighborhood, and work in a collaborative team.

Nora holding Sustainable Neighborhoods Nicaragua brochure
Photo credit: Inna Kitaychik

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tu Ciudad Project

Last semester, 1st MRP student Luis Martinez created the Latino Design and Research Lab (LDR Lab) at Cornell. The group has spent the semester designing a public project which will draw upon the urban experiences of Latinos in the United States. The project will culminate in a publication of photographs, stories, and research which will give insight to life in the United States as lived by Latinos in urban communities.

Luis has created a website housing the project:

Submissions are encouraged from Latino Americans all over the country so please feel free to spread this website through your networks.

Tu Ciudad Website Cover
Image credit: Luis Martinez

Friday, January 20, 2012

ULI Competition

The ULI/Gerald D. Hines Urban Design Competition started runs from Tuesday, 1/17 through 1/31.

This year's competition focuses on a site in Houston, Texas which previously housed United States Postal Service facilities. Competing teams are asked to create a redevelopment strategy which introduces new residential development to the area while catalyzing the formation of a new district in downtown Houston.

One team working on the competition is comprised of Andrea Menotti (MBA), Melissa Poulin (MLA), Catherine Xiao Yu Bai (MLA), Hanzi Yang (MLA) and Jacob McNally (MRP).

Jacob's take on the competition:

"The competition is a great exercise in collaboration, imagination, and dedication. Our team has been working day and night to come up with a master plan that will bring people back into downtown Houston and capitalize on a site that has long been underutilized."

Jacob's team working on the ULI Competition in Sibley
Photo Credit: Inna Kitaychik

Other teams working on the competition include:

Kendra Fitzrandolph (MLA), Michael Voelkel (MLA), Hamidreza Pezeshkian (MPS/RE), Zeewan Lee (MRP) and Vidhee Garg (MRP).

Michael, Kendra, Hamidreza, Zeewan and Vidhee working on the ULI competition in Kennedy
Photo Credit: Inna Kitaychik

Logan Axelson (MRP), Rebecca Parelman (MRP), Ryan Wright (MLA), Jesse Nicholson (MLA), Jessica Coulson (MPS/RE) are also working on the competition as a team.

Ryan, Rebecca, Logan, Jessica and Jesse working on the ULI competition at Kennedy
Photo credit: Inna Kitaychik

Good luck, teams!

SMART Trips: Kenya

This winter, CRP PhD candidate George Homsy was selected to travel to Kenya to help a non-profit teach sustainable development ideas through the CIFAD SMART Program.

To do this George worked with producers of an "edu-tainment" program that embeds sustainable development messages in a soap opera called Makutano Junction. The producers, a non-profit in UK, enlisted the help of SMART fellows to help with script ideas for a new show. As part of this project George spent five days in rural villages talking to farmers about what themes would work for the show and learning about their farming practices. George focused on asking questions about popular conceptions of climate change within the culture. George noted: "We wanted to gauge the extent of climate knowledge - causes, results, remedies. We also wanted to see if there was conflict with traditional or cultural practices."

SMART fellow Hajra Hafeez-ur-Rehman (CIPA), farmer, and George holding melons

Photo credit: George Homsy

Group Photo with SMART fellows and farmers

Photo credit: George Homsy

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Environmental Policy Course in DC

This winter Eva Birk, Jennifer Pierce (1st year CRP masters students) and Alyson Fletcher (2nd year CRP Masters student) were selected to take the Environmental Policy Processes course in Washington D.C.

The course involved interviewing members of the federal government and associated political organizations on a specific issue.

Eva Birk explored the partnership between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department called the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. Eva explored why the Partnership's budget had been cut this year. She found that concepts like "livability" do not attract congressional support. Instead, programs need to be advocated for with the use of arguments based on economics.

Jennifer Pierce worked on Roadless Areas, a categorization of federal lands which is slightly less strict than wilderness (the most strict land use category). Jennifer found that environmental policies enacted on a nation-wide level are difficult to implement on a local level due to regional variations. Jennifer found that some solutions to this problem include:

(1) mandating minimums rather than ideals

(2) allowing for flexibility of solutions, or

(3) allowing exceptions for particular states.

Alyson Fletcher worked on policies on sustainability in urban revitalization. She specifically examined polices and programs as they pertain to brownfields, urban waters, and vacant lots/abandoned properties. She discovered that there were differing perspectives on the roles and degrees of involvement the federal government should play in urban policy. She was encouraged by a new partnership modeled off of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities that creates an inter-agency collaboration on solving urban water issues.

The ladies mentioned the following as being highlights of trip:

1. A class meeting with Deputy Secretary of the EPA, Bob Perciasepe
2. One-on-one meeting with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, Beth Osborne
3. Meeting Cornell Alums (like Peter Rizzo).
4. Being able to speak in depth with important people about how policy is actually made-- I feel like because we are students people really opened up and gave us the real "dirt".

The course is highly recommended to anyone interested in environmental affairs in the United States- it teaches how Washington D.C. really works. The course is informative in both helping students understand how agencies shape particular subjects and in understanding how federal decisions play out in the local contexts in which planners will likely be working.

Eva Birk, Alyson Fletcher and Jennifer Pierce in front of the National Archives Gallery
Photo credit: Alyson Fletcher

Monday, January 9, 2012

Transportation Camp & Livable Communities Code-A-Thon

This winter break CRP students are partaking in a wide variety of planning related activies outside the scope of the University.

Boris Suchkov, a second year Masters student, is participating in the third TransportationCamp - a transportation planning conference in D.C. on January 21. This meeting is called an"unconference" because all of its participants have the opportunity to organize a session and there is a high level of informal interactivity. The most common topics of discussion include best practices and technical challenges of open data, means of decreasing tech costs for transportation agencies, and creative new solutions to transportation issues.

Transportation Camp Logo

The Livable Communities Code-a-thon is a competition, funded by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, to create software to solve planning problems (two are stated in the problem description, but others can be specified as well) that uses government data sets and promotes sustainability and livability principles. Boris made a small contribution to planning this when he was an intern at DOT over the summer which involved going to meetings and partaking in a presentation that introduced the idea of the competition to some DOT senior staff).

Partnership for Sustainable Communities

Boris is organizing a Cornell team together for the event which will work from campus. If you are interested please contact him by January 14 at

Friday, January 6, 2012

Design for the Other 90%

Cornell CRP Students who are staying in New York City over winter break have been giving great reviews for the exhibit put on by the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt and the National Design Museum at the United Nations:

"Design with the Other 90%: CITIES features sixty projects, proposals, and solutions that address the complex issues arising from the unprecedented rise of informal settlements in emerging and developing economies. Divided into six themes—Exchange, Reveal, Adapt, Include, Prosper and Access—to help orient the visitor, the exhibition shines the spotlight on communities, designers, architects, and private, civic, and public organizations that are working together to formulate innovative approaches to urban planning, affordable housing, entrepreneurship, nonformal education, public health, and more. The United Nations offers an ideal setting to examine these complex issues and connect with stakeholders who can impart real change ("

Favela Painting

The exhibit offers innovative ideas to pressing issues surrounding urbanization on a global level. Great food for thought for Cornell CRP students.