Six students in the MCRP Program and three Community and Regional Planning faculty members attended the 2020 Nebraska Planning Conference in Kearney, Nebraska, last week. Also attending the conference on the opening day was Dean Katherine Ankerson, who co-hosted—with the Emerging Planners Group of the Nebraska Chapter of the American Planning Association—a social gathering that attracted the UNL student conference attendees, as well as several Nebraska practicing planners—many of them UNL MCRP alumni. The gathering was an excellent networking opportunity for the planning students, recent MCRP graduates and other planning practitioners from across Nebraska.
The three-day conference was attended by over 325 professional planners, members of municipal and county planning commissions in Nebraska and others involved with local community planning and zoning administration across the state.
Conference sessions on specific planning topics were presented by CRP faculty. “Planning for Resilience” was the title of a presentation by Professor Zhenghong Tang; MCRP alumna Belinda Fowler-Hagen, environmental assistance coordinator at the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy; and MCRP alumnus Jeff Henson, business development director with JEO Consulting Group. The presentation focused on lessons learned, tools developed and actions taken in the aftermath of the devastating mid-March 2019 floods in Nebraska.
CRP Associate Professor Yunwoo Nam, UNL Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Jongwan Eun and UNL master’s degree planning student Sunah Moon, addressed a controversial planning issue in their presentation, “Planning for Sustainable Solid Waste Management”—the siting and management of solid waste facilities. This research team reported on key aspects of their ongoing work on this important planning issue.
In a separate MCRP student session organized by Professor Gordon Scholz, Jason Cyboron and Anthony Kohel reported on a fall semester 2019 planning project titled “Winslow 2020: Planning for Resiliency” with the small Village of Winslow, Nebraska, which was entirely inundated with flood waters from the Elkhorn River in the mid-March 2019 catastrophic flood. The project was pursued jointly by students in two courses, “Planning Studio” and “Hazard Mitigation Planning”.
Also presenting in the student session was Mariah Tobin, who is pursuing both the MCRP degree and the Master of Architecture degree concurrently in the College of Architecture. Tobin’s topic “Relocation of the 20 to 40 Age Cohort into Rural Nebraska Communities” is the focus of her master’s thesis in both degree programs.