CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
UI course takes students to Europe to learn about sustainable urban
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Seven University of Iowa students and their professor
will spend the three-week UI summer term touring four European cities to
study aspects of urban planning.
Jim Throgmorton, associate professor of urban and regional planning,
is teaching the class, which he calls the "sustainable cities tour."
The object is for the four undergraduate and three graduate students in
the class to see firsthand the ways in which cities outside the United
States give practical meaning to the concept of "sustainability."
Sustainability is a term used in urban planning that means meeting a
city's present needs without compromising the ability of future generations
to meet their own needs, Throgmorton said. Before leaving for Europe, the
students will spend two days studying sustainability as it is understood
in Iowa City.
"The object of this course is to do comparative work to allow students
to learn 'sustainability' means, practically, in each of five cities,"
The European cities on the tour are: Leicester, England; Aalborg, Denmark;
Freiburg, Germany; and La Rochelle, France. After the first two days of
study in Iowa City, the students will spend about three days in each of
the four European cities. In Europe, they will travel between cities by
Throgmorton said he chose the four European cities for several reasons,
including their size, access to local universities, and their efforts in
regard to sustainability. All four cities have a population between 75,000-300,000
and are university towns, Throgmorton said, which allows for a reasonable
comparison with Iowa City.
In addition, each city has taken a different approach to sustainability,
he said. For example, Leicester has just been named the first "Environment
City" in England, a designation it earned for its efforts to develop
as an urban region while maintaining a sound environment. And Freiburg
is widely-recognized for its successful efforts to reduce the number of
people who travel exclusively by car.
"The students will be studying the particular qualities these urban
areas are trying to sustain and determining how local contexts shape each
community's efforts," Throgmorton said. Then the students will address
the question of what aspects of the European models could be applied to
urban planning in Iowa City or, on a larger scale in the Midwest or throughout
The three-week course runs from May 18-June 8. The group leaves for
Europe Wednesday, May 20. For more information, contact Throgmorton at