Our international students are primarily from China, India, Nepal, Ghana, and also from Vietnam, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Sudan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. We often have one or two Fulbright students each year representing countries such as Ukraine, Mongolia, Russia, Albania, Indonesia, Haiti, Philippines and Zambia. Students from outside of the U.S. bring different ideas and perspectives to class discussions and projects giving our courses a more world view of planning. We additionally have a reciprocal agreement with Dortmund University in Germany and have their students spend a semester in our school as well.
The School of Urban and Regional Planning incorporates an international perspective into coursework and travel abroad. The planning curriculum trains students to understand urban problems anywhere in the world and formulate solutions for them.
One effective way to develop a quick understanding of global urban problems is to take a study abroad course focused on urban planning. Students in such courses get to experience first-hand urban problems quite different from those that are commonly found in the U.S. They also get to see innovative solutions to those problems that reveal new ways to tackle problems back home in the U.S.
The University of Iowa typically offers a 3-week international course during the Winter semester to study housing and sustainable development in India. The title of this course is Sustainable Development: The Kerala Experience. The course dates vary, typically beginning at the end of December and students return to the U.S. a day before spring semester courses begin (mid-January).
India is undergoing rapid urbanization. In 2011, about 25% of India’s 1.2 billion population lived in urban areas; by 2050, this proportion is expected to double. Over the next 35 years or so, India will add about 300 million residents to its cities. This pace of urbanization comes with financial, administrative, and political challenges that would be daunting in a cash rich country. In a relatively poor country like India, the problems seem insurmountable at times. Yet, using remarkable ingenuity and common-sense, communities and cities have formulated innovative planning solutions to make urban development a bit more sustainable than it would otherwise be. While in India, students will get a very good understanding of India’s urban problems, meet with urban innovators who have created effective sustainable development techniques and visit with people whose lives, neighborhoods and cities are much improved from these innovations. A short video from a recent trip is available here.
This course is structured as a three semester hour graduate-level elective course that counts towards the housing and community development; economic development; and land use and environmental planning concentrations of the master’s degree. Students from other U.S. and Canadian universities also enroll in this course. A few very motivated upper-level undergraduate students may be selected to participate each year and will be exempt from completing a research paper that is required of all graduate students.
This course is taught by URP faculty member, Jerry Anthony, who was born in India and has extensive knowledge about planning issues there.
For University of Iowa students, there are several funding opportunities for those going on this trip. Once accepted into the course, students will be given information on places to apply for financial assistance for the course.
The deadline for applications to participate in the course is in mid-September.
Many URP core and elective courses include international planning components.
Six of the faculty in Urban and Regional Planning have an international dimension to their teaching and research.