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Hazard-planning expert to speak about community resiliency Oct. 22 at Iowa State

October 15, 2015


James Schwab

AMES, Iowa — When disaster strikes, do communities have to just deal with the consequences? Or can they be more prepared and proactive? Urban planner James Schwab, manager of the American Planning Association (APA) Hazards Planning Research Center in Chicago, will speak about community resiliency in the face of natural hazards and climate change effects in a lecture at Iowa State University.

Schwab will present "Holistic Approaches to a Resilient Future" at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, in Kocimski Auditorium, room 101 College of Design. Part of the 2015-2016 Contemporary Issues in Planning and Design Lecture Series, cosponsored by the Department of Community and Regional Planning and the College of Design, his talk is free and open to the public.

"Fostering resilient communities must be an essential goal of 21st-century planning," Schwab said. "What features, actions and strategies define resilience for a community? How do different cities react to natural hazards and their future risks? Are they working toward advancing resilience? What stands in their way?"

Schwab serves as co-editor of the monthly Zoning Practice magazine and has authored or edited several publications on hazard mitigation and post-disaster recovery. His most recent report, Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation (APA, December 2014), explores new territory in the theory and practice of planning for recovery after natural disasters. He was the principal author of Hazard Mitigation: Integrating Best Practices into Planning (APA, May 2010), the result of a 30-month APA contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He also edited Drought and Planning (APA, January 2014), which was supported by the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Schwab has expanded the role of the APA Hazards Planning Research Center to include work on wildfires, landslides and other hazards. He has conducted overseas outreach work in the Caribbean, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and New Zealand, as well as the U.S. Gulf Coast after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike. He speaks regularly throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Schwab holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Cleveland State University, and Master of Arts degrees in both journalism and urrban and regional planning from the University of Iowa. In recent years, he has been an adjunct faculty member at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Iowa, teaching graduate-level urban planning classes on planning for disasters.

Ted Grevstad-Nordbrock, Community and Regional Planning / Design Lectures and Exhibitions Committee, (515) 294-2528,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,