Francis Owusu

Francis Owusu PhD

Chair, Community and Regional Planning
Professor, Community and Regional Planning
Community & Regional Planning

Signature Research Areas


(515) 294-7769

Campus Office: 146 Design

Mailing Address
Community and Regional Planning Department
158 College of Design
Ames, IA, 50011


BA, Geography with Archaeology, University of Ghana --1987

MA, Population Studies, United Nations Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana --1990

MA, Geography, Carleton University, Canada --1992

PhD, Geography, University of Minnesota --2000


Research Interests

Dr. Owusu's research focuses on globalization and development policy, institutional capacity building, natural resources management, and urban and economic development issues. He has researched these topics in several African countries and has been involved in several development projects, including working with civil society, policymakers, and international development agencies. He has received several research awards, including the 2015 Kwadwo Konadu-Agyemang Distinguished Scholar Award in African Geography awarded by the Africa Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers; the 2013 College of Design Faculty Research Award; and the 2001 Best Economic Geography Dissertation Award.

Current Projects

Incentivizing Sustainability: Economic Reforms for Sustainable Agriculture in Sub-Saharan African Countries 

A Research Agenda for Urban Livelihoods (co-edited manuscript)

Climate Change Governance in Rural and Urban Africa: Issues, Lessons, and Policy Directions (co-edited manuscript)


Dr. Owusu teaches graduate and undergraduate classes on international development, cities and globalization, and planning methods. He has advised many master's and Ph.D. students working on various thesis topics. He has won several teaching awards, including the College of Design's 2006 Polster Teaching Award and a 2007 Memorable Teacher Award from the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching.

Current Courses

CRP 2910 – World Cities and Globalization

CRP 3310: Professional Practice Seminar

CRP 4290/5290: Planning in Developing Countries


Refereed Journal Articles

  • Ikendi, S., Owusu, F., Masinde, D., Oberhauser, A., & Bain, C. (2023). Does participation in livelihood education programs impact household food security? A comparative study in rural Uganda. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. Advanced online publication.
  • Ikendi, S., Owusu, F., Masinde, D., Oberhauser, A., & Bain, C. (2023). Nutrition education centers: A community-based approach to management of malnutrition. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. Advanced online publication.
  • Fan, Y., Hoey, L., Das, A., Irazábal, C., Stiftel, B., Shatkin, G., Owusu, F., Doan, P., Fang, Y., & Rumbach, A. (2022). Improving Global Planning Education by Centering the Experience of International Students in U.S. and Canadian Planning Schools. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 42(3), 260–267.
  • Owusu, F., and Otiso, K. M., (2021) “Twenty Years of the U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA): Policy Lessons from Kenya’s Experience” Kenya Studies Review Vol 9, No 1, Summer.
  • Owusu, F., Reboredo, R., and Carmody, P., (2019) “Trumping Development: Selective Delinking and Coercive Governmentality in US-Africa Relations” Africa Today Vol 66, No.1 pp3-26.
  • Nixon, R., and Owusu, F., (2017) “Choice, Inclusion, and Access to Information: Understanding Female Farmers’ Participation in Kyrgyzstan’s Water-User Associations” Sustainability, 9, 2346.
  • Owusu, F., Kalipeni, E., Nicholas Awortwi & Joy Mueni Maina Kiiru (2017) “Building research capacity for African institutions: confronting the research leadership gap and lessons from African research leaders,” International Journal of Leadership in Education: Theory and Practice, 20:2
  • Carmody, P., and Owusu, F., (2016) “Neoliberalism, Urbanization and Change in Africa: The Political Economy of Heterotopias” Journal of African Development 18:18:61–73.
  • Lauer, S., and Owusu, F., (2016) “Learning and power in international development partnerships: a case study of Iowan farmers in Uganda,” Community Development Journal 51:3, 1 July, 382–400
  • Lauer, S., and Owusu, F., (2015) “Managing Dynamics of Power and Learning in Community Development: A Case Study of Iowan Farmers in Uganda” Journal of Extension June, Vol 53, No. 3
  • Aryeetey, R., Oltmans, S. and Owusu, F., (2016) “Food Retail Assessment and Family Food Purchase Behavior in Ashongman Estates, Ghana” African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol 16, No 4, pp11386-11403


Book Chapters

  • Basmajian, C., and Owusu, F. (2023) “Increasing Planning Education Awareness and Addressing Enrollment Challenge in Urban Planning Schools: The Iowa State University Experience” in Routledge Companion to Professional Awareness and Diversity in Planning Education (1st ed.). Stephen Kofi Diko, Leah Marie Hollstein, Danilo Palazzo (eds.) Routledge.
  • Owusu, F., (2023) “Africa is Rising on a Weak Foundation” in Under the Palaver Tree: Debating Enduring and Contemporary African Issues William G. Moseley and Kefa Otiso (eds) Routledge.
  • Myers, G. and Owusu, F. (2022) “Colonized Peoples: The struggle to reframe (neo) colonial planning in Anglophone Sub-Saharan Africa” Alternative Planning History and Theory, Dorina Pojani (ed). Routledge: London
  • Owusu, F., (2020) “Livelihoods”. In: Kobayashi, A. (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 2nd edition. vol. 8, Elsevier, pp. 193–198.
  • Myers, G.,  Owusu, F. and Gray, A. (2020) “Cities of Sub-Sahara Africa” in Brunn, S. D., Hay-Mitchell, M., Zeigler, D.J., and Graybill, J.K. Eds. Cities of the World: Regional Patterns and Urban Environments, (7th Ed) Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.
  • Murphy, T. J., Carmody, P., and Grant, R., and Owusu, F., (2019) “The Impact of China on African Cities: Potentials for Development” in Kris Bezdecny and Kevin Archer (eds) Handbook of Emerging 21st-Century Cities, Edward Elgar Publishing
  • Carmody, P., and Owusu, F., (2017) “Neoliberalism, Urbanization and Change in Africa,” in Poku, Nana, and Jim Whitman (eds) Africa Under Neoliberalism, Routledge
  • Hanson, K. T., Puplampu, K. P. and Owusu, F. (2015) “Infrastructure Development as a Catalyst for Regionalism & Economic Integration in Africa” in K.T. Hanson (ed.) Contemporary Regional Development in Africa. Farnham: Ashgate.

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