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ICFRC: Why is Iowa So White?

Listen to an audio podcast of this program.

Chuck Connerly joined the University of Iowa School of Urban and Regional Planning (recently renamed the School of Planning and Public Affairs) in 2008 as professor and director. His research has been published in top journals urban planning. He wrote the Most Segregated City in America: City Planning and Civil Rights in Birmingham, 1920-1980 (University of Virginia Press, 2005) and co-edited Growth Management in Florida: Planning for Paradise, published by Ashgate Publishing in 2007.

The Most Segregated City was named one of the top 10 planning books in 2006 by Planetizen. In 2007 the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning named the book a recipient of the Paul Davidoff Award, which recognizes an outstanding book publication promoting participatory planning and positive social change, opposing poverty and racism as factors in society and seeking ways to reduce disparities between rich and poor; white and black; men and women. For five years he co-edited the Journal of Planning Education and Research and for nine years he co-edited Housing Studies.

In 2011-2013, Chuck served as President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, the national learned society of planning schools, faculty, and students in the US. His most recent book, Green, Fair, and Prosperous: Paths to a Sustainable Iowa (University of Iowa Press, 2020, September 1) is an assessment (part history, part contemporary analysis) of Iowa's sustainability challenges and responses. It builds on Connerly's work with the community engagement initiative of which he is the principal founder, the UI Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (http://iisc.uiowa.edu/). In 2015, he received the Michael J. Brody award for faculty service presented by the University of Iowa Faculty Senate and the UI Provost's Office. In 2018, he was presented with the Jay Chatterjee Award for Service by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.

Within the context of the murder of George Floyd and the world-wide recognition of racism as an indelible factor in American and world history, we are reminded of the connection between one street corner in Minneapolis and the globe. The same can be said of Iowa, only four hours drive south of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue. Like Minnesota, Iowa is a predominantly white state--sixth whitest in the nation, in fact. And like Minnesota, Iowa has its issues of racism. This presentation answers the question, "Why is Iowa So White?", not only in terms of its demographic makeup, but also with regard to a statewide orientation that makes it difficult for people who are BIPOC (Black, Indigeneous, Persons of Color) to live here comfortably. The presentation points to key areas in which improvements need to be made if we are to move beyond being a state in which individuals who are not white are treated as second class citizens.

For more information on the Foreign Relations Council visit their website at www.icfrc.org.

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