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UTSA researchers, students help Texas cities, counties plan for their future

UTSA researchers, students help Texas cities, counties plan for their future

UTSA Center for Urban and Regional Planning conducts research, feasibility studies that help cities, counties across state

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(May 4, 2016) -- Lining the walls of a small suite in the Monterey Building at the UTSA Downtown Campus are large cabinets storing hundreds of files dating back to 1979. Each file includes a research study that the UTSA Center for Urban and Regional Planning Research (CURPR) conducted to help an American city or county plan for its future.

CURPR is housed in the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning and associated with the college's graduate program in urban and regional planning. Through CURPR, UTSA faculty members and graduate students help conduct research for cities across south and west Texas and along the U.S. - Mexico Border. The center also regularly partners to assist planning professionals.

Richard Tangum, coordinator of the graduate program, leads CURPR. As a researcher, Tangum has been personally involved in hundreds of urban and regional planning projects.

“The UTSA Center for Urban and Regional Planning Research assists to help clients unlock their city's potential,” Tangum said. “We exist to leverage the diverse expertise of the program’s faculty and students and to conduct research that helps cities and counties plan for sustainable growth and management."

Since CURPR’s creation more than 20 years ago, Tangum and other UTSA researchers have helped cities explore the feasibility of hotels and convention centers, new city squares, parks and historic districts. Each completed project includes comprehensive studies detailing cultural, historic and economic values. Those proposals are provided to city leaders and other professionals to aid strategic planning.

Cities such as Alamo, Eagle Pass and San Antonio have benefitted from the UTSA center’s services and assistance. CURPR has also helped the State of Texas create comprehensive visions for the development of Dimmit, Zavala and Zapata counties, as well as the border region between Laredo and Brownsville.

While UTSA receives many requests for assistance, Tangum says CURPR only takes on a select number of clients per year. The selectivity allows researchers to fully focus on their projects, conducting extensive field studies, research economic feasibility and in-depth proposals.

“We help our clients and professional partners develop strategies to plan for new avenues of growth,” Tangum said. “In order to do that, we have to limit ourselves to places that we can reasonably visit in the course of an academic year.”

Currently, the center is developing an animated visual model of Alamo Plaza that shows the transformation of the Plaza from its beginning to today. Also underway are planning studies for many other Texas cities including Alpine, Garden Ridge, Castroville, Devine and Kingsville.

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Learn more about the Center for Urban and Regional Planning, housed in the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning.

Learn more about the UTSA graduate program in urban and regional planning.

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