OCTOBER 14, 2020 — UTSA’s Center for Urban and Regional Planning Research has been recognized for helping a small Texas community make big plans for its future. The Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association last week presented the plan—titled “Comfort Vision 2050”—with the Grassroots Initiative Award, one of just 15 Planning Achievement Awards for the year 2020.
Led by Ian Caine, an associate professor of architecture and the director of the center, the UTSA team of faculty and students worked with local organizers to develop the grassroots plan. The center is housed within UTSA’s College of Architecture, Construction and Planning.
The Grassroots Initiative Award specifically honors an effort “that illustrates how a neighborhood, community group or other local nongovernmental entity utilized the planning process to address a specific need or issue within the community.”
“Comfort Vision 2050” was supported by the Comfort Area Foundation and National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders, leveraging a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Comfort Vision 2050” offers the Hill Country community of Comfort a bottom-up, grassroots approach to urban planning that acknowledges the residents’ recent decision to resist incorporation. In 2015 a majority of Comfort residents (71%) voted against a proposition to incorporate their community, affirming a deeply held set of shared values that would come to provide a foundation for “Comfort Vision 2050.”
Since Comfort has no city officials or professional planners to carry out a traditional master plan, “Comfort Vision 2050” instead outlines 75 strategic initiatives that residents, business leaders, nonprofits and county officials can pursue immediately and independently, without help from city government.
“We hope this novel approach will prove useful throughout the Texas Hill Country, where 90% of the communities remain unincorporated,” Caine explained.
To create the vision plan, the UTSA team worked closely with various members of the Comfort community, including residents, the county commissioner and editors for the local newspaper.
“A spirit of collaboration drove this project, from the interactions among local residents to the cooperation between UTSA faculty and students,” Caine emphasized.
The UTSA team included William Dupont, professor of architecture; Corey Sparks, associate professor of demography; researcher Bill Barker; and Matthew Jackson and Thomas Tunstall of UTSA’s Institute for Economic Development. Additionally, student researchers Elizabeth Striedel, Ivan Ventura and Diego Sanchez made critical contributions to the drawings and field documentation.
“The success of this vision plan,” Caine added, “confirms the potential for applied, transdisciplinary research to simultaneously serve local communities, create new knowledge and advance best practices in our discipline.”
The Racial Justice Book Club was established at UTSA by members of the campus community to explore social justice following acts of racial violence across the nation over the last few years. We are reading The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas by Monica Muñoz Martinez. We will meet every Wednesday in September and October at 2 pm on Zoom.Virtual Event
We invite you to learn about the process of screenwriting and explore the intersection of identity and pursuing dreams from Jorge Ramirez-Martinez and Raymond Perez, screenwriters for the Selena: The Series, released on Netflix. They will discuss their careers and writing process, including how their identities as Mexican American and gay men have shaped their professional experiences.Virtual Event
Please join us in remembering those who have entered the next part of life by designing a nicho box in their memory. This workshop will provide the necessary items to create your nicho box, though please remember to bring a photo or small object that can fit in a 3.5 x5x1 inch box (small jewelry box).John Peace Library GroupSpot B, Main Campus
Come celebrate the end of Hispanic Heritage Month with La Comunidad at The University of Texas at San Antonio. We will have food, games and dancing!H-E-B Student Union Ballroom 1 & 2, Main Campus
LMSA invites you to join us in celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month through an interactive cooking lesson! This cultural experience will teach you how to prepare a popular Mexican dish, street taquitos. You will be able to sample this dish and learn the recipe to use in your own home.Recreation Wellness Center Demo Kitchen
Future Roadrunners will see what Roadrunner life is all about at UTSA Day. All of Main Campus transforms into our UTSA Day open house for Future Roadrunners and their families to explore the university experience.Main Campus
Learn about the LGBTQIA+ community and being an Ally and advocate for LGBTQIA+ people, communities, and the issues that impact the LGBTQIA+ community.Multicultural Student Center for Equity and Justice Lounge, Main Campus
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