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.”
Come to Bandera Market to celebrate national Hispanic Heritage Month with Hispanic vendors from a variety of countries. Free entry.Bandera Pointe Shopping Center,11627 Bandera Road
The College for Health, Community and Policy at UTSA is proud to present the Dean's Community Lecture Series, a series of events bringing community leaders from San Antonio and beyond to foster the natural leadership abilities of students while discussing critical topics in our community.Virtual Event
A video on Instagram Live (@UTSA_MSCEJ) of Chef Jesse Moreno-Valle from Aramark creating a couple of great dishes: sopa negra (black bean soup) al estilo Costa Rica y güirilas (a crepe style item made with corn and a cheese filling) from Nicaragua.Virtual Event
Visit the library to learn how to make your own Worry Dolls. Pick up a supply packet to make at the library or to take home. Worry dolls (also called trouble dolls; in Spanish, Muñeca quitapena) are small, hand-made dolls that originate from Guatemala.San Antonio Public Library, 9050 Wellwood, San Antonio, Texas 78250
For Hispanic Heritage Month this year we will be reading two books, starting in September with "I, Rigoberta Menchú", an autobiography. The October book will be "Cemetery Boys" by Aiden Thomas. Students who join the RJBC are eligible to receive the book free.Virtual Event
Dueling Tacos are on the menu for Noon Time Helping of Mexican cuisine in San Antonio Public Library's Virtual Kitchen! Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in style and discover new taco ideas!Virtual Event
Join the voice and instrument ensembles in this welcome back concert outdoors near the central fountain. Jazz, band, and choral favorites will be performed against the fall sunset--and it is all free!Sombrilla Plaza, Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.