Thursday, November 7, 2013

What is Planning?


By analyzing the areas of expertise and interests of 851 undergraduate and graduate planning faculty members, Tom Sanchez investigates what planning is, what it is not, and what it could be.  Read more…

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mon Oct 21 SPIA Roundtable on Leadership & Administration: The Inclusiveness of Cities

Roundtable on Leadership and Administration: The Inclusiveness of Cities…Through the Lens of the Seasoned Public Administrator

Sponsored by the Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs

Monday, October 21, 2013

Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs
1021 Prince Street, Alexandria

A lively discussion with two seasoned Public Administrators, Regina V. K. Williams and Calvin Jamison. Both served as Administrators for large urban cities in Virginia. They will discuss the challenges and rewards of managing a complex City government. If you work in government as a public administrator, the discussion will include the competencies needed to be successful.


Calvin Jamison. Ph.D.
Jamison is Vice President for Administration with the University of Texas at Dallas. He previously served as Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Hampton University and as CEO/City Manager of Richmond, Virginia. Prior to serving as City Manager of Richmond, Jamison spent 14 years in higher education with faculty and administrative roles at Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Tech, including a position as Assistant to the President at Virginia Tech. He is also a former “Cadmus Leader in Residence” at the University of Richmond. He received Virginia Tech’s Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 2006 for his many years of service and leadership to Virginia Tech and to the university’s Black Alumni Organization. Jamison earned his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorate degree from Virginia Tech.

Regina V.K. Williams, Executive Director, National Forum of Black Public AdministratorsWilliams is the former City Manager, City of Norfolk, Virginia. Previously she was City Manager and Assistant City Manager for the City of San Jose, California, and Senior Deputy City Manager and Chief of Staff, City of Richmond, Virginia. Williams also served as Director of Personnel and Training for the Commonwealth of Virginia and as Director of Personnel for the City of Richmond, Virginia. She earned her MPA from Virginia Commonwealth University and a bachelor of science degree in English and sociology from Eastern Michigan University.

Moderated by Cheryl Orr, Adjunct Professor, Virginia Tech Center for Public Administration and Policy, and Director of Human Resources, Prince William County, VirginiaCheryl Orr, SPR, IPMA-CP, is Director of Human Resources at Prince William County Government, Virginia. She also is an adjunct professor with the Virginia Tech Center for Public Administration and Policy in Alexandria, Virginia. Previously Orr was Director of Human Resources at the City of Alexandria. She has 25 years of experience in Public Administration with local governments in Virginia, including Arlington County, the City of Norfolk, Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria. In those positions, Orr demonstrated her skill in implementing departmental reorganizations, HR strategic plans, and classification and compensation plans. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Rutgers University.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wed Oct 9 Info Session about Grad Studies in Urban Planning, Public Admin, International Affairs at VT in OT Alexandria

Please share this info with friends and colleagues you know who may be interested in our programs.

Info Session about Graduate Studies in Urban Planning, Public Administration, International Affairs at VT in Old Town Alexandria, VA

Join us on Wednesday, October 9 to learn about graduate studies that are offered by Virginia Tech's School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) in Old Town Alexandria, Va.

When: Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The information session for the Masters programs begins at 6 p.m. and at 7 p.m. for the Ph.D. programs.

Where: Virginia Tech's School of Public and International Affairs, 1021 Prince Street, Alexandria, Va. 22314
Metro: Blue/Yellow Line.  Bike rack parking available and we are a block away from Capital Bikeshare.

We offer five graduate degree programs at this location:

      Masters of Public and International Affairs
      Masters of Public Administration
      Masters of Urban and Regional Planning
      Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy
      Ph.D. in Planning, Governance and Globalization

Our programs feature outstanding faculty, small classes, and full- and part-time evening studies.

Thurs Oct 17 MI+SPIA Lecture, Navigating Contentious Planning and Policy Decisions: Lessons and Insights on Civic Engagement and Community Consensus Building from Public Policy Mediators and Social Justice Advocates

Hosted by the Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs, The Metropolitan Institute and the Urban Affairs and Planning program

Join us as we welcome two nationally known land use and public policy mediators, Donna Silverberg and Don Edwards, for the 2013 Fall MI+SPIA Lecture Series #2: “Navigating Contentious Planning and Policy Decisions: Lessons and Insights on Civic Engagement and Community Consensus Building from Public Policy Mediators and Social Justice Advocates,” on Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 6:30 PM.

Increasingly, local residents, community leaders and public officials must seek consensus-based solutions to often contentious land use and environmental issues. What were once standard actions, such as infrastructure improvements and zoning changes, often get delayed by community opposition. Some residents may resist change while other voices and perspectives may be left out. Larger and more controversial issues, such as how to develop in light of increasing changes to our climate present even more difficulties in building mutual understanding and crafting collaborative solutions that benefit all members of our communities. How can policy makers and planners better deal with confusing, often contradictory civic input within a restrictive regulatory framework and sometimes hostile political climate? What techniques and tools can be harnessed that could lead to sustainable and widely supported public policy decisions?

Donna Silverberg, Portland, Oregon, and DC-based civic engagement and social justice adviser Don Edwards—will offer their thoughts on how the field and practice of dispute resolution and conflict management can help answer these and other important policy challenges. These two practitioners will share some of their dispute resolution tools and techniques when guiding public policy and civic engagement processes related to land use, sustainability, social equity, and smart growth recommendations and decisions.  The session will be moderated by Kathryn McCarty, the Administrative Services Chief with Arlington County Environmental Services and Professor of Practice for VT’s Urban Affairs and Planning Program.

Thursday, October 17th
6:30 to 7:30 pm (presentation); 7:30-8:00 (discussion)
Virginia Tech Research Center
900 N. Glebe Road
East/West Falls Church Room
Arlington, VA

Monday, September 23, 2013

October 1 Info Session for Washington Semester 2014

Washington Semester 2014

We are very pleased to announce the upcoming session of the Washington Semester, Extended Summer Session 2014

Our first Information Session will be held in Room 200 of the Architecture Annex as follows:
Tuesday, October 1, 12:30p-1:30p

Washington Semester is open to all Virginia Tech students, regardless of major, who have earned a minimum of 60 credits and are in good academic standing.  Enrollment is limited to 18 participants.

Application deadline (early decision) is December 2, 2013.
Final application deadline is February 3, 2014.

Please visit our website and Facebook pages for more information:

Updates to the website will be made as the information becomes available.

Located in Old Town Alexandria, the Washington Semester is an eleven-week summer program that provides students the opportunity to acquire professional experience in a governmental agency or other relevant enterprise in the private or nonprofit sector. Washington Semester Fellows will attend seminars that enable them to understand their internship from a range of analytical perspectives. While the program is open to all majors, it is of special relevance for students with career interests in politics, public management, public policy, law, or the nonprofit or for-profit sectors. Students receive twelve hours of academic credit for the program.

All students are placed in an internship with a public or nonprofit organization that requires 30 hours of work per week. Placements are based on each student’s interests and professional goals. The internship experience provides a platform for linking seminar discussions and readings to broader issues of management and policy. The emphasis placed on incorporating both theory and practice sets the Virginia Tech Washington Semester program apart from other Washington internship programs.

Examples of previous internship placements include:
U.S. House of Representatives
Alexandria Economic Development Partnership
U.S. Information Agency
City of Alexandria, Department of Planning
National Institutes of Health
Catholic Charities, U.S.A.
U.S. Marshal’s Office
U.S. Agency for International Development
Arlington County Planning Office
American Red Cross
Human Rights Watch
Campagna Center
Street Law
Government Accountability Office
World Resources Institute

Students enroll for all courses for the 1st summer session.  This 12-hour program is an overload for 1st summer session. Each student must get permission from his/her Dean’s office in order to add the overload hours (we will help you with that).

PSCI 4314 - Senior Seminar in Political Institutions
UAP/PSCI 4624 - The Washington Semester: Seminar in Politics and Public Policy
UAP/PSCI 4644 - The Washington Semester: Politics, Policy and Administration in a Democracy
UAP 4964 - Field Study - OR - PSCI 4754 – Internship

Tuition, housing and other costs will be forthcoming (since this program is held in Alexandria, you will not pay on-campus comprehensive fees).

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Thurs Sept 19 Pgm, Power Lines and Parking Spaces: Impacts on Housing Affordability

Cosponsored by the Alliance for Housing Solutions, Arlington County Housing Division (CPHD) and the Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs. 

Power Lines and Parking Spaces: Impacts on Housing Affordability

Thurs Sept 19, 6:45–9 pm
GMU Founder’s Hall, 3351 Fairfax Drive

6:45–7:30 pm Check in and refreshments
7:30–9 pm Program


Michael Manville, Assistant Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University
Michael Manville has two primary areas of interest: the relationship between transportation and land use, and local public finance. He studies the willingness of people and communities to finance different government services, and also studies the tendency of local governments to hide the costs of transportation in the property market. He is particularly interested in how land use restrictions intended to fight traffic congestion can influence the supply and price of housing. His research has been published in a variety of transportation and planning journals, including the Journal of the American Planning Association, the Journal of Planning Education and Research, Urban Studies, and Transport Policy. In addition, Manville has advised local, state, and federal officials about transportation policy, and has consulted with both developers and environmental organizations about land use regulation. He holds a Ph.D. in urban planning from the University of California–Los Angeles.

Mark Silverwood,  President & CEO,  the Silverwood Companies, Reston
Mark Silverwood is President and CEO of Silverwood Associates, Inc., Silverwood Homes, Inc., and Silverwood Management, Inc., affiliated real estate development and management companies based in RestonVirginia. Since founding Silverwood Associates in 1993, Mr. Silverwood has been responsible for the acquisition, renovation, and management of several thousand apartments in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, North Carolina, and West Virginia. Mr. Silverwood has more than 35 years of experience in the real estate industry, building more than 4,000 residential units and one million square feet of commercial space. He serves on the Boards of the Arlington Free Clinic and the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization. A member of the Urban Land Institute’s Washington District Council Advisory Board, Mr. Silverwood also serves on the Virginia Housing Development Authority’s Northern Virginia Advisory Board, the Governor’s Housing Policy Advisory Committee, and the Fairfax County Economic Advisory Commission.

Hon. J. Walter Tejada, Chair, Arlington County Board
J. Walter Tejada, Chairman, was first elected to the Board on March 11, 2003 through a Special Election, and reelected for full terms beginning in January 2004, 2008 and 2012.  He was elected as Vice Chairman in 2007 and 2012, and was elected as Chairman in 2008.  Mr. Tejada has served on many Arlington County citizen advisory groups, including the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission, the Affordable Housing Task Force, the Sports Commission, the Neighborhood Day Organizing Committee, and the Bicentennial Celebration Task Force.  He is the founding chairman of the Shirlington Employment and Education Center; the founding chairman and a current member of the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations; past Virginia state director and current member of the League of United Latin American Citizens; the founding president of the American Salvadoran Association of Virginia, as well as the founding president of the Latino Democrats of Virginia.  Prior to his election to the Arlington County Board, Mr. Tejada worked professionally as an investigator, a business consultant and as an aide to U.S. Representative Jim Moran.  He studied Government and Communications at George Mason University.

John Lutostanski, Project Liaison, Bowman Consulting
John Lutostanski has 30 years of experience in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area with all aspects of land development. His experience includes municipal, public and private sector projects. He facilitates the approval of the entitlement process by coordinating the efforts of the design team and building consensus between the various disciplines and agencies.  Mr. Lutostanski is responsible for the initial phases of public approval that projects must obtain from local government planning and zoning agencies.  He is a, Registered Landscape Architect in Virginia and he earned his bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse University.

Joel Lawson, Associate Director for Development Review, DC Office of Planning
Joel Lawson is the Associate Director for Development Review with the DC Office of Planning.  He holds an undergraduate degree in architecture and a master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning. He has worked in both the private and public sectors, at both the local and federal levels.  He has been with the DC Office of Planning since 2002 and the Associate Director for Development Review since 2006.

Moderated by Beth Offenbacker, Ph.D., Associate Director for Social Media and Engagement, Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs, Alexandria, Va.

Special thanks to the Geary-O’Hara Family Foundation
for its generous support of this event

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2013 Fall MI+SPIA Lecture: 9/12, "Making the National Capitol Region the Next Cycling Capital of the USA: Opportunities and Lessons from Home and Abroad"

Please join us for the kick-off of the 2013 Fall MI+SPIA Lecture Series, hosted by the Virginia Tech Urban Affairs and Planning Program.

Making the National Capitol Region the Next Cycling Capital of the USA: Opportunities and Lessons from Home and Abroad
A Lecture by Professor Ralph Buehler, Thursday, September 12, 2013 (6:30 PM – 8:00PM)

Dr. Ralph Buehler, co-editor of the popular book, City Cycling (2012, The MIT Press), will share his observations about the region’s current cycling boom along with a discussion about the potential for Washington, DC, to become the Bicycling Capital of the USA. He will discuss trends and determinants of cycling in the Washington, DC, region in relation to other successful cycling cities in North America and Europe, and offer an assessment of how Washington, DC, compares in terms of cycling levels, cycling safety, cycling infrastructure, bike parking, the integration of cycling with public transportation, and the promotion of cycling for all groups. Cities seeking to make city cycling feasible, convenient, and safe for commutes to work and school, shopping trips, visits, and other daily transportation will demand the coordination of infrastructure and the promotion of programs, and government policies.

Thursday, September 12th
6:30 to 7:30 pm (presentation); 7:30-8:00 (discussion)
Virginia Tech Research Center
900 N. Glebe Road
East/West Falls Church Room
Arlington, VA

6:00 – 6:30 PM Arrive early to meet Faculty if you have any questions about becoming a graduate student in Urban Affairs and Planning (UAP)
Light refreshments will be served
Limited Bicycle Parking available – please contact Tina Whaley at for reservation.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Save the Date - August 23 - SPIA Graduate Student Orientation 2013-2014

Save the date, August 23, 2013 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm for the SPIA Graduate Student Orientation 2013-2014. 

All new and returning graduate students in CPAP, GIA, UAP, and PGG are invited to attend. The Orientation will take place at 1021 Prince Street, Alexandria, Virginia, in the SPIA Presentation Room (3rd Floor).

Reception will follow at 7:00pm

July 23 CPAP Special Event, Women in Leadership: Leaning In

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM

1021 Prince Street, Alexandria, Va.  22314

This program also will be streamed online. Please register and choose the “Yes, I will attend online” ticket option and we will send you the link to the broadcast shortly before the panel starts.

This will be a discussion based loosely on the arguments made in a relatively new book, Leaning In, by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook.  Sandberg's central argument is that in spite of there being as many women college graduates as men, women in positions of power in organizations seems to be at about the same level (roughly 10% to 15% in business) since the "glass ceiling" was shattered a couple of decades ago.  She argues that, while not true for all women, more women should "lean in" to their work to achieve the top rungs in organizations.  As well, she places an onus on organizations to be more proactive in pushing women to positions of greater responsibility.  Read the recent interview on the McKinsey and Company website

Susan Gates, Ph.D.  Dr. Gates earned a BA from the University of Delaware, followed by a graduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.  She became a Presidential Management Intern and worked for five years at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as a budget examiner handling State department and later Veterans’ affairs accounts. In 1990, she left OMB and took a job at Freddie Mac as an economist.  After a number of interesting jobs in different parts of the company – and earning a PhD from VT's Center for Public Administration and Policy (CPAP) – she later became the VP of Public Policy. Since leaving Freddie Mac in 2009, Susan has taught as an adjunct for CPAP and is completing a book on the policy and ethical failures that contributed to the financial crisis.

Anne Khademian, Ph.D.  Dr. Khademian is the director for Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, and professor with the Center for Public Administration and Policy (CPAP).  Her research interests focus on leadership and organizational culture, inclusive management, policy networks, and the work of organizations involved in homeland security and financial regulation.

Ann Simeone, Ph.D.  Dr. Simeone is a recently retired federal government public servant (after over 31 years of service) who received her Ph.D. from CPAP in 2004. She retired from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is part of Department of Homeland Security.  In addition to policy and programmatic interests in immigration and management topics such as budgeting and analytical assessment, her research interests include budgeting, policy analysis, and ethics - especially concerning the role of public service in making government work.

Tom Hickok, DPA.  Dr. Hickok is a Professor of Practice with Virginia Tech's Center for Public Administration and Policy.  He received his D.P.A. from the University of Southern California, an M.B.A. from California State University, Northridge and a B.A. from Middlebury College.  His areas of specialization include performance management, organizational development and public management.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

July 9 Info Session about Graduate Studies in Urban Planning, Public Admin, Intl Affairs at VT in Old Town Alexandria, VA

Please share this information with others you know who may be interested in our programs.  Thank you!


Info Session about Graduate Studies in Urban Planning, Public Administration, International Affairs at VT in Old Town Alexandria, VA


Join us on Tuesday, July 9 to learn about graduate studies that are offered by Virginia Tech's School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) in Old Town Alexandria, Va.

When: Tuesday, July 9, 2013
The information session for the Masters programs begins at 6 p.m. and at 7 p.m. for the Ph.D. programs.

Where: 1021 Prince Street, Alexandria, Va. 22314.  Metro: Blue/Yellow Line.  Bike rack parking available and we are a block away from Capital Bikeshare.

We offer five graduate degree programs at this location:
      Masters of Public and International Affairs
      Masters of Public Administration
      Masters of Urban and Regional Planning
      Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy
      Ph.D. in Planning, Governance and Globalization

Our programs feature outstanding faculty, small classes, and full- and part-time evening studies.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fri 6/21: A Walk Remembering Samuel W. Tucker, Civil Rights Hero

Fri 6/21
A Walk Remembering Samuel W. Tucker
Civil Rights Hero who changed Alexandria and helped transform American Democracy

Co-sponsored by SPIA and the Alexandria Black History Museum
Participation is free and open to everyone. We will meet at 5:30pm outside the library entrance, 717 Queen Street.  The 1/2 mile walk will be followed by refreshments and conversation at the Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street. This walk is co-sponsored by the Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs and the Alexandria Black History Museum.  Questions? Contact: Matt Dull @ 202-821-3807 or

Monday, May 20, 2013

Post Doc position at Metropolitan Institute, Virginia Tech (Alexandria)

The Metropolitan Institute (MI) at Virginia Tech in Alexandria, Virginia has just formally posted the position of a Postdoctoral Associate for the upcoming year. The job is a research appointment only, with no teaching duties, and the position reports to the Director of the Metropolitan Institute.

MI is looking for an entrepreneurial candidate to help elevate several of the Institute’s major research initiatives and projects, such as:

Required Qualification-  A Ph.D. in any of the following fields: urban planning, public policy, sociology, geography or any social science field related to urban studies.  

Please note that this position will close on 05/24/2013.  

To apply for this job/ for more information, please visit VT NCR Jobs at

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

June 6 MI & AED Special Event: Leadership Through Landscape, Exploring the Power of Place and Its Influence on Public Leadership and Sustainability Policy

Special Event: Leadership Through Landscape

Exploring the Power of Place and
Its Influence on Public Leadership and Sustainability Policy

June 6, 2013 ~ 6:00 PM
Artisphere ~ 1101 Wilson Boulevard ~ Arlington VA 22209

Join Virginia Tech’s Metropolitan Institute (MI) and the Arlington Economic Development (AED) in welcoming back Sir Robert Harvey to Arlington, VA. Introduction from the Right Honorable Michael Moore, New Zealand Ambassador to the United States.

For the past 25 years Bob Harvey (still known affectionately as Mayor Bob) has infused the diverse dimensions of sustainability throughout his work as an elected official, international peace envoy, President of the New Zealand Labour Party, businessman, and most recently Chairman of the Auckland waterfront authority. A charismatic speaker and visionary thinker, Harvey came to sustainability through his strong personal and professional bond with the amazing landscape of Auckland’s west region. As a young leader of a local surf club at Karekare Beach, Harvey’s respect and reverence for Waitakere’s rugged coastline and temperate rainforest set the foundation for one of his first political activities — advocating for national legislation that permanently protects the Waitakere Rainforest and Ranges from encroaching suburban development. For Mayor Bob, Leadership through Landscape does not end with acts of conservation and preservation, but becomes a starting point for a dialogue with nature, understanding the landscape, listening to the landscape, and learning from the landscape in ways that reflect the values of New Zealand’s indigenous Maori culture. Building on these themes, Mayor Bob will offer his insights and observations on how sustainability leaders in the US can leverage their own landscapes to support their work in making sustainable communities.

MI and AED welcomes the Right Honorable Michael Moore, New Zealand Ambassador to the US, for introducing Mayor Bob; and commentators, Jay Fisette, Vice Chair, Arlington County Board and Susannah Drake, ASLA, AIA, Principal, delandstudio, New York City.

The full flier is available here.  Please RSVP at by June 4th.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Focus Interview with UAP's Ralph Buehler Highlights Cycling Culture and Infrastructure

UAP Professor Ralph Buehler was a guest speaker today on Focus, an Illinois public radio program that "features a mix of newsmakers, authors and regular guests to talk about the ideas and issues that affect your life." (

This morning's program focused on "cycling, infrastructure and why some in the [Champaign, Illinois] area are working to empower a strong cycling and pedestrian community." Read more about Focus and listen to today's program at

Thursday, April 25, 2013

2013 Ridenour Faculty Fellowship Conference News: “Governing Possibilities and the Possibilities of Governance”

Scholars from the Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) and across the university community are convening today and tomorrow, Friday, April 26, in Blacksburg, Va., for the 2013 Ridenour Faculty Fellowship Conference. This year’s theme is, “Governing Possibilities and the Possibilities of Governance,” and it builds on the successful 2012 Ridenour conference, which focused on Distressed Cities.

For 2013, the interdisciplinary conference coordinating team created a program that explores all levels of governance during this two-day conference. Sessions are structured as discussions and conversations featuring SPIA faculty, graduate students and distinguished guest speakers in various semi-structured formats that allow both information and reflection.

In particular, as the 2013 long-ish title suggests, SPIA invite scholars to think about the social construction of both the form of governance and of what is governed by referring to Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of the “space of possibles” (as a noun). Among the questions that are being explored during the two-day program include:
What is the space of possibles and what is at stake in the field of governance?
We can ask about the social possibilities of governance: what kind of governance are the current socio-economic power relations bringing forth?
And we can ask about the act of governing social possibilities: how are the powers that be organizing what is socially imaginable and thus possible?

Sessions examine questions such as:
How do we understand current debates about governance (or indeed government) in crisis?
How do our definitions of public and private space reflect current forms of governance?
How does the idea of participation and shared governance fit in?
How does governance legitimation change in the face of environmental crisis?
What are the tensions between attempts of democratization in developing countries and a context of neo-liberal international governance?
Finally, what are different theoretical perspectives of the concept of governance and what are its disciplinary and transformative potential?

SPIA scholars strive to integrate scholarship and practice to continuously inform, question, and advance knowledge in the public sphere. The Ridenour Faculty Fellowship Conference provides a forum to advance this core mission.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

UAP Students Host Ryerson University Students for Planning Research Discussion

VT UAP and Ryerson students discuss research efforts 

UAP Master's and PhD students in Alexandria welcomed students from Toronto's Ryerson University on Friday April 19th for presentations and conversations about planning research. Virginia Tech PhD students Allison Heck, Arica Young, and Andrea Hamre presented on their ongoing research efforts. Hamre coordinated the gathering of approximately 25 students and community members. 

Participating Virginia Tech students included Jamie Genevie, Terrah Glenn, Andrea Hamre, Allison Heck, Priscila Izar, Arica Young, and Nick Kushner. A wide range of topics were discussed, from cultural preservation and sustainable communities to commuter benefits and comparisons of Canadian and American planning approaches.

Monday, April 22, 2013

May 15 Pre-Conference Roundtable: What Next? The Future of Brownfields Research in Policy and Practice

For individuals heading to the 2013 EPA National Brownfields Conference, a pre-conference roundtable has been organized by Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, St. Louis University and Ryerson University. This roundtable will explore the latest developments in Brownfields research as well as discuss opportunities for future collaborations among researchers, practitioners and policymakers.

Register at

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

SPIA Family Day at the EU Embassies' Open House

Saturday, May 11

Join us at the European Union (EU) Embassies’ Open House, the single biggest celebration of the EU in the world.  This annual event demonstrates the EU’s motto of “unity through diversity” by showcasing the range and richness of European society (  Students, alums, faculty staff, family members and friends are welcome.  This event is rain or shine.

You can also buy a SPIA t-shirt to wear that day to show your Hokie Pride and spread the word about our three programs in Alexandria.  See the registration link above to reserve yours!


Location: Washington, D.C.

Call for Hokie Volunteers for May 3 Alexandria Community Service Day

Friday, May 3

Organized by Volunteer Alexandria, Alexandria’s Community Service Day is a City-wide event on Friday, May 3 during which hundreds of people volunteer to support numerous different nonprofit and City agencies, as well as our schools.  As a VT SPIA Team Volunteer, you’ll join other Hokie students, faculty, staff, alums, friends and family members on our team.  You must be 21 or older to participate.

A $25 registration fee to cover tools, T-shirt and food is recommended.  (You can also give more if you’d like to support other Volunteer Alexandria programs throughout the entire year.)   We’ll be one of more than three dozens volunteer teams that day that’ll spread out across the City to help non-profit agencies with a variety of tasks.  You’ll help these short-handed sites prepare for Spring with fresh paint, new flowers and shrubs as well as layers of mulch.

Following the work day, volunteers come together at Alexandria’s Market Square (301 King Street) for a celebration party with refreshments and prizes.  The Service Day is part of Spring for Alexandria – a three-day event with the focus of giving and involves hundreds of volunteers.

Sign up for the VT SPIA Team at this link

Location: At a nonprofit location in Alexandria

April 19 UAP Special Event: An Evening With Graduate Planning Students from Toronto’s Ryerson University

Sponsored by the
Virginia Tech Urban Affairs & Planning Program

An Evening With
Graduate Planning Students from
Toronto’s Ryerson University

Friday, April 19th

5:00pm-6:00pm – Refreshments & Social Hour
6:00pm-7:00pm – Presentations, Q&A

Monday, April 15, 2013

Hanff to present at Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conference, Bethesda, MD, on April 15th

Colleges and universities are incubators of innovation, tackling the biggest challenges of society through creative means. The 2013 Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conference provides the setting to learn, share and explore how campuses are using their passion for innovation to develop technologies, infrastructure, programs and curricula that address the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges.

MURP alumna and SPIA Research and Operations Manager Jessica Hanff will be presenting with Jason Hercules of the US Green Building Council on “Using LEED for Neighborhood Development to Create a Sustainable Campus.”  Read more about the presentation at this link:

Leveraging Statistics to Improve Data Quality

UAP Assistant Professor Ralph Hall and Assistant Research Professor of Statistics Eric Vance have released a new video that highlights their efforts to leverage technology and statistics to advance quality data collection efforts in Africa.  The initiative is part of an impact evaluation project that Hall and Vance are conducting on behalf of the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

The 16-minute video was created at the request of UAP Professor Tom Sanchez and will be part of the new TechniCity MOOC (massive open online course) that Sanchez will be co-teaching in summer 2013 with Jennifer Evans-Cowley/Ohio State University.

The video contains many imagines and several clips from the fieldwork conducted during 2011, Hall noted, and it features several VT graduate students, who each played an important role in the research.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

NCR Hokies Blood Drive, Friday April 19

Virginia Tech Alumni Association
National Capital Region
Blood Drive
Friday, April 19th, 2013
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Room 100 - Graduate Center7054 Haycock Road, Falls Church
To schedule your Life Saving Appointment please go to
and use Sponsor Code: 05312500
Or call 1-800-RED-CROSS

Questions regarding eligibility please call: 1-866-236-3276

Friday, April 5, 2013

Tues April 30: 11th Street Bridge Park Presentation

Courtesy of Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC:

"Join residents of Wards 6, 7 and 8 at a presentation by graduate students at Virginia Tech's Urban Planning Studio, who have spent the entire semester studying the proposed 11th Street Bridge Park, to deliver their final report.

Presentations will include:
 1) Recommendations to ensure that the Bridge Park is stitched deeply  into surrounding neighborhoods; 
 2) Assessment of nearby playgrounds, cultural amenities, and gardens;
 3) Case studies of similar transformed infrastructure projects across the   US; and
 4) Recommendations for continued community engagement.

Led by Elizabeth Morton, Ph.D., the studio represents one of many ways that Virginia Tech’s’s Urban Affairs and Planning (UAP) program immerses graduate students in real world challenges. UAP is one of three programs that make up the School of Public and International Affairs; its National Capital Region campus is located in Old Town Alexandria.

The District government and local nonprofit partner, Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC, are transforming the old 11th Street river bridge into the city's first elevated park: a new venue for healthy recreation, environmental education and the arts.

Join the movement to transform, connect and engage communities on both sides of the Anacostia River."

Van Houweling Defends Dissertation on Gender, Water, and Development

Courtesy of Ralph Hall:

"On March 29, Emily Van Houweling successfully defended her dissertation entitled "Gender, Water, and Development: The multiple impacts and perspectives of a rural water project in Nampula, Mozambique."  Congratulations, Emily!


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cities and Technology

UAP Professor Tom Sanchez and Jennifer Evans-Cowley from Ohio State University will be teaching a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Cities and Technology beginning on Saturday May 4, and will run for four weeks. The course currently has over 13,000 students registered from around the world.  You can sign up for the course at: TechniCity.

The course focuses on how technology is being used in cities. The increasing availability of networks, sensors and mobile technologies allows for new approaches to address the challenges that our cities face. The way we understand cities is undergoing sweeping transformation, right along with the analytical tools we use to design our cities and the communication tools we use to engage people. We developed this course to help in fostering a community of people who care about the future of our cities and have an interest in how technology can play a role in their future.

Follow us on Twitter @EvansCowley and @tomwsanchez. We'll use Twitter to communicate thoughts about technology, cities, MOOCs, and other topics, in addition to using the course mechanisms (using hashtag #technicity) We also have a LinkedIn group if you would like to network with others interested in technology and cities.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tues Apr 9: UAP's Ralph Buehler to Link Planning, Increased Cycling at MNCPPC Speaker Series

Update: Ralph Buehler's Montgomery County presentation has been posted online; watch the video at

Courtesy of Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission:

"SILVER SPRING – Take a look around and it’s easy to see that cycling is booming. The roads of Washington, D.C. are crisscrossed with bike lanes, and the District-based Capital Bikeshare program bills itself as the largest in the nation.

speaker series 2013

To delve into how good planning equates to safe, accessible, enjoyable cycling, Virginia Tech professor Ralph Buehler will present at the Montgomery County Planning Department’s speaker series on Tuesday, April 9. His talk, Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from Europe and North America, will link transportation and land-use policies with bike use.

Co-editor of the recently published book City Cycling (MIT Press), Buehler will report on cycling trends and policies in North American, European, and Australian cities and tie those to how planners and local government officials can promote cycling in their communities.

In his book and classes, Buehler contends that cycling should not be limited to those who are highly trained, extremely fit, and daring enough to battle traffic on busy roads. His presentation will describe ways to make cycling feasible, convenient, and safe for commutes to work and school, shopping, and other daily transportation needs.

Specifically, Buehler’s presentation will offer information on:
  • cycling safety
  • bikeways and bike parking
  • integrating cycling with public transportation
  • promoting cycling for everyone
Buehler is assistant professor of Urban Affairs & Planning and a Faculty Fellow with the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech in Alexandria, VA. Originally from Germany, Buehler’s research focuses on comparing transportation and land-use policies in Western Europe and North America and how policies affect travel behavior. In 2008, Buehler’s dissertation comparing German travel behavior and transportation policy was selected as the best planning dissertation by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.
Continuing education credits (1.5 hours) have been approved for planning professionals.

Ralph Buehler, Assistant Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning, Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech

Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from Europe and North America

7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9

Park and Planning Headquarters auditorium
8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring"

Monday, April 1, 2013

SPIA in the NCR Discusses Sustainability with Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur

The IITK-VT research partnership, meeting at SPIA in late March in Alexandria, Va.
School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) faculty members met in late March in Northern Virginia with colleagues from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) to discuss the IITK-VT research partnership that is focused on sustainable infrastructure.  The partnership’s overarching goal is to encourage mutual understanding, facilitate educational reform, and engage civil society through knowledge sharing.

March meeting topics included discussing new courses to be created/transferred and also areas of research collaboration, presenting the draft knowledge platform for approval, and reviewing potential topics for a project workshop.  This is the second in-person meeting of the project group, having last met during October 2012 in Kanpur.

The initiative is funded by a grant from the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative as part of efforts to create an International Program for Sustainable Infrastructure Development.  The three-year IITK-VT partnership includes a series of meetings, workshops, research collaborations, and graduate student exchanges that are connected via a knowledge platform designed to support the virtual and digital exchange of information and data.

Virginia Tech representatives participating in the Alexandria and Arlington meetings included UAP Assistant Professor Ralph Hall, Ph.D.; UAP Assistant Professor Shalini Misra; Myers Lawson School of Construction Associate Professor Mike Garvin, Ph.D.; MI+SPIA Interim Research Director Joe Schilling, Ph.D.; MI+SPIA Operations Manager Jessica Hanff; and SPIA Director Anne Khademian, Ph.D.  Representatives from IITK attending the meeting included Professors Sudhir Misra, Onkar Dikshit, and Mukesh Sharma.

More information about the project team can be viewed on the project website at

Following the Northern Virginia meetings, IITK representatives met with Virginia Tech faculty members in Blacksburg to continue the project dialogue.  The next in-person meeting will occur again in Virginia in Fall 2013 and the schedule will include time for small group discussions among faculty members about specific research proposals that are in progress.

Learn more about the VT-IITK partnership by watching these videos from SPIA Director Anne Khademian, Ph.D. and Myers Lawson School of Construction Director Brian Kleiner, Ph.D.