Planning at Illinois student awarded APA-IL award
This summer, Roya Nassirpour (BAUP ’22 and MUP ’23) worked as a project specialist II at the City of Champaign in the Planning and Development Department. Her work with a team of Champaign planners was focused on creating and staffing a “pop-up” park for the neighborhood of Garden Hills. The neighborhood has a high concentration of Black, African American, and Latinx populations, and has been the location of frequent flooding from substandard infrastructure. The “pop-up” park is part of a longer-term project to address both the flooding and a lack of green space through infrastructure upgrades and a new park. This comes as the problems facing this neighborhood have been exacerbated by the pandemic and increasing crime rates. Her team was tasked with activating a temporary space in the neighborhood to address immediate concerns while the larger project is designed. They created and built the “pop-up” park with only $75,000 in just under 100 days. As a project specialist, Roya was in charge of implementing active and passive programs and activities for children and families alike, twice a week, throughout the entire summer. The project was a big success and was awarded the 2022 Advancing Diversity and Social Change Award from the American Planning Association – Illinois chapter.