Idaho Student to Receive American Planning Association Award

Wednesday, October 13 2010

MOSCOW, Idaho – Ryan Urie, a Hagerman native and recent graduate of the University of Idaho's graduate program in bioregional planning and community design, will receive the 2010 Planning Student Award of Merit from the Idaho Chapter of the American Planning Association Thursday, Oct. 14, in Boise.

The award recognizes outstanding achievement in planning. Urie was recognized for helping to found the first student APA chapter in the state, for his leadership within the bioregional planning program, and for his graduate project in which he created a strategic land-use analysis for Kootenai County.

Urie was asked by Jody Bieze, member of both the Kootenai Shoshone Soil and Water Conservation District and the Kootenai County Planning Commission to develop a tool for the district and planning commission to more objectively evaluate the suitable location and natural resource impact of major development proposals.

The GIS-based “Smart Land-Use Analysis: Land-use Conflict Identification Strategy” allows localities to enter their own conservation, soil and development values and priorities and then analyze the spatial information to identification the most suitable areas for development and conservation and areas where these values are in conflict.

“Ryan’s project has the potential to overcome political debated between those who oppose more land use regulation and those who advocate it,” said Sandra Pinel, Urie’s major professor. “He provided a map for agreement on suitable locations for development that bridges community and ‘scientific’ values.”

The goal of the project was to change the political climate from “anti-development vs. pro-development” to one focused on putting the right type of development in the right places, noted Urie. His work was presented to the GIS staff and planning commissions and is now being considered by the Clearwater County Soil and Water Conservation District and planners as a potential Bioregional Planning studio student project.

Urie currently lives and works in Japan; the award will be accepted on his behalf.

The University of Idaho's Building Sustainable Communities Initiative is an interdisciplinary, service-learning program that takes a bioregional approach to regional planning and design. A component of BSCI is the Learning and Practice Collaborative, where students engage with a community in creating a vision and helping convert that vision into reality. BSCI also houses the university's graduate program in Bioregional Planning and Community Design.

The university's bioregional approach to planning considers the ecological functions and human settlement patterns of a region, builds more inclusive civic constituency, and emphasizes regional resources and energy sources to inform community and economic development policy and design. For more information, visit
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s land-grant institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year. The University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation classification for high research activity. The student population of 12,302 includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars, who select from more than 130 degree options in the colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Art and Architecture; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Law; Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Natural Resources; and Science. The university also is charged with the statewide mission for medical education through the WWAMI program. The university combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities and focuses on helping students to succeed and become leaders. It is home to the Vandals, the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl champions. For more information, visit

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit