MUP students' post-Ike population studies
in Galveston garner Texas APA award


A research project providing an estimate of Galveston's post-Hurricane Ike population conducted last spring by students in Texas A&M's Master of Urban Planning program has won a Student Award from the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association.

The award was presented during a luncheon at the chapter's Oct. 8 conference in San Antonio.

In its June 1, 2010 issue, The Galveston Daily News reported the students' estimate that the city's population had dipped below 50,000 residents. The 50,000 population figure is significant, wrote the Daily News' Rhiannon Meyers, because it's a benchmark for federal funding that pays for Galveston's Island Transit System and housing repair programs.

The students’ research results prompted a Daily News editorial, as well as public dialogue about Galveston's future and how its population decline should be addressed, , said Shannon Van Zandt, director of Texas A&M's Master of Urban Planning program.
To make their estimate, Van Zandt said, students developed a rigorous method sensitive to the unique development patterns of Galveston.

"The students researched available data sources and assessed their validity and reliability to determine the most accurate approach for creating a population estimate," she said. "Where secondary data sources were found to be lacking, they undertook primary data collection themselves, developing and implementing strategies for data collection."

Besides supporting the planning efforts by the city, Van Zandt said, the estimate has garnered interest from groups involved in creating plans for specific aspects of the city, including the school district, local healthcare facilities and the state demographer's office.

The students presented their findings to Galveston’s Comprehensive Plan Committee, Long Term Recovery Committee, local advocacy groups and those interested in the island's recovery at an April 19 public meeting held at the McGuire Dent Center community room.


- Posted: Oct. 1, 2010 -

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Contact:   Phillip Rollfing, or 979.458.0442.


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