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Europe Travel Course

“Building the City of the Future”


From: Professor C. Kenneth Meyer

Date: August 10, 2016

Subject: The first meeting to discuss the class and trip will be held Friday, September 30th, at 5:00 p.m. in Aliber Hall (room 101)


Colleagues All: 

The time has finally come to have our very first organization meeting for the Comparative Public Management and Public Policy (study abroad course).  This year, like those of the previous sixteen years, Jeff Geerts, Iowa Department of Economic Development is assisting me in the course.  In addition, I will be further aided by professors Allen Zagoren, Lance Noe, and Richard Strong.  Also, several Community Resource Specialists will once more be of great assistance in developing the theme and logistics for the course.  They are all excited as are the others on the planning team about the theme of the course and making the domestic and overseas components of this course a valuable learning experience for everyone.

Course dates:  March 9-27, 2017 (with extended stay possible in Venice, Italy).

The theme of the seminar this year is “Building the City of the Future.”

Selected Visions Related to Building the city of Tomorrow:

“The great challenge of the twenty-first century is to raise people everywhere to a decent standard of living while preserving as much of the rest of life as possible.” Edward O. Wilson

 “It would be disastrous if bad planning policy meant that today's new developments become tomorrow's climate slums”  Tim Yeo MP, chairman of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Commission (October 2007)

 “As society moves forwards in the 21st Century sustainable development will increasingly be seen to be a resilience issue for protecting and enhancing our quality of life within ever decreasing environmental limits” (2010)

 “Sustainable development will not be brought about by policies only: it must be taken up by society at large as a principle guiding the many choices each citizen makes every day, as well as the big political and economic decisions that have. This requires profound changes in thinking, in economic and social structures and in consumption and production patterns.” 2009 Review of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy

 European sustainable developments give us the chance to experience new sustainable practices in real time in developed communities.  In a way we can see the future of the next generation of community planning and building.  Although there are differences in the cultures and political structures, the people who inhabit these sustainable communities share the same value as us. They want to live with their children in the healthiest, safest and environmental friendly that they can. 

 We have the opportunity to share our experiences with a group of students from Drake University studying public policy in relationship to sustainable design.  Dr. Meyer has led the students from Drake University throughout Europe for the last 16 years studying various aspects of public policy and for the past 7 years, Professor Strong has accompanied him. Professor Strong has an academic and professional background in engineering, architecture, urban design, and sustainability.

If cities serve as mirrors of our economic and consumption patterns, will the current urban infrastructures sustain future generations or are we on the path leading to ecological and economic disaster?  Large amounts of materials, water, food, energy, and land are consumed in the support of cities.  The growth of cities in the United States has resulted in a loss of habitat, destruction of prime farmland, and forests and has resulted in high economic and infrastructure cost.  The cities are generating large amounts of global warming gases, and our automobile dependency increasingly makes our cities not only unsustainable, but cold in character.

 Inescapably, this course will have an environmental policy and management orientation. It is reasonable to believe that no matter what specific organizational role we serve, regardless of economic sector, the opportunity exists to make a positive change on our organization’s and community’s environment.  Although the overriding topic is the environment, there are many attendant facets that will be covered in panel sessions that are directly applicable to our responsibilities and interests as administrators, policy makers, and citizens.  Several facets of sustainability that we hope to explore will deal with land use, creative housing, transit, building design, renewable energy, working landscapes, urban food and economic sustainability

 Throughout the world, most people now live in cities—about 65 percent.  Health and sustainable development (social, economic, and socio-demographic) issues are linked and inextricably so.  Development is concerned with improving the quality of our lives and not compromising the lives of future generations in meeting their needs.  The idea of nourishing and maintaining the carrying capacity of our planet’s ecosystems is not a new idea.  Yet, the rate at which we use calories in the United States, if carried over to the other 7 billion who share our space, the equivalent of six planet earths would be required.  Increasingly, it is believed that we should leave the earth better than when we first inherited it (at least as good) for future generations and for the long term health and sustainability of the environment.  The concepts of quality of life, equity between generations, and the social and ethical notions connected with human welfare for us and for all people deserves a fair hearing.   Of course, all of these things are not accomplished in a political vacuum — indeed they requires that citizens participate in and control the decisions that affect their well-being, safety, food and water, economic status (employment and income), health, and dignity.  All of these things ideally take place within an ecosystem that is stable and sustainable for generations to come.

Places to be visited:

Tentatively, we are visiting Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Dresden, Prague and Venice.  Tentatively, as the orientation session will show, we wish to visit EVA Lanxmeer and Hooten, The Netherlands, Western Harbor, Malmo, Sweden, and many other developments in Berlin, Dresden, and Prague.  Overall, there will be dozens of attractions that you will have the chance to visit—a once in a lifetime experience and life changing course.

It is important this year to meet with the prospective students and participants earlier due to airline and hotel reservation and booking requirements.  You surely understand the implications connected with fuel costs and we want to get our costs locked-in ASAP. Similar to the past, our travel consultants are Lew and Judy Boehnke of The Travel Center (515.287.3170).  They, in consultation with me, have negotiated the fee for the travel logistics (transportation, lodging, etc.). At the orientation meeting, the due date for the initial payment of $600.00 for the course will be provided.  Alternatively, if you wait until after that designated date to make your commitment, The Travel Center will not be able to provide a discount.  Also, The Travel Center requires a $600.00 deposit by Late October 14th or early November (TBD) if you are to receive the $100.00 discount.  MC, Visa, or AX may be used for this purpose.

Please be mindful that I am attempting to have the class and the guest list finalized earlier this year, rather than attempting to take care of all these scheduling and payment concerns during the early part of the Spring Semester, 2017.  Also, since you will be required to have a U.S. passport (for U.S. citizens) time is of the essence. If you hold a passport from a country other than the U.S., please apprise Lew Boehnke of your status at the orientation meeting.  The application form needed for securing the U.S. Passport will be distributed during the orientation session.  As one might surmise, taking a large group of colleagues to “far and distant lands” is no easy logistical task!  Therefore, when deadlines are established for getting information into the instructor, for the Web site, or The Travel Center, they are fixed—that is, we have virtually no room for administrative discretion or delay. 

The Financial Aid Office at Drake University has been apprised of the cost of the trip (travel and lodging, etc.) and other anticipated expenses you might have.  Please contact Pam Smith, Financial Aid coordinator at 271-3046 if you are interested in securing a student loan to help you pay for the costs of PADM 282, Comparative Public Management and Public Policy. 

In the future, e-mails may be forthcoming from me, Lance Noe, Jeff Geerts, and Lew Boehnke.  These Professors or Community Resource Specialists have worked with this program for many years and they are essential to its successfulness. They have enabled this course, along with the class participants of the past, to be singled out by the British Parliament for the prestigious Green Apple Award—one of only three organizations in North America to be granted this designation.  

Note:  For those taking this course for credit, you must demonstrate to the CBPA graduate office that you possess the proper legal paperwork (passport and/or other legal travel documents) in order to be officially enrolled in this course.  Since travel is a requirement for the course, verification of your legal ability to travel is needed by your advisor and Drake University  

The first meeting to discuss the class and trip will be held Friday, September 23rd at 5:00 p.m. in Aliber Hall 101—signs will be posted directing you to the room.

Orientation Agenda 

1. Introductions:  Traveling in Europe:  People, Places, and Things

   (PowerPoint presentation of cities to be visited, tourist things and beyond)

2. Class structure and theme

3. Trip itinerary, details, cost, and deposit due date

4. Team assignments:  Cooperation and collaboration are central to success.

5.  Questions and Answers (throughout the evening) 

Attendance at this meeting is VERY important.  If you cannot attend the meeting, please let me know ahead of time.  Space in the class and on the trip is limited and we have many people that have expressed interest in this class. Those that come to the initial meeting will be given priority in the registration process.  In short, “first come, first served!”

This class is a wonderful learning and life-changing experience.  I look forward to meeting each of you and working and learning with you.

C. Kenneth Meyer

Department of Public Administration

College of Business and Public Administration Drake University


NOTE:  Please cc with any correspondence to Professor Meyer related to your plans for the trip so we may keep your status up to date on our spreadsheet. Inquiries on travel costs should be directed to Lew Boehnke at The Travel Center.  Space is limited and this land and cruise course will be fully subscribed. 

PADM 282 Travel Course FAQs

September 15, 2016
A series of free and low-cost public events at Drake University will highlight the experiences of social justice leaders from developing countries around the world.