Jim Schwab is a senior research associate with the American Planning Association in Chicago. He is also manager of APA's Hazards Planning Research Center and co-editor of Zoning Practice, a monthly APA publication. His career reflects his double penchant. At the University of Iowa, he obtained master's degrees in both urban and regional planning and journalism. He has combined these skills in his writing, using the analytical skills of the planner and the narrative skills of the journalist to probe major social, economic, and environmental issues facing American society.
Jim's newest publication is Hazard Mitigation: Integrating Best Practices into Planning, a 2010 APA Planning Advisory Service Report (No. 560), for which he served as project manager and general editor. Other recent APA reports have included Planning the Urban Forest (No. 555, 2009), in the same capacity; Landslide Hazards and Planning (Planning Advisory Service Report 533/534), of which he is one of three project editors, and Planning for Wildfires (PAS Report 529/530), of which he was lead author and project manager. All PAS Reports are available at http://www.planning.org/APAStore/Search/Default.aspx?p=2440. Jim also co-authored The State of Tribal Transportation Programs, a report released in January 2007 by the Transportation Research Board (www.trb.org), the result of a contract with APA to survey tribal planning contacts and assess current transportation programs of American Indian tribal governments.
His signature work as primary author, published in April 1999, is a guidance document for local planners, with contributions of case studies from four other authors, co-published by the American Planning Association and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction (Planning Advisory Service Report No. 483/484). While that work has served a generation of planners dealing with disaster recovery, FEMA is now underwriting a three-year project to produce a new version, with Jim again managing the project. APA also published his monograph, Planning and Zoning for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (PAS Report 484), in 1998.
Jim was also co-author, with fellow SMA members Stuart Meck and Rebecca Retzlaff, of Regional Approaches to Affordable Housing (PAS Report No. 513/514, APA, 2003), which has been cited repeatedly as the leading current source of policy information on the topic. Planning for Wildfires (PAS Report No. 529/530), also co-authored by Stuart Meck, was published in March 2005.
Jim's two books to date are Raising Less Corn and More Hell: Midwestern Farmers Speak Out (University of Illinois Press, 1988) and Deeper Shades of Green: The Rise of Blue-Collar and Minority Environmentalism in America (Sierra Club Books, 1994). The first was essentially an oral history of the farm protest of the 1980s that challenged widespread farm bankruptcies and liquidations. The second examined the often invisible movement within African-American, Hispanic, and other minority communities, as well as white blue-collar neighborhoods, to fight industrial pollution and protect public health.
He is a past President of the Society of Midland Authors (1997-99), and has served in many capacities including as SMA's membership secretary and vice-president. He is also a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the American Institute of Certified Planners (a subsidiary of APA), and the Society of Professional Journalists.
Jim is currently planning a book about the 1993 and 2008 Midwest floods, and what we, as a nation, learned from both experiences.
You may e-mail Jim Schwab at JSchwab@planning.org