Mar 6, 2006    #043
Contact: Michelle Hopkins

HUD awards $274,000 grant to UMKC's Dept. of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design; Focus is on jump-starting the heritage tourism industry outside the French Quarter

At Xavier University in New Orleans, the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Dept. today awarded the University of Missouri-Kansas City a $274,000 grant from HUD’s new “Universities Rebuilding America Partnership” (URAP) program aimed at rebuilding the Gulf Coastal regional following Hurricane Katrina. The URAP program was announced in November 2005 by HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson and David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. (Go to

The grant was awarded to UMKC’s Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design, which resides in the College of Arts & Sciences, through a competitive grants process (NOFA), for a proposal outlined by Assistant Professor Jacob Wagner, who hails from New Orleans. The senior studio of UMKC's Urban Planning and Design students visited the New Orleans area once in support of the project and will return tomorrow, spending spring break week working in the area.

Wagner’s proposal outlines a partnership between UMKC and the Urban Conservancy, a non-profit agency in New Orleans, to focus on “second tier” heritage tourism (outside the French Quarter) and returning this vital economic resource to pre-Katrina levels. Project activities will include identification and analysis of tourism nodes, interviews and focus groups with business owners and residents in supporting neighborhoods, and identification of obstacles to economic renewal and housing resettlement. Project deliverables include a plan for the recovery of specific heritage tourism nodes, including demographic and spatial analysis using GIS, community input and economic analysis, as well as data from the community and recommendations from public and private investment agencies.

More information about the Rebuilding America Partnership Program is available at

To reach Wagner, please contact the pr rep at the top of this news release.


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