Karl Besel, director of the Master of Public Administration program, will talk about new urbanism and the impact of traditionally planned communities, the subject of his recent book, at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
He was honored to accept the invitation, and will speak in April 2014.
"The Clinton School has a really strong public speaker series," he said. "They have had some high-profile speakers in the past, and it is humbling to be chosen. They are focused on what they can do to revitalize communities."
In addition to former President Bill Clinton, the speaker series has included former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright, journalists George Stephanopoulos and Bob Woodward, actor and philanthropist Michael J. Fox, and Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus.
Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke said the campus is proud of its outstanding faculty scholars.
"Dr. Besel is an excellent example of the faculty who interact with our students every day in the classroom," she said. "The mission of the IU regional campuses is to enhance the regions they serve, by conducting research related to our communities. Karl's research on urban planning does just that, by expanding our knowledge on urban revitalization efforts."
Besel and co-author Viviana Andreescu, an associate professor at the University of Louisville, began writing Back to the Future: New Urbanism and the Rise of Neotraditionalism in Urban Planning, during his 2009 sabbatical. It reviews recent urban planning trends, and connects them to their roots in historical preservation communities.
"The timing was good for a book like this," he said. "There has been steady growth in the number of planned communities. People like these high density developments, where they can walk where they want to go, and don't need to own a car."
This trend is not just prevalent in suburbs, but in downtown neighborhoods, as part of revitalization efforts. That is what drew attention from the Clinton School, he said.
"They are interested in what they can do to be part of revitalization efforts," he said. "A lot of these are minority communities that have gone by the wayside."
The book includes a case study of one of the first communities to receive federal revitalization money, in Louisville. When it received that money, it prompted area banks to be involved, which led to clean up of these areas, he said.
"Within 10 years, the crime rate went down significantly," he said. "If you're going to address crime and make areas more livable, you have to provide decent housing and decent neighborhoods."
The Clinton School was created under the vision of former president Clinton, who wanted to create a global institution that legitimized the practice of public service within the academic system. Students combine classroom instruction with public service projects. It is located at the William J. Clinton Library, Little Rock, Ark.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.