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Molly Carpenter

Molly Carpenter is an undergraduate student at Iowa State University, studying community and regional planning with a minor in English. She is a violin teacher and a writer, and is currently working as a GIS technician for the Iowa State University Institute for Transportation. Growing up in the vast sprawling suburbs of Colorado, she was inspired to find more sustainable and efficient design solutions through the study of urban planning, which brought her to the planning program at Iowa State. There she has had the opportunity to help improve the campus bike and pedestrian infrastructure, as well as develop GIS skills. She is particularly interested in housing, community development, and placemaking. As a student in Iowa, she has observed the decline of the family farm and its effects on the built environment, and hopes to explore this trend in her upcoming blogs. She plans to obtain a masters’ degree in urban planning, and in the future hopes to work for a non-profit involved in community development.

Farewell to The Grid from Molly Carpenter in Des Moines, Iowa

by Molly Carpenter

After six months of blogging, it is time for me to say goodbye to The Grid. This comes as I also say goodbye to Iowa, the state I called home for three and a half years. While studying urban planning at Iowa State Un... Read article

New Statewide Rideshare Program Responds to Iowa’s Transportation Demand

by Molly Carpenter

If an Iowan were to complain about traffic conditions in Des Moines to someone from out of state, they would likely be laughed at. Traffic in the metropolitan area of Des Moines is nothing compared to that in cities ... Read article

Why are Milliennials Flocking to Des Moines, Iowa?

by Molly Carpenter

On its surface, the city of Des Moines may not seem like the most attractive place in which to settle down. It’s located in the middle of the state, surrounded in all directions by a buffer of cornfields. The city ha... Read article

Iowa Urbanizes as Large Farm Operations Put Small Towns Out of Work

by Molly Carpenter

Iowa is the U.S. state most associated with farming; it produces more corn and soybean than any other state, and 92% of the land is designated for agriculture. As farming practices change, the urban landscape changes wit... Read article

"Main Street Movement" Spurs the Revitalization of Small Towns in Iowa

by Molly Carpenter

Small towns in Iowa all seem to have one thing in common: historic Main Streets. The Main Streets of Iowa are typically composed of a few blocks of low-slung brick buildings. They are simplistic and unimposing, with smal... Read article

The Tomorrow Plan: Des Moines, Iowa’s Attempt at Regional Planning

by Molly Carpenter

In 2011, the Des Moines Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) initiated an attempt at regional planning for the Greater Des Moines area, the goal being to coordinate planning efforts among municipalities in order to p... Read article

The Suburban Pushback Against Affordable Housing in West Des Moines, Iowa

by Molly Carpenter

The city of West Des Moines is an affluent, growing community in the Des Moines metropolitan area. However, it faces challenges when it comes to affordable housing. Market rate single family housing is the typical ty... Read article

Des Moines, Iowa's East Village: Unique Storefronts Cultivating Sense of Place

by Molly Carpenter

While Des Moines, Iowa is a city with a population density of only 2,527 people per square mile and rapidly expanding suburbs, one neighborhood in the downtown core has managed to maintain some urban character. With its ... Read article

The Food Deserts of Des Moines, Iowa: Limited Access in the Breadbasket of America

by Molly Carpenter

In a state often referred to as "America’s Breadbasket," it seems counterintuitive to think that food security would pose much of a problem. But in Des Moines, Iowa, however, it does. The city’s low population density an... Read article

Bike Sharing Program in Ames, Iowa Loses Out on Funding

by Molly Carpenter

As bike sharing programs continue to proliferate in cities and college campuses across the US, Iowa State University is in the midst of creating its own bike share program to be integrated with the City of Ames. The univ... Read article

The Ames, Iowa Economy in the Wake of VEISHEA Cancellation

by Molly Carpenter

The city of Ames, Iowa will be saying goodbye to VEISHEA, the largest student-organized festival in the United States, after a university task force declared its cancellation this past month. This festival’s importance t... Read article

Redevelopment Brings Luxury Student Apartments to Ames, Iowa

by Molly Carpenter

As construction began this summer on the Campustown Redevelopment Project in Ames, Iowa, new signs have gone up at the construction site advertising two new luxury student apartment complexes. These complexes, named The ... Read article

Campustown Action Association: Informing via Social Media in Ames, Iowa

by Molly Carpenter

When a major redevelopment project happens in a community, it is important to keep residents informed and aware of every step of the planning process. In Ames, Iowa, this responsibility is taken up by the Campustown Acti... Read article