Barbara Lukermann, urban planning pioneer

  • Article by: HERÓN MÁRQUEZ ESTRADA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 29, 2009 - 7:59 PM

A teacher and a fellow at the U's Humphrey Institute, she also led the Metropolitan Waste Control Commission.

Barbara L. Lukermann, a longtime senior fellow and teacher at the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota, has died after a battle with cancer. She was 79.

She died March 23 at her home in Falcon Heights.

Lukermann, considered a pioneer in urban planning, joined the institute in 1982 and was there until 2008. She was a teacher and a senior fellow in institute's planning program.

She was active in her community and she "loved her students," said daughter Kate Plaisance of Falcon Heights.

Lukermann also was a senior research associate with the university's Center for Urban and Regional Affairs. She was a former chairwoman of the Metropolitan Waste Control Commission and a board member at St. Paul District Energy.

Born in Gomersal, England, on Feb. 19, 1930, Lukermann was inspired to go into geography studies by a grammar school teacher. She moved to the United States in the mid-1950s to pursue a graduate degree.

She earned an undergraduate degree from Cambridge University and eventually enrolled at the University of Minnesota, said at the time to have one of the best geography departments in the country.

Plaisance said Lukermann, after obtaining her degree from the University of Minnesota, started her own urban planning consulting firm.

"She was considered something of a pioneer in urban planning, which was just in its infancy," Plaisance said Sunday.

Lukermann had a national and international reputation, traveling to China and Romania in the 1980s to make presentations. She also served as part of an federal advisory group that helped the Navajo Nation with urban planning.

Along with Plaisance, Lukermann is survived by another daughter, Carla Lukermann of Rexford, N.Y., and her husband, Fred, former chairman of the University of Minnesota Geography Department.

A private memorial event is planned.

Heron Marquez Estrada • 612-673-4280

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