Lawrence F. Lihosit

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Lawrence F. Lihosit
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Country Honduras
Years: 1975-1977
Group Code 35
Site(s) La Ceiba and Tegucigalpa
Region(s) Atlantida and Francisco Morzan
Program(s) Other
Assignment(s) Municipal Development
From US state Arizona
From US town/city Scottsdale
Lawrence Lihosit started in Honduras 1975
Lawrence F. Lihosit, Lawrence Lihosit, Susan Myers Penner
Region: Atlantida and Francisco Morzan
Lawrence F. Lihosit
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Lawrence F. Lihosit
Other Volunteers who served in Honduras
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Stefan Armington, Mark Clodi, Heather "Saida" Coady, Kevin L Cronk, Drew S. Days, III, Mark Dripchak, Steve Elliot, Ian Everhart, Zach Feris, Bridget French, Francis Gavit, Gerald Harbinson, Mary Hudson, David "Dok" Kanthor, Barbara Kerr … further results
Projects in Honduras
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Expansion of Elementary School
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Aided a national planning agency with the preparation of La Ceiba's first general plan. Contribution included inventory of existing infrastructure, land use and housing. Suggested river erosion control methods following a flood and also suggested the location for a new municipal landfill. Later in the capital joined a national team to prepare a pilot program for the study of towns with less than 25,000 inhabitants.


[edit] Intro

Lawrence F. Lihosit is an American urban planner and writer. His work as an urban planner has concentrated on site planning and infrastructure in Alaska, Arizona, California, Mexico and Honduras. His literary work is eclectic including ten books, seven pamphlets and numerous articles in both professional and popular magazines. His books include poetry, short stories, travel essays, travelogues, memoirs and history.1 Several of his books are about or inspired by his Peace Corps service in Honduras and have been praised by writers such as novelists Tony D’Souza and John Coyne, historians Stanley Meisler and P. David Searles and poet Rich Yurman. His personal description of Peace Corps Service (South of the Frontera: A Peace Corps Memoir) received a commendation from U.S. Representative John Garamendi (CA 10th District) while a book of essays (Years On and Other Travel Essays) garnered the 2012 Peace Corps Writers Best Travel Book award.

Beginning in 2008, he championed the establishment of a permanent Peace Corps Experience collection at the Library of Congress.2 Although the request was denied, a luncheon to celebrate Peace Corps Writers was held in the Library of Congress Members Room on September 22, 2011.3 Eighteen months later, the American University announced the creation of a Peace Corps Community Archive.

[edit] Vita

Lihosit was born in Evergreen Park, Illinois. At the age of twelve, his family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona where he completed grade school, high school and undergraduate work at Arizona State University. Upon graduation, he began a long career in urban planning by entering an internship in Scottsdale.4 Within months, he and three friends formed a partnership and wrote the economic and population elements for Chandler, Arizona’s general plan.5

Lihosit served as a volunteer in the Peace Corps (Honduras, 1975-1977). His service is described in his book South of the Frontera; A Peace Corps Memoir and within Gather the Fruit One by One: 50 Years of Amazing Peace Corps Stories, Volume 2, The Americas for which he was a contributor. His memoir is unusual in that it is told as an adventure and love story. Fellow Returned Peace Corps Volunteer memoir writer Michael Schmicker called it, “Humorous, well-told and highly entertaining.”6 As a volunteer, Lihosit aided a national agency in preparing the first general plan for Honduras’ third most populated city, La Ceiba, located on the Atlantic coast. Upon completion, he helped El Ministerio de Gobernación y Justícia design and implement a pilot planning project for small towns.7

After serving in the Peace Corps, he entered an architecture graduate program in urban planning at la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mėxico in Mexico City and worked in an engineering firm for which he wrote a socio-economic impact statement about the construction of more than one hundred miles of boulevards and miles of new light rail track. When his proposal to detour construction around the historic Santa Anita neighborhood was ignored, he resigned and began to aid a neighborhood citizen action group which eventually brought suit against the Mexican government. This and the larger, city-wide anti-construction movement are delineated in his book Years On and Other Travel Essays which novelist Tony D’Souza described as “the rarest of ex-pats: the Yankee gone native.”8 This experience is also alluded to in his book Whispering Campaign; Stories from Mesoamerica.9 Lihosit later worked for another engineering firm for which he designed residential subdivisions in Campeche, Jalapa and Bugambilias near Guadalajara.10 He participated in the design of a New Town in the oil rich Villa Hermosa with the conceptual design of a semi-submerged freeway section.

Returning to the United States in 1980, Lihosit supervised construction and managed public housing before returning to urban planning.11 In the San Francisco Bay Area, he represented clients with proposals for in-fill residential subdivisions.12 In Dillingham, Alaska his report on river erosion was instrumental in acquiring federal funds for the construction of erosion mitigation. Today, Dillingham is one of three communities in Southwest Alaska which will not have to be relocated in the 21st century due to rising sea levels.13 In Madera, California, he formulated the first Regional Transportation Plan in a generation.14 He rewrote county road standards, inspected construction and prepared conceptual designs for key roads including extensive road improvements to facilitate a new high school. His Bicycle Plan in Sanger, California won a competitive federal grant which resulted in the construction of 22 miles of bike lanes. Lihosit also supervised the construction.15 To complement the new bikeways, he prepared new standards for landscaping road right-of-way and working with the Chief Building inspector, he co-authored new construction details and specifications. He also authored a comprehensive sewer management plan.16 This system of analysis was the topic in an American Planning Association article.17

Concerned about the public school system, he briefly left his career in 2003 after earning a California teaching license through night studies. For two and one half years, he taught Kindergarten through grade 12 as a substitute teacher. His experience is described in his poetry book Attack of the Claw.

Beginning in 2008, Lihosit has been very active with the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) community, offering writing workshops,18 writing book reviews and articles for Peace Corps Writers and Peace Corps Worldwide as well as championing the creation of a permanent Peace Corps Experience collection at the Library of Congress.19 For the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps’ inception, Lihosit wrote the only summation of all Peace Corps related activities and events, Peace Corps Chronology; 1961-2010 which fellow historian P. David Searles praised.20

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