Grand Lake is a town of under 1000 year round-residents nestled at the western gateway of Rocky Mountain National Park and the headwaters of the Colorado River. The lake for which the town is named has made this western themed town a popular destination for thousands of tourists each summer. Sailing, boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking are all favorable activities for locals and tourists alike. An assortment of shops, restaurants, and saloons along the town’s main street and waterfront also draw summer crowds.
In 2017, the CCCD began work investigating the possibility of rerouting car traffic from a one-way road that follows the shoreline to enhance the safety of this busy waterfront park while also boosting recreational and economic opportunities. Over the course of two years, the project team participated in four community meetings, two community events where progress was exhibited for feedback, and conducted a survey to identify the challenges and opportunities of improving the Grand Lake shoreline.
Creating a better sense of connection to the lakefront and making the park a draw for visitors was a main goal throughout design development. Proposals included improvements to existing open spaces, such as adding lawn to what is now a gravel parking lot, extending a boardwalk for enhanced connectivity and opportunities for summertime vendors, opening up more beach space for the public and replacing a retaining wall on the water’s edge with steps. Survey results brought to light a resounding desire for more places to eat and drink on the shore, and so concepts for a cafe (designed in resemblance to the nearby Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout) as well as a rooftop restaurant on the Lake’s marina were included in the project. Entertainment opportunities were considered through conceptual siting and renderings of stages and amphitheaters in the park and floating on the water.
Field Supervisor: Jeff Wood
CCCD Team: Juan Perez Argueta, Krista Flynt, Gregory Allen Davidson, Ivy Steele, Aalok Bhattarai, Brittany Duncan, Alexa Geller, Brittany Wheeler, Kelsey Blaho, Erin Wooden
Local Collaborators: Jim White, Former Town Manager; Nathaniel Shull, Town Planner
La Junta is a city made up of about 7000 residents, located in southeastern Colorado at the junction of the Santa Fe Trail and the Arkansas River. It is historically dependent and connected to the train tracks that run along Highway 50 and the river valley, all of which form the northern edge of the city limits.
The current train depot is a mid-century building lacking the scale and functionality needed by Amtrak and BNSF, who operate from the facility, as well as other bus lines that would help strengthen the depot's role as a transit hub. A new building would create the opportunity to incorporate the needs of both Amtrak and the bus lines, while utilizing modern construction techniques that will allow the facility to incorporate sustainability through the use of passive and active solar design and wind cooling. For this project, the CCCD sought to design a facility that reflects the area's historic and contemporary connection with train transport, serving the city and the entire region.
Field Supervisor: Jeff Wood
Rocky Ford is a city of approximately 4,000 residents located in Colorado's southeastern region. The city's existing police and fire station was well located in the city, however, built in the 1930s, the equipment and logistics of the police, fire and ambulance departments has surpassed its functional capacity and the building exhibited signs of advanced deterioration. Due to these factors, a new facility has been proposed on a nearby site.
The primary objective for the CCCD was to design a new facility that would be more useable and secure for the city's police, fire, and dispatch services, and to provide a distinctive building with appropriate character for inclusion into the context of revitalizing the downtown district of Rocky Ford. The project included an extensive interviewing process with employees of the three departments to ensure that the design facilitated an ideal working environment and met their spatial, security, and educational needs now and into the future.
Field Supervisor: Jeff Wood
CCCD Team Members: Amanda Tharp, Nathan Pepper
With the decline in school age children, the Grand Lake Elementary School became an underused resource and it was decided to bus local children to Granby (16 miles away) instead of keeping the building open. This left a notable absence in the Grand Lake community. An elementary school is more than just a place to educate children. It is, in effect, a physical community message board.
At just over twenty thousand square feet and size, the elementary school had received very few physical updates since its opening in the 1980's. Through feedback gathered in community meetings and through surveying, the project team facilitated a shared vision of the town for the reconfiguration of the building to meet the needs of the community as both a social gathering place and a regional conference/event center. The intention of this project is not to “step on the feet” of current Grand Lake businesses but to tap into revenue areas the community lacks, providing an income generator for the town and a stronger sense of community amongst the users.
Goals of this project included providing an appealing event space to support current meeting and conference needs as well as to draw new events to town; a gymnasium for multiple indoor recreational and sporting activities; flexible meeting spaces to support art classes, workshops, and continuing education; a clinic for immunizations and health drives; business incubator space; office space for the sheriff; outdoor gathering space for community events; and emergency aircraft helipad. Additionally, the town wished for the building's exterior to be updated.
Field Supervisor: Jeff Wood
CCCD Team: Matthew Breen, Kaitlin Lucas, Ross Williams, Katie Benz, Serena McClintick, Lyris Sanchez, Kelsey Blaho, Aalok Bhattarai
The Big Small Home: Eco Design Using Steel Shipping Containers
The Studio Competition Challenge: To design a small, 500 square foot or less, factory-produced home; one that plugs into an existing and larger, small home. The plug-in home, as the competition project, will be removable and transportable. It will also exemplify beautiful, affordable, low maintenance green design for healthier living. Shipping containers, modified and manipulated, are the project design and construction framework.
Robby Cuthbert's design fulfills this challenge expertly, showing design excellence and cohesiveness with the existing small home.
Ensuring the Health of the Creative District: Planning and Policy
Recommendations to Establish Sustainable Housing and Workspaces for
Denver's Creative Class
Student Researcher: Camron Bridgford
In late 2017, the City and County of Denver's Arts & Venues, Community Planning and Development, Denver Fire Department developed the Denver Safe Occupancy Program to help artists receive leniency on remedying non-life threatening building code violations. This program was spurred by the rapidly-increasing cost of living in Denver, which is displacing many communities, including members of the creative class, as well as instances of creative producers occupying spaces for uses not intended for their
zoning and/or not up-to-code, which led to closures and tragedies, including the Ghost Ship tragedy that killed 36 in Oakland, California. These growing instances point to a larger trend of creative communities struggling to find safe and affordable housing and workspaces in the face of rising property and rental values in cities, and the need for new policy recommendations and planning tools to achieve more equitable conditions for artists, which will be key to developing creative neighborhoods with long-term sustainability, creative production and a unique sense of place.
While many municipalities utilized theories derived from Richard Florida's 2003 The Rise of the Creative Class to develop cultural policies and plans - which link cities' economic development and revitalization potential to the value of creative industries - there is now recognition that this theory does not encapsulate all the consequences of pursuing creative districts as centers of cultural symbols and consumption, including rising property values, decreasing vacancy rates and gentrification-led displacement.
As such, numerous problems arise with formulating policy and planning decisions around this neo-liberal creative class theory, including for artists themselves. This is because artists often move into underutilized areas of a city - where their presence can increase intrinsic value and generates investment - only to consequently raise the cost of living and change a place from one of cultural production to consumption. In short, artists - who are in part responsible for sparking gentrification because of their ability to create cultural capital that raises land and property values - quickly become victims of displacement themselves. Therefore, the proliferation of creative districts with the singular goal of economic development become problematic in and of itself. As sociologist Sharon Zukin - who extensively studied artist displacement in 1970s SoHo New York City - notes, the displacement of authentic culture and artisans in favor of an atmosphere that only values consumption is often doomed to failure, as a unique sense of place can become replaced by an atmosphere that reeks of illegitimacy and placeless-ness. Thus, it is in the best interest of cities and within their creative city policies to emphasize making creative districts sustainable, which includes supporting artists' ability to avoid displacement.
Sustainable Landfill Redesign in Chitwan, Nepal
Student Researchers: Alison Blaine and Molly Marcucilli
In Spring of 2019, MURP students Alison Blaine and Molly Marcucilli partnered for their Capstone Project with Clean City Cooperative, a non-profit organization based in Nepal working on sustainable waste management systems. Beginning with a small village south of Kathmandu called Chitwan, Clean City is hoping to establish a successful model that can be implemented elsewhere. Clean City's main focus is to work with the local municipality in redesigning the town's landfill site.
For the students' capstone, they researched and provided implementation strategies to address the negative environmental effects caused by a poorly sited and maintained landfill, which sits on a marsh in a national forest. Additionally, they provided suggestions and strategies for effective composting and recycling methods to lessen the amount of organic and plastic materials going into the landfill in the first place.
In November 2018, Associate Professor Jeremy Németh and Alessandro Rigolon published the study, "We're not in the business of housing:" Environmental gentrification and the nonprofitization of green infrastructure projects in the journal Cities. The article looks at social justice issues in the planning process of the 606, a rails-to-trails project located in Chicago.
Environmental gentrification, or the influx of wealthy residents to historically disenfranchised neighborhoods due to new green spaces, is an increasingly common phenomenon around the globe. In particular, investments in large green infrastructure projects (LGIPs) such as New York's High Line have contributed to displacing long-term low-income residents. Many consider environmental gentrification to be an important environmental justice issue, but most of this research has focused on distributional justice; that is, quantifying whether LGIPs have indeed contributed to gentrifying neighborhoods around them. Limited work has focused on procedural justice in the context of environmental gentrification, or how planning processes can shape project outcomes. This is a particularly critical oversight because many LGIP planning processes are led by nonprofits, a governance model that has already raised important equity concerns in the context of planning and maintenance of smaller neighborhood parks. Yet less is known about the impacts of park nonprofits leading LGIPs.
To address these gaps, we study the planning process of the 606, a rails-to-trails project located in Chicago, U.S. that contributed to environmental gentrification. Through interviews with key actors and a review of planning documents, we find that although delegation of leadership to park nonprofits has some benefits, a number of drawbacks also arise that might make gentrification a more likely outcome, namely the fragmentation of efforts to develop economically viable LGIPs while also preserving affordable housing. These findings suggest the need for cross-sectoral municipal planning efforts and for building more robust coalitions comprised of parks and housing nonprofits.
Highlights and findings from the research include:
In October 2009, Associate Professor Jeremy Németh published an article in the journal Urban Studies "Defining a Public: The Management of Privately Owned Public Space". This paper empirically explores the management of privately owned public space by examining 163 spaces produced through New York City's incentive zoning program, whereby developers provide and manage a public space in exchange for floor area ratio (FAR) bonuses. Developers of these bonus spaces employ a variety of management approaches, each correlating with common theories of spatial control in publicly owned spaces. However, as developer priorities are often fiscally driven, most approaches severely limit political, social and democratic functions of public space and produce a constricted definition of the public. As such, privately owned public spaces have deleterious effects on concepts of citizenship and representation, even as they become the new models for urban space provision and management.
Professor Makarewicz’s recently published study, Supporting Parent Engagement in Children’s Learning through Neighborhood Development and Improvements to Accessibility, shines a light on how external community conditions such as household resources, community amenities, housing stability, and accessibility can have a profound effect on parents’ abilities to engage in their children’s learning.
While planners typically do not address school issues, this study shows that officials looking to improve educational outcomes would do well to consider urban planning part of their toolkit. As Makarewicz’s research demonstrates, student achievement rises when families live in neighborhoods with jobs, grocery stores, parks, accessible transit and housing stability. Her findings suggest planning can contribute to student achievement through strategic investments in community amenities and services that bolster parents’ time, energy, and resources for educational engagement in their homes, schools, and communities.The study indicates that external influences explain two-thirds of the income-based student "achievement gap" with parent engagement being especially important. Yet, public school improvements focus on within-school reforms, downplaying community conditions that challenge engagement. This study of seventy diverse parents in Oakland, California, utilized interviews, time-use diaries, neighborhood data, and participant observation to understand how a combination of personal characteristics, household resources, community amenities, housing stability, and accessibility affected parents' abilities to engage in their children's learning. Findings suggest planning can contribute to student achievement through investments and coordination that bolster parents' time, energy, and resources for educational engagement in their homes, schools, and communities.
Dr. Carrie Makarewicz, an assistant professor in the urban and regional planning program, has been working on research to determine how sustainability may be affected by municipality-supported but citizen-driven projects and neighborhood engagement. While a project that is ongoing, Dr. Makarewicz's initial research findings are available and were presented earlier in 2017 at the Urban Affairs Association conference in Minneapolis.
The Urban Affairs Association conference is an interdisciplinary gathering of social scientists-including urban scholars, researchers and public service professionals-who study urban issues. The topics the conference touches upon includes housing, the environment, politics, transportation and more. The Urban Affairs Association also sponsors the Journal of Urban Affairs, an annual journal dedicated to urban research and policy analysis.
Dr. Makarewicz's research focuses on the Sustainable Neighborhoods Program (SNN), which originally began in Lakewood, Colorado and has also been adopted by the City and County of Denver. The program engages citizens through their neighborhoods and in their respective municipalities to work toward sustainability goals that are devised by themselves and their neighbors. The model is intended to increase community engagement, as well as action toward increased sustainability by instilling neighborhoods with a framework and general resources to accomplish desired tasks.
As neighborhoods complete sustainability-related projects, they are awarded points and can eventually be certified as a "sustainable neighborhood." As each municipality also has their own sustainability goals written into mayoral agendas and other city-led initiatives, SNN provides an opportunity to contribute to broader city efforts related to sustainability. At the Urban Affairs Association conference, audience members at Dr. Makarewicz's presentation were interested to hear more about this unique partnership between citizens (and their neighborhoods) and municipalities, and whether or not it has actually helped to promote more sustainable behaviors and actions. Dr. Makarewicz's initial findings have been multi-faceted, and include the following insights:
- SNN provides an avenue to engage residents with sustainability on their own terms but with city guidance
- The program is able to operate with fairly minimal overhead, so it has longevity for the foreseeable future
- In addition to the benefits for traditional measures of sustainability (e.g. reductions in energy and water use, lowering carbon footprint, reducing waste, etc.), it also has many social and civic benefits
- The program fosters cross-agency dialogue as well as connections between residents and different city departments, businesses and nonprofits
However, the program faces several obstacles, including:
- Its staffing structure could be more effective;
- More supports are needed to build the capacity of neighborhoods with fewer resources; and
- Greater outreach is desired so that residents who are not yet participating can learn more about it
Dr. Makarewicz's research is expected to conclude by the end of 2017,
where the full findings will be submitted for publication in a urban-related
In late September 2016, MURP students in Assistant Professor CTT and Associate Chair Jennifer Steffel Johnson's Urban Housing class participated in a community design charrette, which is an intensive, hands-on workshop that brings together numerous disciplines to explore architectural, planning and development options for particular areas or sites.
Urban Housing is an interdisciplinary class that includes urban and regional planning, architecture and landscape architecture students. "Design by Community Charrette" was conducted in partnership with professional architects, who serve as team leaders that organize the students and their progress on the project, as well with Housing Colorado, a statewide non-profit organization "working to educate, inform and advocate for
To solicit projects, Housing Colorado released a request for proposal for potential organizations to apply to be the focus of the charrette, with applications often coming from housing authorities, municipalities and non-profit housing organizations. With their proposal, applicants must have a real project and site in mind for which they want to implement an actionable plan.
For the Fall 2016 charrette, two applicants were chosen-Mile High Ministries' York Street Project in Denver, and Fort Collins Housing Authority and City of Fort Collins' Colorado Housing Project in Fort Collins. Fort Collins' project consisted of a 60-acre site of undeveloped, city-owned land. The site was zoned for up to 204 units and sought to develop a mixed used and mixed income design to provide diverse housing choices for
households of all types. Mile High Ministries requested assistance with the development of a mixed-used affordable housing community on blighted property in the northeast Denver neighborhood of Cole, which is located off of York Street.
During the class, students conducted precedent and existing conditions studies for several weeks on the actual sites to understand both the clients' needs as well as their particular projects. After the preliminary work was completed, the design charrette took place over three days on the designated sites, which included assistance from volunteer architects, landscape architects, planners, construction and finance professionals, market analysts and representatives from the client organizations. Together with the students, the teams assembled the designs for the projects. At the end of the three days, the project typically progresses enough so that the client can move forward in searching for funding to implement the final product. For instance, in past years, several charrette projects have been built or are currently under construction. It is estimated that the services provided by the students and volunteer professionals is worth upward of $60,000 per organization.
To conclude the design charrette, students presented their completed work at the Housing Colorado NOW! Annual Conference, which took place in Beavercreek, Colorado from October 5 to 7.
On September 15, 2017, students in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program at CU Denver-headed by the officers of the American Planning Association student chapter (APAS)-participated in the annual Park(ing) Day outside of the College of Architecture and Planning at 14th and Larimer in downtown Denver.
Park(ing) Day, which began in San Francisco in 2005, began as a way to temporarily turn a metered parking space in the city into a temporary public space as a way to showcase what amenities we often give up to accommodate parking in dense urban areas. From its original founding, Park(ing) Day is now an annual, open-source global event where citizens, professionals and activists create their versions of temporary public space in urban places around the world. As such, the event's mission is to, "call
attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat."
The theme of this year's Park(ing) Day contribution by MURP students was "urban jungle," which was constructed with the help of CU Denver students from the American Institute of Architects student chapter, as well as private engineering, planning and consulting firm Michael Baker International. Throughout the day, several dozen people stopped by the transformed parking spot to ask questions about the event, and drivers passing by at the nearby stoplight engaged with students.
Of this year's event, APAS President Kari Remmen said, "Park(ing) Day was a success because of the conversation it sparks. As planners, we need to understand the public opinion around the issues we are trying to address. Park(ing) Day gave us the opportunity to hear from people, as well as talk about the impacts of parking in our downtown urban spaces."
In addition to engaging the public, this year's contribution by MURP students focused on bringing together students in the first and second year of the urban planning program. Remmen noted that because the master's program is only a short two years, APAS has an important role to play in ensuring relationships are developed among students, as they are all future planners who will work together in the field.
Park(ing) Day takes place each year on the third Friday of September. Click here (http://parkingday.org/) for more information on the global event.
The task: Using salvaged, found, or recycled materials, create beautiful eco-furniture, architectural elements, clothing and other unique functional art of your own design that enhances user experience without spending much (or any) money.
High on the Colorado Plateau just outside of Thoreau, New Mexico in a desert landscape characterized by Juniper and Ponderosa Pine forests, six new bunkhouses and an outdoor kitchen create a welcome refuge for trekkers at the basecamp for Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions.
The objective: to foster a sense of community while reinterpreting the place based local vernacular which is rooted in the landscape. The earliest set of cabins, designed by Kurt Vonnegut Sr., architect-father of the renowned writer, are open air structures with retractable canvas flaps used to cover the window openings. Drawing on the camp’s rich “porch culture,” the new cabins are conceived as pairs of 200 sq ft bunk houses that share a singular roof over a common outdoor gathering space. Each cabin seeks strong connections to nature using apertures to maximize the experience of the outdoor environment. The doors, conceived of as movable walls are mounted on sliding tracks, that when opened connect each bunkhouse to a shared porch. Large glazing areas allow the interior to be flooded by the morning light and provide occupiable moments to contemplate the world outside.
Living Systems Vertical Studio operates in transition zones – exploring opportunities for living modular membrane systems on, in and thorough vertical building skin surfaces. How we design, thicken, program, grow and cultivate this membrane matrix of urban landscape becoming building, inside becoming outside, and nature becoming city, is essential to increase human health and well-being by growing the ratio, presences and potential for interaction with plants in living city landscapes.
Project: Dynamic Urban Fabric - Interchangeable modules on a draping hexagonal armature adapt to any situation. This fabric system features a structural, flexible armature with interchangeable modules, by drawing from natural patterns and processes.
Fuzzy C-Means (Abstract): Stephanie LorelliPostural Algorithm Controller: Jacob Segil, Josh Choice
Optogenetics: Interfacing with nerves using light.
Optical Nerve Cuff (link to paper)
Surface EMG: Reading voltages from muscle contraction. Most commonly used non-invasive technique for myoelectric prosthetics.
Implantable EMG (link to paper)
Electrical Stimulation for management of phantom limb pain (link to paper)
Dr. Cathy BodineOthers Involved: Gavin Phillips Student Researcher:Mackenzie Christensen (Former Masters Student) Funding: Capsule (formerly Qualcomm Life)
In 2010, there were 35.6 million people worldwide living with some form of dementia. This number is expected to increase to 65.7 million worldwide by 2030 and 115.4 million by 2050. This growing population of people living with dementia faces a common challenge - falls. This includes not only addressing the injuries resulting from a fall, but being aware a fall occurred at all. The device developed through this project seeks to monitor the position of a long-term resident living with dementia and automatically report, in real-time, when a fall has occurred. Further extension of the device will allow it to detect the type and direction of each fall, information that is vital in proper treatment.