Revitalizing the Entertainment District in Lone Tree, Colorado

Date: 1/1/2022 - 5/31/2022

Revitalizing the Entertainment District in Lone Tree, Colorado

Student Researcher: Claire Leighou

Client: City of Lone Tree
 
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The Entertainment District in Lone Tree, Colorado is a center occupied by restaurants, a movie theater, bowling alley, and indoor skydiving facility. Multiple vacancies and an auto-oriented design prevent this space from reaching its full potential and becoming an entertainment destination. Through the use of infill development and addition of new uses, including residential and mixed-use buildings, this site can become the thriving and exciting heart of Lone Tree. 

 


Data Dissemination on the High Line Canal

Date: 1/1/2022 - 5/31/2022

Data Dissemination on the High Line Canal

Student Researcher: Kelsey Lindquist

Client: High Line Canal Conservancy
 
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The High Line Canal is a 71-mile linear park that is surrounded and managed by 11 governmental jurisdictions. I worked with the High Line Canal Conservancy to establish a method for cleaning, organizing, storing, and disseminating data. The Conservancy’s datasets were systematically cleaned and updated, then uploaded to an online data repository hosted by ArcGIS Hub. The data repository created in this project will be a hub for information on the Canal. The jurisdictions and the public will be able to access and download data on the Canal, PDF maps, and review the current plans on the Canal. This data repository will serve as a base for the Conservancy to build from as they compile and create more information on the Canal. 

 


Gunnison County Manufactured Housing Strategy

Date: 1/1/2022 - 5/31/2022

Gunnison County Manufactured Housing Strategy

Student Researcher: Megan Miles

Client: Department of Community and Economic Development, Gunnison County
 
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Mobile home parks (MHPs) provide a critical source of affordable housing and low-income homeownership opportunities, especially in rural and mountain communities experiencing a surge in demand for affordable housing.  Mobile home park residents face unique housing challenges, and residents in Gunnison County have recently raised concerns about their treatment from landlords, inadequacy of park infrastructure, rising rents, and the possibility of displacement. The Gunnison County Manufactured Housing Strategy identifies factors that contribute to housing instability in Gunnison’s mobile home parks and presents recommendations to preserve and protect existing parks, improve residents’ quality of life, and increase the capacity of residents to better advocate for themselves.  This project offers a way to better understand and support an integral but often overlooked source of affordable housing and is intended to be used as a resource for local policy makers, government leaders, and service providers.  

 


Future Mobility Solutions in Thornton, Colorado

Date: 1/1/2022 - 5/31/2022

Future Mobility Solutions in Thornton, Colorado

Student Researcher: Dan Olken

Client: City of Thornton
 
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The City of Thornton, Colorado is in the early stage of planning for shared micromobility and car share to shift some of the trips away from of single occupancy vehicles for commuting and non-work. The objective of this project sought to identify locations and typologies for neighborhood micromobility hubs that can serve as points of interconnection between these new modes and existing transit. Hub typologies were also identified with smaller to larger hubs in parks, bus stops, and larger stations for Park & Ride and N-Line Commuter rail providing access to these shared services, including cargobike share, and secure parking for personal devices. 

 


The Colorado Code Project: Improving Food Access Using Land Use Code

Date: 1/1/2022 - 5/31/2022

The Colorado Code Project: Improving Food Access Using Land Use Code

Student Researcher: Ayanna Reed

Client: Healthy Communities Committee, American Planning Association
 
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The purpose of this project is to provide a guidebook for planners to learn what type of land use code language can be adapted for equitable access to healthy food. Often there is a challenge in translating goals expressed in comprehensive and long-range plans into applicable, practical land use code and planning regulations. However, there is no singular template, guide, or resource available to Colorado planners to aid in implementing food access goals through local land use code.  Through the efforts of this project, comprehensive planning for health can be accomplished through land use codes. 

 


City Park Alliance Strategic Project Identification

Date: 1/1/2022 - 5/31/2022

City Park Alliance Strategic Project Identification

Student Researcher: Shaima Shahbaz

Client: City Park Alliance
 
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City Park Alliance (CPA) is a nonprofit organization serving as a community voice and advocate for the preservation and improvement of Denver’s City Park. This project focused on assisting CPA in its effort to identify projects in the City Park Master Plan (CPMP) that aligned with CPA’s Mission, Vision, and general community sentiment. By conducting surveys and interviews with stakeholders, the author assisted the CPA board in clarifying their priorities as a group, gathered up-to-date insights on park visitor preferences, renewed discussions with community organizations and institutional partners, and developed a mechanism to rank CPMP projects. A project prioritization matrix was the mechanism used to rank and filter down the list of 157 projects for consideration from the CPMP to six final projects recommended for CPA’s implementation. 

 


West Littleton Boulevard: The Story of "Mid Mod Mile"

Date: 1/1/2022 - 5/31/2022

West Littleton Boulevard: The Story of "Mid Mod Mile"

Student Researcher: Reese Shaw

Client: City of Littleton
 
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This project focuses on the story of West Littleton Boulevard, also known as “Mid Mod Mile” due to its collection of commercial Mid-Century Modern buildings. The boulevard was a major economic engine in the 1960s and 1970s, but now there are perceptions that businesses are under-performing. The City of Littleton may be conducting an area plan for the corridor and wishes to obtain a clear picture of its social, historic, economic, and physical attributes to create a vision of the future.  

 


Colorado Main Street Guidebook: Creating and Preserving Historic Main Street Districts in Colorado

Date: 1/1/2022 - 5/31/2022

Colorado Main Street Guidebook: Creating and Preserving Historic Main Street Districts in Colorado

Student Researcher: Jesse Sheets

Client: Colorado Main Street Program, Department of Local Affairs
 
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The goal of this project was to assist the Colorado Main Street Program in developing a Guidebook for establishing historic Main Street districts and how to sustainably maintain current historic districts. This Guidebook will aid small towns in accessing vital resources that can benefit their communities. By focusing on historic preservation, the legacy of Colorado’s historic downtowns can be secured for future generations. The deliverables for this Capstone consisted of providing supplemental information for six chapters of the Guidebook, which was already in development. The chapters are titled “Introduction and District Character”, “District Sustainability and Resilience”, “Local Government and Community Policy”, “Main Street Districts Infrastructure”, “Public Amenities”, and “Financing District Improvements”.

 


Montbello on the Move: Connecting Community through Microtransit

Date: 1/1/2022 - 5/31/2022

Montbello on the Move: Connecting Community through Microtransit

Student Researcher: Rey H. Sosa

Client: Denver DOTI
 
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This capstone report looks at community engagement and response to the Montbello Connector microtransit pilot program. The service was launched in October 2021 by the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI). Through innovative and community-led projects, DOTI wants to ensure that all Denverites have access to safe and reliable transportation. DOTI would like to know what the community response has been since launch and will use the findings from this report to move forward with the microtransit program.

 


Highway 112 Revitalization

Date: 1/1/2022 - 5/31/2022

Highway 112 Revitalization

Student Researcher: Tiffany Tran

Client: Town of Center
 
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The rural Town of Center has a population of just under 2,200 residents and is situated in Rio Grande and Saguache County three and half hours southwest of Denver, Colorado. After facing stagnant population and development in the last several decades, six properties have been purchased and begun development along Center’s business district along Worth Street. Center now has plans to further invest in their second main street, Highway 112 to improve street conditions, address speeding issues, and elevate gateway signage to spur economic development within Worth Street’s business district as a part of the Town’s 2018 Economic Development Plan.

 


Reconnecting to Nature: Sand Creek and Bluff Lake

Date: 1/1/2022 - 5/31/2022

Reconnecting to Nature: Sand Creek and Bluff Lake

Student Researcher: Derek Updegrove

Client: Biohabitats
 
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As the Metro Denver Nature Alliance gears up to create the Vision for Nature + People planning document, I generated a case study highlighting Biohabitats' Regional Conservation Assessment data set as a tool for local organizations to advocate for access to their nature-based programming. The project involved working with the Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership and Bluff Lake Nature Center to evaluate issues of habitat health in adjacent areas as well as gaps in accessibility to and from the Montbello neighborhood.

 


Sustainable Development: Incorporating Sustainability into Thornton's Development and Zoning Code

Date: 1/1/2022 - 5/31/2022

Sustainable Development: Incorporating Sustainability into Thornton's Development and Zoning Code

Student Researcher: Karlyn Vasan and Kyle Hendricks

Client: City of Thornton
 
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The City of Thornton’s current zoning code does not reflect or reinforce the vision and goals of the 2020 Comprehensive Plan, Sustainability Action Agenda, and Energy Action Plan. The City will embark on a project to update its code in 2022 and wants to incorporate sustainability principles into the new development code and design standards.

 


Community-Based Narrative Story Maps of the Lost Auraria Neighborhood

Date: 11/1/2021
Principal Researchers: Brian Page

Unit: Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences 

Project Abstract: This research addresses the relationship of CU Denver to its urban renewal roots.  The goal of this place-based project is to acknowledge, document, and commemorate what was removed and those who were displaced in the early 1970s to make way for the Auraria campus.  The project uses digital methods to develop and disseminate new information about the lost Auraria neighborhood.  Over the past several years, we created a robust historical GIS for the original Auraria district – an area of more than one and a half square miles -- featuring six high-resolution georeferenced digitized map layers and six high-resolution georeferenced digitized aerial photographic layers.  This project uses these GIS layers to generate prototype narrative story maps that combine a) digital visualizations of the old neighborhood, and b) digital stories based upon the experiences of people who once lived and worked in the district.  The research is being conducted in consultation with our community partner, the Auraria Historical Advocacy Council (AHAC).  The ultimate aim of the research is to use the prototype story maps as the basis of multi-year external grant proposals to the State Historical Fund at History Colorado and the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) Digital Humanities Advancement Grants program.

brian-page-editedBrian Page Bio: I am Brian Page and I have a PhD in Geography from UC Berkeley.  I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences at CU Denver, where I have been on the faculty since 1992.  I specialize in research on the historical development of urban places from a political-economic perspective using archival methods, visual methods, field study, and geospatial science.  Regionally, I have active interests in both the United States and China.  Specific research topics include urban landscape history, digital landscape reconstruction, urban renewal and redevelopment, gentrification, social displacement, historic preservation, and the relationship of cities to the natural environmental.  My research has been supported by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Newberry Library, History Colorado, and the University of Colorado Denver. 






Photo Credit:  Liza Lagman Sperl


Educational and Labor Market Outcomes of Place-Based Scholarship Programs: Evidence from the Denver Scholarship Foundation

Date: 11/1/2021
Principal Researchers: Hani Mansour and Brian Duncan

Unit: Department of Economics

Project Abstract: This project will evaluate the effects of a place-based scholarship program, administered by the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF), on post-secondary educational and labor market outcomes. Eligibility for the DSF scholarships are based on residency, merit, and financial need. Administrative student records from DSF and Denver Public Schools will be used to establish eligibility and identify key socioeconomic student characteristics. These data will then be combined with college enrollment and completion data from the National Students Clearinghouse, and with labor market outcomes drawn from Colorado’s unemployment insurance system. 

mansour-editedHani Mansour Bio: Hani Mansour is a professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara . His research lies at the intersection of labor economics, development economics, and the economics of gender.  Specifically, his recent research examines the labor market effects of U.S immigration enforcement policies, and the career progression of female politicians. Professor Mansour is an IZA Research Fellow and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Population Economics.







duncan-brian-editedBrian Duncan Bio:
Brian Duncan is a professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver.  His research focuses on the economics of generosity, specifically examining the conflicting motives individuals have for contributing to charitable causes.  Professor Duncan has also written on the economic incentives of foster care and adoption, and on the intergenerational progress of the descendants of Mexican immigrants.  He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.







Photo Credit: Denver Scholarship Foundation


Denver’s Last Food Mile: The People and Patterns of Third-Party Food Delivery in Denver, Colorado

Date: 11/1/2021
Principal Researchers: Gregory L Simon

Unit: Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences

Project Abstract: Food delivery from restaurants, stores and delivery drivers using online apps such as Grubhub and Instacart has skyrocketed over the past few years with 13.9% revenue growth in 2021 alone. Using a robust online survey, semi-structured interviews and analysis of driving data, this research will examine the effects of third-party food delivery platforms on restaurants, stores, and delivery drivers in Denver, CO. Our research will gather data on food delivery around four themes: trends and governance, demographics and participation, experiences and vulnerabilities, and patterns and movements. We expect our findings will reveal key insights concerning the labor, business, and mobility impacts of this emerging trend in Denver across the urban-suburban gradient and within different demographic communities. A number of key community stakeholders have been enlisted to ensure our research design addresses the most relevant and pressing issues facing Denver.

Bio: Gregory Simon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver. He holds several other affiliated faculty positions at both CU Denver and CU Boulder. Dr. Simon earned his PhD in Geography from the University Washington and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University where he was a Principal Investigator in the Spatial History Project Lab. He has subsequently held visiting scholar positions at Stanford, UCLA and ETH Zurich. Among other professional appointments, Dr. Simon is the Environment and Society Section Editor for the journal Geography Compass. He served as the Chair of the Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers and has been a Core Advisor to the United Nations Foundation. Dr. Simon’s research recognizes that in both local and global contexts, humans are radically modifying the environment and producing new societal risks, which disproportionately impact marginalized communities. With these developments in mind, his program of research has examined topics ranging from wildfires and outdoor recreation in the American West to sustainable development and climate change mitigation initiatives in India. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation on several occasions. His most recent book is titled Flame and Fortune in the American West (University of California Press). Dr. Simon is honored to receive a Presidential Initiative Research Award as he works with talented CU Denver students and community partners to investigate the rise and implications of platform-based food delivery in Denver, Colorado. 


Photo Credit: CNN.com


The role of green stormwater infrastructure in supporting plant biodiversity and ecosystem services along an urban greenway in Colorado

Date: 11/1/2021
Principal Researchers: Laurel Hartley and Christina Alba

Unit: Department of Integrative Biology

Project Abstract: This project is a collaboration among researchers from the Department of Integrative Biology and Denver Botanic Gardens, with a community-building and outreach partnership with the High Line Canal Conservancy. Colorado is a critical headwater state that will face increasing water scarcity and water quality issues under climate change. Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI), which leverages natural systems and hydrology to hold and clean incoming stormwater, is one tool for managing this resource challenge. The High Line Canal, a 71-mile greenway that passes within one mile of 350,000 urban dwellers along Colorado’s semi-arid Front Range, is currently being enhanced with GSI, with exceptional potential to provide ecological and socio-economic benefits to the surrounding community. With this funding, we will adapt our current, pilot-scale research on how GSI shapes plant diversity and soil quality to be deployed by jurisdictional partners at the scale of the entire Canal. We will also use this funding to conduct public outreach and incorporate graduate student education components into our research efforts. Finally, the work will be integrated into an undergraduate research experience course in urban ecology at CU Denver. 

laurel-hartley-editedLaurel Hartley Bio: Laurel Hartley PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Colorado Denver. Dr. Hartley is an Associate Professor of Integrative Biology and a CU President’s Teaching Scholar. She joined the CU Denver faculty after completing a postdoctoral position at Michigan State University and a PhD in Biology at Colorado State University. Dr. Hartley conducts research in both ecology and science education. Dr. Hartley has studied the effects of introduced bubonic plague on both urban and rural black-tailed prairie dog communities in Colorado. She is interested in indirect effects of disease on ecological communities and ecosystem processes. Additionally, Dr. Hartley heads the Denver site for the Urban Wildlife Information Network, which is a cross city collaboration to understand more about how factors of urbanization influence wildlife biodiversity. As part of this work, she studies how undergraduate students can contribute to authentic ecological research through Course Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs). Students at CU Denver tag photos of urban wildlife from the 40 wildlife cameras in Denver. Dr. Hartley is excited to start this new urban greenway project because it is a chance to further her research in urban ecology, to work with former graduate school colleague Christina Alba, and to bring another facet of urban ecology to students who take the Urban Ecology CURE at CU Denver.

chrissy-alba-editedpngChristina Alba Bio: 
Christina Alba PhD, Assistant Research Scientist, Denver Botanic Gardens, Affiliate Faculty, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Colorado Denver. Christina Alba is an assistant research scientist at Denver Botanic Gardens. She studies the ecological processes that shape plant diversity and distributions across various scales of organization--from individual plants, to populations, to entire communities. She has studied how biological invasions, grazing, climate change, fire, and rapid adaptation to novel environments affect plant biodiversity. Her current research addresses how in situ vegetation and soils shape the function of green stormwater infrastructure in urban green spaces. Dr. Alba holds a PhD in Ecology from Colorado State University and completed postdoctoral research at the University of Florida and at the Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Botany.





Photo Credit: Denver Water


Developing protocols to better characterize and utilize networks of low-cost air quality monitors to inform public health and urban planning

Date: 11/1/2021
Principal Researchers: Priyanka deSouza and Ben Crawford

Unit: Department of Urban & Regional Planning and Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences 

Project Abstract: Low-cost monitoring networks are increasingly being used to supplement regulatory networks and to aid in a neighborhood-scale understanding of air pollution levels. However, the variability and uncertainty inherent in the measurements from such devices presents many challenges. Little is known, for example, about the lifetime of such sensors under different site conditions, or what the sensitivity of overall spatial and temporal trends from low-cost monitoring networks is to different calibration algorithms. Finally, the utility of low-cost monitoring networks in detecting wildfires and evaluating indoor-outdoor filtration rates for different urban typologies has been under-characterized. The former use-case is especially important as many smartphone apps draw on data from low-cost sensors to issue public health warnings about wildfire smoke. Our study aims to fill in these gaps using a dense national network of low-cost sensors deployed in various environmental conditions. It aims to apply these findings to the network: Love My Air consisting of low-cost monitors deployed in public schools in Denver.

priyanka-editedPriyanka deSouza Bio: Priyanka deSouza (Lead PI) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Studies at the University of Colorado Denver. Her research focuses on 1) developing new methods to fill in the gaps of air pollution data using low-cost sensors and satellite data, 2) understanding the health impacts of air pollution and climate change exposures on vulnerable populations, 3) investigating the political economy of air pollution to understand barriers to effective regulatory action. Priyanka has a BTech and MTech in Energy Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, an MSc in Environmental Change and Management and an MBA from the University of Oxford where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and a PhD in Urban Studies and Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Priyanka has also served as a consultant for the United Nations Environment Program and the World Health Organization.




bc-editedBen Crawford Bio: Ben Crawford (PI) is an Assistant Professor in the Geography and Environmental Sciences Department at the University of Colorado Denver. His research focuses on investigating atmospheric processes in urban areas, including air pollution, using data from sensor networks, satellites, and models. Before coming to Colorado in 2019, Ben was a postdoc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and completed his graduate studies at the University of British Columbia.







Photo Credit: Clarity.io


Seeking Housing Affordability in the Denver Metro Area: Detailing the causes and outcomes of the housing crisis to inform local and national solutions

Date: 11/1/2021
Principal Researchers: Carrie Makarewicz

Unit: Department of Urban & Regional Planning

Project Abstract: Homelessness, housing cost burden, and the threat of eviction have reached crisis levels in Metro Denver and other regions in Colorado and the U.S. Researchers and service providers know the number one reason people experience homelessness in Metro Denver is the lack of attainable housing. But while federal, state, and local governments, foundations, and nonprofits are working to address various components of the housing crisis, developers continue to build luxury homes and apartments, with a primary focus on single family homes—a housing product that is least suitable for most households in the region, now and in the future. To shift new housing development to housing prices and types that are most needed, this project asks several questions to uncover the reasons for the significant mismatch between supply and demand. To answer our questions, we employ a mixed-methods approach using detailed historical, current, and proposed parcel-level housing information compared to detailed household information, including databases on unhoused individuals and other vulnerable populations, to identify: a) historical, current and potential patterns of housing development in relation to land use policies, local conditions, and economic influences, and b) the specific housing gaps at small geographies throughout the region. Through qualitative information from focus groups with developers and local governments, we test our assumptions on the causes for the extreme affordability gap, thereby improving our ability to inform changes to local policies, land use codes, and housing advocacy strategies that will encourage more substantial production of affordable and attainable housing.


carrie-editedCarrie Makarewicz Bio: Dr. Makarewicz is an associate professor in Urban & Regional Planning at CU Denver. She researches the implications for individuals from the interactions among public and private sector investments and policies for housing, transportation, neighborhoods, and schools. Her focuses include multi-modal transportation, affordable housing, public schools, community development, and disaster recovery. She has been a change management consultant, city planner, and policy analyst. She has a BBA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a Master’s in Urban Planning & Public Affairs from the University of Illinois-Chicago, and a Ph.D. in City & Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.





Photo Credit: Denver Post


Pueblo West Community Parks

Date: 9/1/2017 - 8/1/2018
Location: Pueblo West, CO

Pueblo West Metropolitan District initially contacted the CCCD in the Fall of 2017 regarding the development of a pocket park intended to be constructed as part of an athletic complex long range development plan. Over time, it became evident that the site was just one of several options to be considered for the location of a community park within the rapidly developing district. With the specific location of the park to be determined, this project sought to offer the community a flexible, "kit of parks" approach that considered a wide range design elements depending on the size of the available land and funding options.

The project included a proposal for three park layouts: small (1 acre), medium (1.5 acres), and large (1.75 acres). When a site was ultimately selected and funding became available, these could in turn act as guidelines along with County standards and regulations to give the community of what the park could reasonably hold and how much it would cost to build. The flexible and modular nature of the approach furthermore enabled the possibility of future expansion should opportunities of available land and funding arise. As the project team met with the community, the desire for multiple, dispersed park options was preferred over a central park model that would almost certainly require users to drive to. In this sense, the "kit of parks" approach aligned with the needs of this expanding community.

Field Supervisor: Jeff Wood
CCCD Team: Gregory Allen Davidson, Ivy Steele
DOLA Regional Managers: Lee Merkel, Crestina Martinez
Community Collaborators: Darrin Tangeman, District Manager; Bradley Curtis, Public Works Director; Carol Cosby, Parks and Recreation Director


Ridgway Performing Arts Stage

Date: 8/8/2016
Others Involved: Andy Paddock Student Researcher:Jordan Borkovec Megan Brankamp CK Dohrmann DJ Gratzer Marcus Johnson Eva Kirkman Afsaneh Makooi Brian Martin Laura Mears Aaron Michalak Jenna Nelson Lauren Peterson Nathan Sandberg Jennifer Reece Christine Walsh Faculty Advisor: Rick Sommerfeld
Craig Cherry, TA

The Ridgway Performing Arts Stage was derived from an intense study of amplified acoustics and crowd visibility. After meeting with several consultants it was determined that a singular roof and back storage wall would best allow amplified music to be played in the town park. This initial gesture would also maximize visibility for the crowd, giving views to the performance and surrounding mountains, while denying views to the parking lot beyond. The material palette pulls from the historical town or Ridgway. Once a railroad stop on the Uncompaghre River, Ridgway served the nearby towns of Ouray and Telluride. The town is now considered the Gateway to the San Juan Mountains. Reclaimed barn wood gives warmth to the stage, which is contrasted by the Core-ten roof and fascia. The metal will patina to red, matching many of the historic elements in town.