Auraria campus 2019 greenhouse gas inventory

Date: 1/21/20 - 5/15/20
Jackie Slocombe, Auraria Campus Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Auraria Campus FY2019 Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Climate Action Game Plan
Student Researcher:
 Jackie Slocombe

Link to Capstone Poster   
Link to Executive Summary 

This capstone quantifies the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to activity on the Auraria Campus during Fiscal Year 2019 and provides high-level suggestions on how to approach their forthcoming Climate Action Plan. In 2008, the three academic institutions comprising the Auraria campus signed the American Colleges and University’s President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), pledging to reduce campus emissions 20% (below 2008 levels) by 2020, 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. However, a 2018 scientific reports from the IPCC suggest that more immediate and aggressive reductions are required to prevent catastrophic warming, and the State of Colorado has passed a law calling for statewide reductions of 26% by 2025, 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2050. The Auraria Sustainable Campus Program (ASCP)—the student-fee funded sustainability program on campus—is spearheading a campus-wide climate action planning process, set to commence this summer and conclude in December 2020 with a renewed commitment to science-based reduction targets. This GHG inventory will serve as the blueprint for those conversations.

Agricultural land policy evaluation in western Colorado

Date: 1/21/20 - 5/15/20
Ella Sanders, Agricultural Land Policy in Western Colorado

Growing the Regional Food System through Land Use Policies in Garfield, Pitkin, and Eagle Counties
Student Researcher:
 Ella Sanders

Link to Capstone Poster  
Link to Executive Summary 

This project is a policy evaluation of land use and open space policies in Garfield, Eagle, and Pitkin Counties, with the intent to identify ways in which land, water, and markets can be made more accessible to first generation farmers. Land use codes, comprehensive plans, open space policies, and nonprofit programs were evaluated for each county. From here, policy recommendations are provided to help the Safe and Abundant Nutrition Alliance (SANA) advocate for policies that encourage first generation farming and grow the regional food system. 

16th Avenue: Gateway into downtown Denver

Date: 1/21/20 - 5/15/20
Dana Falk, 16th Street Gateway

16th Avenue: A Gateway into Downtown Denver
Student Researcher:
 Dana Falk

Link to Capstone Poster     
Link to Executive Summary 

Sixteenth Avenue (16th Avenue), as it enters Downtown Denver, serves as a major gateway connecting the east central neighborhoods to Upper Downtown. As 16th Avenue drops into Downtown, there is a need for mobility improvements to facilitate placemaking as benefits a gateway. Enhancing the right-of-way to promote active mobility along 16th Avenue better connects the gateway to the 16th Street Mall and Upper Downtown, highlights the connection to The 5280 Trail (at Sherman Street), creates a safer bicycle connection, and improves the pedestrian realm to facilitate placemaking. This project rethinks right-of-way space allocation to prioritize the experience for pedestrians and bicyclists entering, and exiting, Downtown via active transportation modes. Redesigning mobility is the first stage in creating a vibrant public place along 16th Avenue.

Community within a school opportunity study

Date: 1/21/20 - 5/15/20
Carrie Briscoe, Community within a School

Community Within a School: An Redevelopment Opportunity Study
Student Researcher:
 Carrie Briscoe

Link to Capstone Poster      
Link to Executive Summary 

Saddled with crumbling facilities and escalating operating costs on an already-constrained budget, the client, Space Inc, and the Clear Creek School District seek to understand if a vacant school can regain its position as a community hub that fills the gaps in unmet community needs through an adaptive reuse project. The “Community within a School” concept infers there is an opportunity for the Idaho Springs community as well as the school district to realize broader community goals and objectives within this existing building and site. A primary objective for this project is predicated on creating access to services that contribute to and foster a vibrant and self-sufficient rural community. Through this redevelopment opportunity study, the client can glean best practices for adaptive reuse and see how other communities have reimagined old school buildings; learn the community's top needs; and, receive recommendations for how the building and site can be reprogrammed to start meeting those needs.

Templates for affordable housing

Date: 1/21/20 - 5/15/20
Caitlin Jacobshagen, Landscape/Architecture Templates for Affordable Housing

Landscape, Architecture, and Parking Templates for Affordable and Accessible Housing
Student Researcher:
 Caitlin Jacobshagen

Link to Capstone Poster      
Link to Executive Summary 

The City of Pueblo’s Community Commission on Housing and Homelessness (CCHH) has found that it is more difficult for developers to build affordable and accessible housing within the City of Pueblo due to local code requirements that increase development costs. This capstone project focused on reducing development costs in the City of Pueblo in order to encourage the development of affordable and accessible housing by completing three objectives. The first was to explore the feasibility and effectiveness of providing pre-certified or non-certified landscape, architecture, and parking templates to developers to reduce their design and engineering costs. The second was to provide the City of Pueblo with policy recommendations concerning templates, ways to reduce development costs, and ways to encourage affordable and accessible housing development. The third objective was to conceptualize a potential template system by creating sample templates.

Prioritization model for projects in Westminster, CO

Date: 1/21/20 - 5/15/20
Allison Diehl, Prioritization Model for Projects in Westminster

Prioritization Model for Projects in Westminster, Colorado
Student Researcher: 
Allison Diehl

Link to Capstone Poster   
Link to Executive Summary

The purpose of this Capstone project is to create a model for prioritizing transportation projects for the City of Westminster as they prepare for their first Transportation and Mobility Plan. Specifically, the capstone creates a customized version of the ActiveTrans Priority Tool (APT) to fit the vision and goals of the City’s TMP. This tool will guide the prioritization and decision making for the implementation and funding of transportation projects in Westminster.

Denver nonprofit displacement assessment

Date: 1/21/20 - 5/15/20
Alicia Leitgeb, Denver Nonprofit Displacement Assessment

Denver Nonprofit Displacement Assessment
Student Researcher: 
Alicia Leitgeb

Link to Capstone Poster    
Link to Executive Summary 

Nonprofit organizations are an essential part of a community’s fabric. They provide key services and often act as a bridge between citizens and public sector agencies. However, much like households, nonprofits can experience displacement as real estate costs rise. In order to gain a better understanding of the current landscape of nonprofit real estate needs and potential displacement pressure in Denver, a survey is conducted biennially. This iteration of the Nonprofit Displacement Survey is open to the entire Denver metropolitan region, as the impacts of gentrification can spill across municipal borders and result in regional displacement pressure. This report serves as Phase I of the assessment and focuses on how to best spatially display the data collected to answer the questions: Where were nonprofits located? Where are they located now? Why have they moved? Where are they going next?

Envisioning the future for the Auraria campus

Date: 1/21/20 - 5/15/20
Alex Sterling, Envisioning the Future for the Auraria Campus

Envisioning the future for the Auraria Campus: A study of physical connections, campus vitality, and how to position Auraria for the rest of the 21st century
Student Researcher: 
Alex Sterling

Link to Capstone Poster     
Link to Executive Summary 

The Auraria Campus is a tremendous educational asset for Denver, and its downtown location makes it well positioned to benefit from the continued resurgence of downtown and continued interest in further new development. Unfortunately, the campus is also a victim of Denver’s former neglect of downtown and is physically cut-off from surrounding neighborhoods by large arterial roadways, designed with the commuting student in mind, and has become somewhat of an island when compared with the rest of its surroundings.

In response to these conditions, this capstone had three main goals, which were to explore ways to better connect the campus physically with its surroundings, how campus vitality can be improved as a movement away from its established identity as a commuter campus, and what can be done to best position the campus for the 21st century. This capstone will help campus leadership have meaningful discussions regarding the exciting future for Auraria will hopefully be a foundational resource that will be relied upon to improve physical connections, enliven the campus, and ensure its future success in a constantly evolving educational landscape.

Holiday Shopping Center Redevelopment Plan

Date: 1/21/20 - 5/15/20
Alex Hemmer, Holiday Shopping Center Redevelopment Plan
Student Researcher:Alex Hemmer

Holiday Shopping Center Redevelopment Plan

Link to Capstone Poster    
Link to Executive Summary

The goal of this report is to identify the possibilities that the site presents for community focused infill development, as well as how to implement those ideas. The Holiday Shopping Center redevelopment is an opportunity to include this community in the benefits of growth that has been largely focused on new suburban edge development. The path forward will rely on a collaboration between developer, owner, and the city. Creating not only new housing, but retail on this site, is an investment that can uplift families and the community.

Green gentrification or ‘just green enough’: Do park location, size and function affect whether a place gentrifies or not?

Date: 7/4/19
Principal Researchers: Jeremy Németh, Ph.D
Alessandro Rigolon

In July 2019, CU Denver Urban and Regional Planning Professor Jeremy Németh and Alessandro Rigolon from the University of Utah's Department of City and Metropolitan Planning (formerly the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) published a study in the journal Urban Studies titled "Green gentrification or ‘just green enough’: Do park location, size and function affect whether a place gentrifies or not?" 


Recent research shows that the establishment of new parks in historically disinvested  neighborhoods can result in housing price increases and the displacement of low-income people of color. Some suggest that a ‘just green enough’ approach, in particular its call for the creation of small parks and nearby affordable housing, can reduce the chances of this phenomenon some call ‘green gentrification’. Yet, no study has tested these claims empirically across a sample of diverse cities.

Focusing on 10 cities in the United States, we run multilevel logistic regressions to uncover whether the location (distance from downtown), size and function (active transportation) of new parks built in the 2000–2008 and 2008–2015 periods predict whether the census tracts around them gentrified. The study finds that park function and location are strong predictors of gentrification, whereas park size is not. In particular, new greenway parks with an active transportation component built in the 2008–2015 period triggered gentrification more than other park types, and new parks located closer to downtown tend to foster gentrification more than parks on a city’s outskirts. These findings call into question the ‘just green enough’ claim that small parks foster green gentrification less than larger parks do.

More Information: Click here to read the full article.

Natural resources strategic plan

Date: 1/1/19 - 5/17/19
Natural Resources Strategic Plan 2019 Capstone by Dillon Mcbride

Natural Resources Strategic Plan
Student Researcher: 
Dillon McBride

In 2019 Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) released the Game Plan for a Healthy City (Game Plan) update which establishes policies, goals, and a vision for the future of Denver Parks. The Game Plan is “a citywide parks and recreation plan for the next 20 years that proclaims easy access to parks and open space is a basic right for all residents” (Game Plan). The Game Plan seeks to establish climate resilient and sustainable landscapes, park, parkway, and greenway standards for the future of Denver Parks. The Game Plan guiding principles are every drop, every person, every dollar, and uniquely Denver (Game Plan).

The Natural Resources Strategic Plan (NRSP), will keep consistent with the goals outlined in the Game Plan by identifying priority park space, and DPR maintained areas that are candidates for landscape conversion, and water saving opportunities. While landscape typology planning takes into consideration a wide variety of inputs, the primary objective of this planning process is saving water and reduced maintenance costs for the Denver Parks and Recreation park system. Therefore, the Game Plan guiding principle of “Every Drop” is the driving force behind the Natural Resources Strategic Plan.

The Natural Resource Strategic Plan, 2019 (NRSP) is an actionable planning document that outlines priority parks for water saving opportunities and turf conversions over the next six years. The need for this strategic plan derives from: (1) the need for water conservation in Denver Parks in the face of climate change and limited resources; and (2) low or under performing landscape typologies in Denver Parks. Each theme is broken down to identify specific projects within the DPR system that qualify as either a water-saving project or a landscape conversion project. Water-saving projects will focus on native vegetation within upland, riparian, and wetland typologies in Denver Parks that are being irrigated and should be turned off of irrigation. Landscape conversion projects will focus on bluegrass and bluegrass forested landscape typologies within Denver parks that are adjacent to a waterbody, and should be converted to riparian or native vegetation.

Historic Preservation and Disaster Recovery

Date: 7/1/19
Principal Researchers: Andrew Rumbach and Douglas Appler (University of Kentucky)

Andrew Rumbach and Douglas Appler (Associate Professor of Historic Preservation at the University of Kentucky) have written a new article on the role of the Main Street Program in post-disaster recovery plans and processes. Through case studies of disasters in Iowa, Colorado and Vermont, they find that the Main Street program has helped preservationists to overcome common barriers in recovery by bringing together diverse stakeholders, leveraging the strengths of pre-disaster networks and relationships, and linking the restoration and protection of historic resources to economic recovery. The paper establishes a new line of inquiry about collaborative governance approaches to historic preservation and disaster management.

The paper will appear in the Fall 2019 issue of the Journal of Preservation Education and Research.

Modeling the Vulnerability of Mobile Home Parks to Disaster: A Longitudinal Study of Affordable Housing Loss After Hurricane Michael

Date: 1/1/19
Principal Researchers: Andrew Rumbach; Esther Sullivan; Carrie Makarewicz

Andrew Rumbach and Carrie Makarewicz, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, along with Esther Sullivan, Department of Sociology, have received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study the impact of Hurricane Michael on mobile home parks in northern Florida. The research team, which includes several graduate students from the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning program, will map mobile home parks in
the counties most-impacted by Hurricane Michael and track their long-term recovery.

The grant is a supplemental to their ongoing study of mobile home park loss and recovery along the Gulf Coast of Texas after Hurricane Harvey. The research is a collaboration with the Department of Landscape Architecture and Planning at Texas A&M University and funded by the Humans, Disasters and the Built Environment program at NSF.

4th Floor Patio Green Roof Installation

Date: 8/1/18
Green Roof Installation on the Fourth Floor Patio of the CAP Building
Principal Researchers: Leila Tolderlund Others Involved: Swizz Solar Decathlon team - 2018 winning team Student Researcher:Kathryn Landers, Troy Britt, Leah Bryant, Jana Raines, Jake Seymour and Nick Patin Faculty Advisor: Leila Tolderlund

Green roof expert Leila Tolderlund, Assistant Professor (CTT) and Associate Chair of Landscape Architecture at CU Denver's College of Architecture and Planning provided green roof guidance to the Solar Decathlon 2018 winning team. The Swizz team took
first place overall by designing, building, and operating the house that best blended smart energy production with innovation, market potential, and energy and water efficiency.

The green roof modules were donated to the College of Architecture and Planning by the Swizz team in return for the guidance provided by faculty Leila Tolderlund during the design and implementation of their Solar Decathlon project. Following completion of the project, graduate students from CAP volunteered to help disassemble and transport the green roof trays (350+) from the house and relocated them to the CU Building's fourth floor patiom setting up a 2500 sf green roof installation. The green roof is open to the public and offers students, faculty, and visitors breathtaking views of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains to the west. 

The Green Roof Café

Date: 4/11/19 - 4/11/19
The Green Roof Cafe
Student Researcher:Gaelen Means, Helen Davidoski, Kortney Harris and Kyle Roddy Faculty Advisor: Leila Tolderlund

Students in Leila Tolderlund's landscape architecture course, LDAR 6712 Green Roofs/Living Systems, designed the "The Green Roof Café," a mobile coffee shop and combined green roof and solar PV educational exhibit, designed to unfold from a 2.5m x 6m
customized shipping container into 1,2 or 3 parking spaces.The Green Roof Pop-Up Container Café is designed to be able to travel around European Cities to provide an unconventional participatory learning experience and educate the public about the benefits, components, economics, and regulations of green roofs in urban areas.

The project was accepted for poster presentation at EUGIC (European Urban Green Infrastructure Conference) and finalist for the Creative Vision, Concept or Theory category.

Historic Investigation of MCA Denver

Date: 2/21/19 - 2/21/19
MLA student Rio Dulaney used mixed media to illustrate the history of Denver's MCA
Student Researcher:Rio Dulaney, MLA Faculty Advisor: Louise Bordelon

MLA students in LA 6604 with Professor Louise Bordelon were tasked with investigating the cultural history of Denver's landmarks and presenting it graphically, using mixed media in addition to text. Rio Dulaney used pastel, foil, collage, graphite, and pen to augment her investigation and portray the emotive elements associated with her experience of the MCA.

Re-Imagining Coors Fields

Date: 3/7/19 - 3/7/19
Coors Field Reimagines by MLA Student James Oberhansley
Student Researcher:James Oberhansley, MLA Faculty Advisor: Louise Bordelon

Students were charged with re-inventing some of Denver's iconic landscapes through abstracted photo collage  as part of LA 6604, a Landscape Architecture class. In this project, the public realm outside of Coors Field was re-imagined as a human-scale, active place for people to enjoy beyond game-day by MLA student James Oberhansley.

The inspiration drew from the finding of dinosaur bones during the construction of Coors Field and the student researcher's own childhood discovering the geology of Colorado with his father, a geologist.

re/Presenting Union Station

Date: 2/14/19 - 2/14/19
MLA student Tatum Moorer reimagines Union Station through photocollage
Student Researcher:Tatum Moorer, MLA Faculty Advisor: Louise Bordelon

Students were charged with re-inventing some of Denver's iconic landscapes through abstracted photo collage  as part of LA 6604, a Landscape Architecture class. This is an interpretation of Union Station by MLA student Tatum Moorer. 

Parking Day 2019

Date: 9/1/19 - 9/20/19
WTS Students Build a Parklet for PARK(ing) Day 2019.
Student Researcher:Sebastian Montenegro, Annelies van Vonno, Nicole Bush, Stefi Szrek, Bradyn Nicholson, Phoebe Fooks (MURP), and Kristen Gough (Civil Engineering, MSU) Location: Larimer Square, Denver, CO

On Friday, September 20, 2019, students from the WTS Colorado Student Chapter hosted a pop-up parklet in Larimer Square to celebrate International PARK(ing) Day. An annual event that repurposes curbside parking spaces into spaces for people, known as parklets, PARK(ing) Day has been celebrated all over the world as designers, students, artists, and community members reimagine public streets into vibrant, people-friendly spaces.

This year, the Denver Streets Partnership collaborated with SPIN, the Better Block Foundation, the Downtown Denver Partnership, and Denver Public Works to celebrate National PARK(ing) Day in Denver. As part of this event, they encouraged community members to host their own parklets around the city. The WTS Colorado Student Chapter, an student-run organization that promotes women in the transportation field and advocates for transportation equity and innovation, decided to build their own parklet, which was themed "Larimer's Living Room". 

The small but determined group of students took over two on-street parking spaces in Larimer Square, right in front of The Market. Using mainly donated and borrowed materials, they created a peaceful and engaging space that invited passersby to sit down, relax, read a book, or play a game. One half of the parklet offered a free library - complete with over 100 architecture books, all free for the taking - and comfortable places to sit and relax. The second parking space featured artificial turf, cornhole, and giant Connect4 to entice people to play. WTS Student volunteers were on hand all day to answer questions about PARK(ing) Day and hand out snacks and cucumber water to all parklet visitors. 

The students' hard work was rewarded when "Larimer's Living Room" parklet was voted "Best Community Parklet" by Park(ing) Day visitors. 

Rockvale Community Park

Date: 1/1/19
MLA and Historic Preservation Student present their designs at a community meeting in Rockvale
Student Researcher:Aneliya Bargon, MLA Alena Gagnon, MLA Ivy Steele, MLA Sarah Goldblatt, HP cert. Advisory Board: Technical Supervisor: Jeffrey Wood Location: Rockvale, CO

In front of an enthusiastic and engaged gathering of local residents, UCDenver (CAP) MLA candidates Aneliya Bargon, Alena Gagnon and Ivy Steele, along with Sarah Goldblatt (Historic Preservation certificate), presented their final designs for a new community park in downtown ROCKVALE.  There was also a plan for the preservation and re-imagining of the historic May Cabin which resides in the park.  The project will now move toward grant applications with an eye toward a ribbon cutting next June!  The meeting took place on July 31st at the Rockvale Community Center.