Fast Food, Easy Walking

Date: 1/1/2021 - 5/31/2021

Fast Food, Easy Walking: Pedestrian Design Standards for Fast-Food Drive-Through in Centennial, CO

Student Researchers: Matt Duchan and Bronte Murrell

Client: City of Centennial
 
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This capstone is a comprehensive report that entails evaluating pedestrian design characteristics at fast-food drive-throughs around Centennial and subsequently recommending design standards that are effective in enabling drivers to adequately share space with pedestrians. The students analyzed case studies and relevant literature, inventoried the design features of existing drive-through restaurants in Centennial, developed an evaluation matrix for these restaurants, and then proposed design standards for new and retrofitted drive-through restaurants. With this information, Centennial’s planning staff and appointed officials can carry out recommendations for developing new fast-food establishments in neighborhood activity centers, while also improving upon existing drive-throughs with cost-effective retrofits focusing on both comfort and safety. This report provides an overarching framework for creating resilient, active, and innovative spaces in areas that demand a greater sense of place. 

 


Denver's Mobility Hub Typology

Date: 1/1/2021 - 5/31/2021

Denver's Mobility Hub Typology

Student Researcher: Annie Rice

Client: Fehr & Peers
 
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This report examines existing mobility hub models in Europe, Canada, and the U.S. in order to glean implementation strategies for Denver. It reviews forward-thinking local work on mobility hubs by CDOT, DRCOG, RTD, the City and County of Denver, and Transportation Solutions. Based on other U.S. peer typologies, local efforts, and station area contexts, it outlines a typology of mobility hubs for Denver. Ultimately, this study prioritizes 34 stations for mobility hub implementation based on daily ridership, density, and equity factors. It also classifies each station as a Neighborhood, Central, or Regional hub using Blueprint Denver Future Place Type, current land use, and density. The report identifies necessary and optional amenities at each hub type, visualizing each of the three hub types at example stations. Finally, it considers factors for phasing hub development, and incorporates first-hand lessons from experts involved in Denver’s mobility hub space.

 


CPTED Racial Equity Assessment

Date: 1/1/2021 - 5/31/2021

Racial Equity Assessment and Toolkit for the Built Environment

Student Researcher: Ian Conrardy

Client: CDPHE
 
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View Executive Summary

The purpose of this capstone was to create a tool that CDPHE could give to communities across Colorado to assess their built environment for racial inequities. The overall goal of this process is to measure and better understand the problems of racial inequities so that more informed conversations can take place and interventions identified. There are little or no resources for retroactively assessing the built environment based on racial equity impacts. In all, this report outlines the need for more tools like this, a better understanding of how racial inequities impact communities, and further education around racial inequities. 

 


Colorado Roadless Rule ArcGIS Story Map

Date: 1/1/2021 - 5/31/2021

Colorado Roadless Rule ArcGIS Story Map

Student Researcher: Victoria Sanderson

Client: U.S. Forest Service - Rocky Mountain Regional Office
 
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View Executive Summary 

The US Forest Service 2012 Colorado Roadless Rule guides management of Colorado Roadless Areas on National Forest System lands. There may be misconceptions that management is not allowed or needed in roadless areas and that the Colorado Roadless Rule itself can be a barrier to sustainable multiple use management. This may leave roadless areas unmanaged, risking increased forest fuel loads and impacts to drinking water sources, infrastructure, and ecosystem services that roadless areas provide. To help dispel these misconceptions, this Capstone explored a different approach to communicating the Colorado Roadless Rule that may not yet be widely used by agencies – visual storytelling with an ArcGIS Story Map. The Rundown on Roadless Story Map was created to assist the Forest Service Rocky Mountain Regional Office in communicating the agency’s vision for the management and protection of Colorado Roadless Areas to employees, particularly land managers and practitioners in Colorado. The Rundown on Roadless Story Map is an internal planning support tool and demonstrates how large amounts of information can be communicated in a more accessible and clearer framework to minimize misunderstandings of large-scale complex issues. 

 


City of Littleton Bikeway Design Guide

Date: 1/1/2021 - 5/31/2021

City of Littleton Bikeway Design Guide 

Student Researchers: Aidan Johan and Krista Runchey 

Client: City of Littleton 
 
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View Executive Summary

In 2019 the City of Littleton adopted its first Transportation Master Plan (TMP). The TMP planning process highlighted the need to expand and modernize the city’s bike network. The Littleton Bikeway Design Guide offers a typology system allowing city staff to categorize Littleton’s different streets in order to determine and pick the best type of bike infrastructure. 

 


Buena Vista Town Campus Development Plan

Date: 1/1/2021 - 5/31/2021

Buena Vista Town Campus Development Plan

Student Researchers: Sarah Crump and Kortney Harris

Client: Town of Buena Vista
 
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View Executive Summary 

This capstone project created a Town Campus Development Plan and conceptual designs for a property on East Main Street in Buena Vista, Colorado. The development plan focuses on connecting main street, creating a town campus, and incorporating mixed-use development through architectural designs that complement Buena Vista’s existing downtown. This plan incorporates the design of a new Town Hall, Community Center Annex, and live/work units to expand programming needs. This future development will benefit local residents and create increased capacity for social, recreational, and civic activities.

To view the complete 3D model, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeKqFHi3_VI 

 


Baker Station Feasibility Study

Date: 1/1/2021 - 5/31/2021

Baker Station Feasibility Study

Student Researcher: Ted Harberg

Client: City and County of Denver - Community Planning and Development
 
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View Executive Summary

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is making plans for the future of railroad infrastructure between Colfax Avenue and Alameda Avenue. The northern half of the Baker Neighborhood has remained beyond walking distance to their nearest light rail stations ever since the line was first constructed in the early 1990s. At this relatively early stage in the planning of future infrastructure, it is the perfect time to bring new ideas to the table that might benefit the community. This study assesses the feasibility and potential benefits of adding a new light rail station in Baker. The researcher finds that a station here could produce strong ridership results and recommends that the City and County of Denver and CDOT advance the concept for further study and evaluation.

 


Alternative Transit Systems in Thornton, Colorado

Date: 1/1/2021 - 5/31/2021

Alternative Transit Systems in a Suburban Setting

Student Researcher: Jamie Leaman-Miller

Client: Policy Planning Staff, City of Thornton
 
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View Executive Summary 

This project examines alternative transit systems in a suburban setting. Thornton, Colorado has a need to provide increased public transportation options to accommodate its rapid growth. The city is seeking to move away from its automobile-dependent history and create a safe, sustainable, and equitable multi-modal transportation network. The project contains comprehensive research into the evolution of transit philosophy, case studies of successful suburban transit, and an analysis of existing conditions in Thornton. These findings are incorporated into a set of funding strategies and final recommendations for the City of Thornton. 

 


88th Avenue Revitalization

Date: 1/1/2021 - 5/31/2021

A Vital 88th Avenue: Creating a Sense of Place Through Streetscape Improvements

Student Researcher: Erin McMorries

Client: City of Thornton
 
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View Executive Summary 

The 88th Avenue corridor in Thornton, Colorado is a unique opportunity to create a vital center for the city. The corridor currently faces challenges of disinvestment, aging infrastructure, and auto-oriented land uses. Despite these challenges, the corridor boasts many existing assets and nodes of opportunity. This report presents recommendations that will catalyze the revitalization of this corridor through streetscape improvements, multimodal amenities, and placemaking. 

 


40 West ArtLine Urban Design and Mobility Enhancements

Date: 1/1/2021 - 5/31/2021

40 West ArtLine Urban Design and Mobility Enhancements

Student Researchers: Sarah Grossi and Nikisha Mistry

Client: City of Lakewood
 
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View Executive Summary 

In 2014, the 40 West Arts Creative District in the City of Lakewood was designated a Certified Creative District by the Colorado Office of Economic and International Trade. In 2018, with grant support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the 40 West ArtLine was launched as a strategy to connect residents to transit, parks, and the art district, while improving pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. A bright green line is painted on the ground along the route as a wayfinding strategy informing residents when they are on the ArtLine and connects residents and visitors to various local amenities.

To implement the vision of creating Colorado’s longest public arts pedestrian experience, the city needed more information in the form of qualitative data and community feedback to inform improvements for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure along the ArtLine and connectivity to public transit, schools, parks, local cultural and economic hubs, and other community amenities. This Capstone project, 40 West ArtLine Urban Design and Mobility Enhancements, accomplishes several goals. The project team worked to locate the missing links along the 40 West Artline and determine the best strategies for improving accessibility, activity, and community interaction, and created a GIS database of all collected infrastructure and amenity data for the City of Lakewood. The project team also developed a community survey to better understand how residents and users are currently interacting with the trail, what they enjoy, and where they have identified areas of opportunity. Finally, this project worked to analyze data and provide recommendations for improving sidewalk and crosswalk infrastructure, incorporating low-cost tactical urbanism in the form of additional art and placemaking, and better connecting users to public transit, open space destinations,  and other major community attractions.

 


Improving Transportation Alternatives for Youth

Date: 1/1/2021 - 5/31/2021

Improving Transportation Alternatives for Youth 

Student Researcher: Bryn McKillop

Client: Pueblo Area Council of Governments
 
View Capstone Poster
View Executive Summary 

This project is a set of recommendations to improve youth transportation in Pueblo County, Colorado. Working together, the Pueblo Associated Council of Governments and the Pueblo Department of Health and the Environment seek to improve access to prosocial activities for youth by improving the ways in which youth reach them. They had surveyed where youth wanted to go and what was stopping them from getting there but needed a set of recommendations to address the barriers. Utilizing guidance from the National Association of City Transportation Officials, case studies from other cities, and by studying the existing conditions of Pueblo, the project delivered four general recommendations with applications specific to Pueblo. 


Prototype Project All Fields

Date: 2/15/2021 - 2/26/2021
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In Support of Child-Friendly Cities: Identifying and Applying Geospatial Technologies to Represent Children's Sense of Place

Date: 10/1/2020
Principal Researchers: Bryan Wee and Peter Anthamatten


Unit: Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences

Project Abstract:
In an era of rapid urbanization and COVID-19, designing child-friendly cities involves more than just providing places where children can play and go to school. A sense of place, or the cognitive, embodied and affective relationships between people and places, is equally critical if we are to support children as whole persons, particularly during this pandemic. Yet there is no systematic way to spatially represent these unique human experiences, which limits our ability to understand the diverse ways by which children inhabit cities. Geospatial technologies are able to illuminate some aspects of child-place relationships, but they tend to stumble in their attempts to capture the ‘messiness’ of feelings.

To address this, we will a) identify innovative approaches and technologies to meaningfully visualize children’s sense of place, and b) implement a small-scale pilot study to assess the feasibility of these technologies, particularly for children living in urban areas and who are constrained by social distancing. Using innovative geospatial technologies in this manner promotes the meaningful integration of quantitative and qualitative data to support children as whole persons in the design of child-friendly cities. It also reveals the unseen but important places in children’s everyday lives, especially those that may not conform to structured activities and/or adult-designated ‘child-friendly’ areas. In doing so, we are better able to advocate for children’s well-being in urban spaces. 

Bryan Wee Bio:
Bryan Wee is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography & Environmental Sciences. His scholarship focuses on the use of visual narratives (e.g. drawings, photography, digital stories) to understand children’s sense of place in the context of their childhood/s. Bryan’s work is interdisciplinary, creative and collaborative in nature. He has published (often with students) in diverse formats and venues. His research projects have investigated cross-cultural views of the environment, discourses of childhood, place-making in cities and increasingly, visualizations of emotions in human-environment interactions. The courses he teaches at CU Denver emphasize critical thinking and empathy. Bryan has successfully taught ten new courses in two colleges, and he has participated in numerous equity initiatives/grants. He continues to advocate for children as not only marginalized individuals but as a forgotten demographic (by virtue of its assumed ubiquity) in adult-centric societies. 

 
Peter Anthamatten Bio:
Peter arrived at CU Denver in the department of Geography and Environmental Sciences (GES) in 2008 and currently serves as the department chair of GES. The focus of his research and teaching work is in medical geography, the study of how physical and built environments impact human health, and geospatial science. 

Peter was attracted to geography's breadth of approach and topic and has sought to take advantage of its holism throughout his career by working with a range of topics. The primary focus of his work is around the geography of health, which is the study how places and spaces (locations) affect human health. Peter began his career by exploring patterns of malnutrition in poor regions, while most of his work since arriving in Denver in 2008 has centered around the links between the built environment and children's physical activity behavior. A secondary focus of his work is on geographic education, specifically on teaching spatial thinking skills to elementary-aged children, exploring projects that explore children’s spatial thinking skills, such as National Geographic Society’s giant maps. Peter has particularly enjoyed thinking about ways to apply geospatial sciences (GIS, cartography, and spatial analysis) to research.

Peter’s primary teaching responsibilities include cartography, spatial statistics, geographic information science, and health geography.
 
 


Five Points to Five Notes

Date: 10/1/2020
Principal Researchers: Kristin Wood and Laurie Baefsky

Unit: College of Engineering, Design and Computing and Comcast Center

Project Abstract:
The Five Points to Five Notes project, as a comprehensive effort, is a community co-created creative work consisting of a large-scale public art installation involving a commissioned granite and bronze sculpture by Denver artist (and CU Denver graduate) Walter Ware III; a mural installation by another Denver artist; and a digital artist walk spanning the entire River North (RiNo) Art district, which will take the form of a multimedia augmented reality (AR) app for viewers to explore content related to place and history. This broader project is intended to honor Denver’s African American cultural heritage in the River North neighborhoods. The physical art will focus on the jazz history of the Five Points neighborhood.  The digital artist walk will present a broader look at the African America history and cultural heritage of the region and will represent the many locations valued by the residents of the area, beyond sites that are just widely known. The particular focus of this Presidential Seed Grant is to develop the foundational elements of the digital artistic walk. The objectives of this portion of the project are to 1) create lasting art to enhance the area, 2) engage the community in meaningful reflection of and to lift up their heritage and cultural history of place, and 3) educate CU Denver students in a variety of skills, including understanding creative placemaking and the process of community empowerment through arts engagement. The project will be implemented with significant assistance from our primary community partners; City and County of Denver, RiNo Art District, Black American West Museum & Heritage Center, and History Colorado. 

View project updates from the 2021 Fall Research Showcase [PDF]

Kristin Wood Bio:
Dr. Wood, a global leader in Design Innovation, is the Senior Associate Dean of Innovation and Engagement for the College of Engineering, Design and Computing and Inworks Director. He leads the college’s strategy to impact the Denver urban corridor and Colorado through strategic partnerships with the public and private sector that span education, research, and professional development. Dr. Wood has published more than 550 refereed articles and books, has received more than 100 national and international awards in design, and consulted with more than 100 companies and government organizations on Design Innovation and Design Thinking. Dr. Wood has also led and mentored 25 start-up companies, and is currently an ASME Fellow. 

Laurie Baefsky Bio:
Dr. Baefsky has built and directed arts programs within academic, non-profit, and government sectors for close to 20 years. She is the Associate Dean of Research & Strategic Partnerships for the College of Arts & Media. Dr. Baefsky supports and develops faculty and student research expertise, impact and success that cuts across fields, and is committed to the critical role of arts and design in creating healthy, resilient communities, and is dedicated to elevating arts and culture as a core sector in an equitable society. Trained as a classical flutist and music educator, Dr. Baefsky holds degrees in flute performance from Stony Brook University, University of Michigan, and California State University, Fullerton. She has appeared with the Minnesota Orchestra, Utah Symphony, was a 15-year member of the Virginia Symphony, and founding fellow with the New World Symphony.


Learning from the Travel Experiences of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)

Date: 10/1/2020
Principal Researchers: Manish Shirgaokar

Unit: Department of Urban and Regional Planning

Project Abstract:
This project investigates the travel behavior of persons with disabilities (PWDs) focusing especially on barriers that they experience in the Denver region. Researchers know a great deal about mobility and safety of the broader population. However, the micro-geography of travel of PWDs, who travel largely on infrastructure that is designed for those without disabilities, is not well understood. Using a smartphone app, our primary objective is to map, at a fine grain, the travel patterns of volunteer PWDs and compare these trips with those of non-PWDs. Our community partner is the Denver Regional Mobility & Access Council (DRMAC). We aim to learn from DRMAC as subject matter experts and work with them to disseminate our findings for identifying gaps and adjusting infrastructure standards in the Denver region and the Front Range communities. Specifically, we aim to reassess standards for sidewalks and transit with a focus on curb cuts, transit stops, street furniture, and parking for micro-mobility devices such as e-scooters. We also designed this project as a proof-of-concept to test within the Denver region and will seek funding for scaling up to other cities with more diverse populations (including older adults over 64 years), topography, and weather.

View project updates from the 2021 Fall Research Showcase [PDF]

Manish Shirgaokar Bio:
Manish is an assistant professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the College of Architecture and Planning. His research and teaching are centered on transportation and social equity. He teaches seminar and lab-based courses in transportation planning/policy, data analytics, and geographic information systems at the University of Colorado Denver. As a scholar, Manish focuses on how transportation systems help or hinder the mobility of disadvantaged groups such as older adults, women, immigrants, and low-income households. He works on topics in the United States, India, and Canada.

He has been a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) of the American Planning Association (APA) since 2014. Before joining academia Manish worked as a private sector consultant in India (2005-07; 1997-99) and at the Institute of Transportation Studies, Berkeley, CA (2003-05).Prior to starting the position at CU Denver, he was an assistant professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Over the 4.5 years I spent in Canada, Manish taught and supervised research students in Planning, Geography, and Transportation Engineering in classroom/seminar, studio, and lab-based settings. He is the 2017 recipient of the Emerging Scholar Award of the Regional Development and Planning Speciality Group of the American Association of Geographers.


Establishing a Mechanistic Understanding of How Microbial Communities Remediate Groundwater Pollution at an EPA Superfund Site in the Denver Metropolitan Area

Date: 10/1/2020
Principal Researchers: Chris Miller and Timberley Roane

Unit: Department of Integrative Biology

Project Abstract:
Rapid growth in the Denver metropolitan area has brought increasing population density adjacent to once remote municipal and industrial waste sites. This physical intersection of development and contaminated landfills has implications for drinking water quality, air quality, and other public health concerns. One such contaminated site is the former Lowry Landfill in Aurora, CO, a US Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site owned by the City and County of Denver. This site has long been recognized as a source of toxic 1,4-dioxane groundwater contamination. Since 2003, an above-ground bioreactor enabled by naturally present microbes has served as a nationally-recognized local success story in bioremediation. However, a surprising lack of understanding about the basic microbiology responsible for this bioremediation process has meant that this success has failed to replicate at other similar sites, and that changing groundwater contaminant profiles pose a risk to future operational success of the plant. 

The objective of this interdisciplinary research is to provide a genome-resolved mechanistic understanding of the biochemical metabolisms and microbial community ecosystem interactions that are responsible for 1,4-dioxane remediation at the Lowry Landfill bioremediation plant. Student researchers will use high-throughput DNA sequencing and computational biology to investigate the microbial mechanisms underlying successful bioremediation. Our overarching goal is that the new knowledge generated from this project will be applied immediately to improved management of the Lowry Landfill site, and in the future to improved management of similar sites with 1,4-dioxane contamination around the state and country.

View project updates from the 2021 Fall Research Showcase [PDF]

Chris Miller Bio:
Chris Miller is an Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Colorado Denver.  His lab develops and applies bioinformatic and genome-enabled approaches to study microbial communities.  Recent publications from students in the Miller lab have applied high-throughput DNA sequencing and computational approaches to study the role of freshwater wetland soil microbes in cycling of the greenhouse gas methane, to study the evolution and diversity of the archaeal domain of life, and to investigate the role of environmental pollutants on the gut microbiome of animal hosts.  Dr. Miller’s work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Energy, and private foundations.  At CU Denver, Dr. Miller regularly teaches courses in Genomics and Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, and General Biology.  Dr. Miller received his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of California Los Angeles, and did Postdoctoral research at the University of California Berkeley before joining CU Denver in 2012.

Timberley Roane Bio:
Dr. Timberley Roane received her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in 1999.  Dr. Roane is currently an Associate Professor of Environmental Microbiology in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Colorado Denver.  Her research interests are in the discovery and elucidation of innovative microbial applications such as in ecosystem restoration, chemical mitigation, and energy production.  In collaboration with a variety of scientific, regulatory, and community organizations, her research has been sponsored by federal research agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, and the National Park Service.  Regularly publishing and presenting their research, Dr. Roane’s program combines conventional and advanced molecular and biochemical approaches to the study of microorganisms, and involves students from diverse backgrounds, educational levels, and scientific interests.  Dr. Roane is currently a director of the Environmental Stewardship of Indigenous Lands certificate program and is the faculty sponsor of the CU Denver American Indian Science and Engineering Society student organization.


Integrated Solar Energy for Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Communities

Date: 10/1/2020
Principal Researchers: Serena Kim

Unit: School of Public Affairs

Project Abstract:
Accessing clean, reliable, and affordable energy is integral to sustainable, resilient, and equitable communities. While some areas in Colorado have taken advantage of solar rebates and financial incentives and have incorporated solar energy into their energy portfolio, other areas have lagged behind in their energy transition. The gap between leading and laggard areas raises important equity concerns as cities and neighborhoods with greater capacity will disproportionately benefit from renewable energy development. In order to ensure fair and equitable access to renewable energy technologies, we need a more comprehensive understanding of the determinants of renewable energy deployment, including community demographics, local policy, and energy market conditions. We focus on four activities to understand geographical disparities in solar photovoltaic deployment.

First, we will build a machine learning algorithm to obtain an accurate estimation of solar photovoltaic density in Colorado using satellite imagery. Second, we will build a solar-specific natural language processing model and measure public opinion toward solar energy using data from Twitter. Third, we will examine whether the geographical disparities in solar deployment correlate to public sentiment at the city level and the place-based factors, such as demographics, public policy, and energy market conditions. Fourth, based on the results of this examination, we will identify four case study cities in Colorado and conduct in-depth interviews with community stakeholders, to understand community-specific opportunities and challenges for solar photovoltaic deployment. This project will provide a robust list of energy transition and planning strategies for allowing marginalized communities to benefit more from renewable energy development. 

View project updates from the 2021 Fall Research Showcase [PDF]

Serena Kim Bio:
Serena Kim is a Scholar in Residence in the School of Public Affairs. She studies how public opinion, energy market, public policy, and institutional arrangements shape renewable energy transition. Her work has appeared in Energy Policy, Policy Studies Journal, Policy & Politics, Journal of Public Health Management & Practice, Urban Planning, and Journal of Environment & Development. 


CAMunity: A Student-Led Pilot Project to Provide Local Musicians with the Opportunity to Learn and Thrive as Leaders within Their Community

Date: 10/1/2020
Principal Researchers: Storm Gloor

Unit: Department of Music and Entertainment Industry Studies

Project Abstract:
The primary goal of the CAMunity pilot project is to advance urban creative work and provide a music business and arts leadership training program for Denver musicians who might not have the means to such professional development. The program will enhance their knowledge of the business of music while providing training in leadership, advocacy, and networking in order to support their growth not only as professional musicians but as leaders and agents of change within their community. A secondary goal is to provide CU Denver students with a unique research earning project that will benefit their local community. CU Denver students and the principal investigator will develop a ten-week music business and leadership program as the core deliverable of this project. Area musicians will be invited to apply to participate, free of charge, in a cohort that will engage in various topic-oriented sessions led by CU Denver students, CAM faculty, and various music community leaders and partners. If the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing and/or applicable health and safety mandates are still in place one month prior the beginning of the program, sessions will be held virtually until further notice.

The research will be intended to investigate the viability of this type of program within a community and determine the cultural, social, and economic impact it may have on the creative industries sector. The research component of the CAMunity project would include nts. It would begin in mid-September, 2020, and conclude in April of 2021.

View project updates from the 2021 Fall Research Showcase [PDF]


Understanding and Leveraging Philanthropic Foundations in Colorado's Urban Areas

Date: 10/1/2020
Principal Researchers: Todd Ely

Unit: School of Public Affairs

Project Abstract:
Government alone cannot address the challenges experienced by urban populations. Recognizing that government funding still overshadows philanthropic resources, foundations play an especially vital role in providing investments and risk capital in urban initiatives nationally and in Colorado. Indeed, it is difficult to look around our urban spaces without seeing the direct influence of our philanthropic foundations evidenced most prominently by the names on our medical, cultural, and educational buildings. In 2016, Colorado foundations held roughly $12 billion in assets and granted $1 billion. Since then, foundation resources and activities in the state have only continued to grow. 
Foundations increasingly consider approaches to “leverage” their assets for greater social impact. The proposed project advances efforts to maximize foundations’ impact in Colorado’s urban centers by asking two related questions. First, what is the landscape of Colorado’s urban-serving philanthropic foundations? Second, how can these foundations leverage their assets beyond traditional grant making for greater social impact in Colorado’s urban areas?

To answer these questions, we use primary and secondary data collection to: 1) create a foundation resource map of the state with a focus on the Front Range population centers, 2) gather evidence of existing innovative practices to maximize social impact by Colorado’s urban foundations, and 3) establish roadmaps/guides to assist foundations in responsibly leveraging foundation balance sheets using emerging practices like program related investments, mission related investments, credit enhancement/guarantees, and debt.

View project updates from the 2021 Fall Research Showcase [PDF]

Todd Ely Bio:
Todd Ely is associate professor in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver and Director of the Center for Local Government Research and Training. He is interested in understanding how financial stewardship in public and nonprofit organizations can improve community impact. Todd’s research and teaching focus on the financing of public services, municipal debt, education finance and policy, and public and nonprofit financial management. His research targets both theory and practice. Todd joined the faculty at the University of Colorado Denver after earning his PhD in public administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

 


Using Artificial Intelligence and Sensors to Quantify Mobility in Real-time

Date: 10/1/2020
Principal Researchers: Dan Connors

Unit: Department of Electrical Engineering

Project Abstract:
While vast resources are being invested in the creation of autonomous vehicles, identical attention must be placed on making equal advances in smart, connected intelligent transportation infrastructure. SmartCity infrastructure enabled by artificial intelligence (AI) can perceive objects (e.g., vehicles, pedestrians, bikes, etc.) on the roadway and gather information on individual vehicles or composite state of traffic at a considerably finer level of granularity than present systems provide. The proposed seed grant will extend and promote the development of AI-based computer vision developed by Professor Connors and University of Colorado Denver’s Edge Computing Laboratory.

The core goal is to enable infrastructure-based computer visual perception and sensor fusion that quantify all mobility within transportation and urban areas. With an application to two areas of immediate practical interest the research will highlight using UC Denver Auraria campus as an open-research SmartCity environment: vehicle identification and classification, and smart intersection signaling. In both cases the project will utilize physically and visually realistic computer simulation to develop and evaluate deep learning neural network algorithms and follow with a pilot deployment of the algorithms for real-world validation with municipal partners. Overall, with the help of community partners, the seed funding will help extend existing work in artificial intelligence and computer vision further into the SmartCity domain. Seed support will impact the potential success of large-scale funding opportunities within National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, and Department of Transportation.