Jennifer Steffel Johnson

Associate Chair, Assistant Professor CTT
Phone: 303-315-0061
Office: CAP 320P

Curriculum Vitae

Focus: Affordable housing, social justice, diverse communities, mixed-income housing, community development, experiential education

Bio: My previous work experience includes being the Senior Policy Analyst for the Partnership for Working Families, the Director of Cooperative Education for the College of Engineering and Technology at Northern Arizona University, and the Assistant Director of Housing Programs for a Washington, D.C.-area non-profit organization. Additionally, I have been a professional academic copy editor for nearly two decades, including being the staff copy editor for the University of Colorado’s Children, Youth and Environments journal. Prior to working at CU Denver, I taught many courses (ranging from AutoCAD to Environment and Behavior) at Northern Arizona University and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

When it comes to urban and regional planning, what are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about the potential for urban planning to be a tool for advancing social justice and expanding individuals’ opportunities (and at the same time, understanding the ways poor planning decisions can result in unjust outcomes and constrain individuals’ opportunities).  I am also particularly passionate about housing—how decisions about its cost, design, location, and the like form patterns that create and/or reinforce social patterns and impact individuals’ connections to the rest of their everyday lives.

What is the most important issue you believe the planning profession should be focusing on for the future, and why?

The planning profession needs to recognize the power it has to use planning decisions to expand opportunities for all members of society, no matter their age or socioeconomic status (e.g., by creating affordable housing throughout a city and employing universal design principles).

As a planner and as an instructor, how do you view your role in the community? 

A primary teaching focus for me is on experiential education—connecting students with real-world opportunities and ensuring that these are valuable learning experiences.  This focus enables our department to meaningfully serve the community while strengthening our students’ networks, skills and knowledge—a win-win situation.

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