As part of an environmental and market research project that the College of Architecture and Planning (CAP) is managing for River North (RiNo) Art District, students from the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program conducted intercept surveys to gather visitor perceptions of RiNo during the district’s First Friday Art Walk.
Nearly a dozen students dispersed to prominent intersections of the Denver neighborhood—which has experienced rapid commercial, business and residential growth over the last several years—to stop passerbys and request their assistance in completing a survey about their general experience in RiNo, their awareness of the First Friday Art Walk, and other perception and demographic questions that will provide a snapshot of visitors’ patterns and behaviors in the district. Housed nearby diverse art galleries, restaurants, boutiques and breweries, students collected a significant sample size of surveys from pedestrians.
The intercept survey, which is part of a larger project capturing trends taking place in the district in the midst of RiNo’s growth, will be one of several qualitative evaluation techniques CU Denver uses to inform its final report for the RiNo Art District. Other methods being utilized include a survey of the RiNo Art District members; one-on-one interviews with local residents, business owners and artists; and potentially the use of focus groups to gather group feedback on the neighborhood’s changes.
The First Friday survey distribution also provided many first-year MURP students the opportunity to practice their intercept survey skills, which is a qualitative evaluation technique frequently used by planners.
Earlier in the semester, Assistant Professor Carrie Makarewicz’s Planning Project Studio course, which focuses on teaching second-year MURP students how to design plans for real-world clients, toured the area with RiNo Art District Executive Director Jamie Licko and Communications Director Alye Sharp to learn more about the rapidly-occurring changes in the neighborhood.
RiNo Art District, alongside Create Denver—a division of the City and County of Denver’s Arts and Venues, which focuses on supporting Denver’s creative economy—are the two clients the students continue to work with throughout the remainder of the semester, with the goal of developing for their clients quality-of-life plans of the area and its surrounding neighborhoods.
In addition to leading the studio course, Makarewicz also serves as the CU Denver project director for the research being conducted for RiNo Art District.