Tag Archives: APAS

MURP Students and Faculty Head to 2017 APA Colorado Conference

October 12, 2017

This year’s American Planning Association (APA) Colorado conference was held in beautiful Telluride, Colorado, October 4 – 6, 2017. More than twenty MURP students, as well as several faculty members, attended the conference, which held sessions, workshops, mobile tours and receptions that addressed the challenges and opportunities facing the planning profession in Colorado.

APAS Student Representative Meghan Boydston said, “The students that attended, myself included, enjoyed hearing presentations from speakers from all over the world. We also love the opportunity to meet professionals with a variety of types of planning careers, all while appreciating the natural beauty of Telluride.”

The opening plenary featured Elizabeth Garner, who serves as the state demographer for the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA). At DOLA, the State Demography office produces population and economic estimates and forecasts for use by state agencies and local governments. During her talk, Garner discussed Colorado’s “demographic transition,” including how Colorado is economically and demographically maturing, as well as how the state is hosting an aging population that will continue to bring a demand for new workers.

Similarly, the conference’s other keynote speaker, Alan Mallach of the Metropolitan Policy Program of the Brookings Institution, talked with conference participants about today’s pressing affordable housing challenges due to changing demographics, economic conditions and housing costs. In addition to the keynotes, an awards ceremony and reception was held on Thursday evening to kick off Community Planning Month.

At this year’s conference, several CU Denver MURP faculty and adjuncts, including Assistant Professor CTT Ken Schroeppel and lecturer Donald Elliott, led sessions on topics such as table and chart design, form-based codes and housing. The sessions at the conference covered the gamut of planning-related topics, including on authentic community engagement; the common ground between public and private sector planners; rural downtown investment strategies; transportation challenges; recreational programming and public lands, and more.

Mobile tour workshops were also held, including walking tours on Historic Downtown Telluride, Planning for Healthy Forests, New Technologies in Ski Manufacturing, Telluride Cultural Arts District, and Telluride Affordable Housing.

Visit here for more information on this year’s APA Colorado Conference, and to read the full schedule of workshops, events and presentations.

MURP Students Participate in International Park(ing) Day 2017

October 1, 2017

On September 15, students in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program at CU Denver—headed by the officers of the American Planning Association student chapter (APAS)—participated in the annual Park(ing) Day outside of the College of Architecture and Planning at 14th and Larimer in downtown Denver.

Park(ing) Day, which began in San Francisco in 2005, began as a way to temporarily turn a metered parking space in the city into a temporary public space as a way to showcase what amenities we often give up to accommodate parking in dense urban areas. From its original founding, Park(ing) Day is now an annual, open-source global event where citizens, professionals and activists create their versions of temporary public space in urban places around the world. As such, the event’s mission is to, “call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat.”

The theme of this year’s Park(ing) Day contribution by MURP students was “urban jungle,” which was constructed with the help of CU Denver students from the American Institute of Architects student chapter, as well as private engineering, planning and consulting firm Michael Baker International. Throughout the day, several dozen people stopped by the transformed parking spot to ask questions about the event, and drivers passing by at the nearby stoplight engaged with students.

Of this year’s event, APAS President Kari Remmen said, “Park(ing) Day was a success because of the conversation it sparks. As planners, we need to understand the public opinion around the issues we are trying to address. Park(ing) Day gave us the opportunity to hear from people, as well as talk about the impacts of parking in our downtown urban spaces.”

In addition to engaging the public, this year’s contribution by MURP students focused on bringing together students in the first and second year of the urban planning program. Remmen noted that because the master’s program is only a short two years, APAS has an important role to play in ensuring relationships are developed among students, as they are all future planners who will work together in the field.

Park(ing) Day takes place each year on the third Friday of September. Click here for more information on the global event.

MURP Chair Presents on Green Infrastructure Research

In early March 2017, MURP Chair and Professor Austin Troy, PhD, gave a presentation on “Research on the Benefits of Urban Green Infrastructure,” which looked at his current and past work regarding the benefits of urban trees and other vegetation for heat island mitigation, shading, increases in property values and crime reduction.

Dr. Troy discussed how in one study, he looked at the relationship between tree canopy and crime index in the greater Baltimore region, and found that a 10% increase in tree cover equates to a 11.8% decrease in crime, with the effect 37% greater for public than private land trees. While the relationship between crime and trees varied spatially—as did the relationship between private trees and crime—the relationship between crime and public trees did not. Similarly, in another study that also used Baltimore as a case study, Dr. Troy looked at the impact of residential yard landscaping practices on block level crime.

Dr. Troy also spent time discussing the idea of causality versus association in research and within green infrastructure studies. For instance, while the association between green infrastructure and crime is well-established, can it be said that vegetation’s association with crime is causal?

Given the few studies currently available on this topic, Dr. Troy conducted another study—looking at San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and New York City—to examine whether crime actually drops more than it would otherwise after green investments have already been made. The results generated, he says, are mixed but promising, with tests within each study area suggesting likely causality.

Dr. Troy also discussed green infrastructure and urban heat, including how different surfaces’ absorptivity, reflectivity, transmissivity and emissivity can generate more or less heat in an urban environment. Dr. Troy has mapped urban heat in Denver, and examined the role of trees in mitigating its effects.

The presentation concluded with Dr. Troy previewing his current work, where he is looking at planning issues related to trees and water in the Denver area. His research questions center on how climate change, water supply and urban growth are affected by the high need for irrigation in the Colorado climate.

Each year, the urban and regional planning program within the College of Architecture and Planning, alongside CU Denver’s American Planning Association Student Chapter, host numerous lectures with faculty to discuss their current research.

APAS Chapter Welcomes MURP Students Back for Semester

February 10, 2017

On January 30, CU Denver’s APAS held its first meeting of the Spring 2017 semester. As a student division of the American Planning Association (APA)—which is a national group of planners, public officials, educators and other dedicated citizens committed to creating vital communities—CU Denver’s chapter ensures that MURP students are engaged with activities, conferences and speakers shaping the future of the profession.

During the semester, APAS will be offering the following activities, engagements and learning opportunities for its student members:

Brown Bag Series – This series gives students the opportunity to meet over lunch with professors and lecturers, who will present and have a discussion with students on an area of interest.  This is a great way for students to hear a lecture on a planning topic they may be interested in but have not yet had the change to explore.  It is also an opportunity for students and faculty to hear about research and work happening within the MURP department.

Policy Series – This three-part series will provide students the opportunity to hear from practitioners on how planning policy gets developed, adopted and implemented from key points of engagement, including advocates, planning staff and elected representatives.

Colorado Planning Tour 
– During the 2017 spring break, APAS will be taking a road trip around Colorado to visit a handful of cities across the state.  While in various locations, the chapter will explore what towns and cities are doing from a planning perspective.  This may take the form of guided tours with planning staff, Q&A sessions with planners followed by independent exploration, conducting research on an aspect of planning in a particular locale, and more.

Job Shadow Program & Resume/Cover Letter Workshop – APAS hosted a successful job shadow program in the fall and is excited to host another round this spring.  The chapter’s focus will be on expanding the program by growing its list of hosts, especially those in high interest areas.  In addition, APAS will host a resume and cover letter workshop for students to make sure they are ready to look for internships and jobs this spring.

Happy Hours
 – APAS wants all MURP students to get to know and network with other people in the program! Happy hours will be planned throughout the semester.

Facilitation Workshop – Public engagement is critical for ensuring MURP students are planning for all members of the community and developing equitable plans. However, effective public engagement isn’t always easy to do, and facilitating those conversations requires skill and practice.  APAS will host a workshop designed to help students build their public engagement and facilitation skills.

Questions about getting involved in APAS as a student member, helping to serve as a volunteer for any of the mentioned events, or running for the APAS Board for the 2017-2018 school year (elections take place on March 27, 2017)?

Visit the APAS homepage, where you’ll find upcoming events and APAS board contact information.

MURP Professor Lectures on International Planning in Asia

As part of its brown bag lunch lecture series, CU Denver’s American Planning Association Student Chapter (APAS) hosted College of Architecture and Planning (CAP) Assistant Professor Andrew Rumbach on October 11 to present a lecture on Marshes, Malls and Land Mafias: The Political Ecology of Flood Risk in Kolkata, India.

The presentation—which dovetails with Rumbach’s areas of research interest, including disasters and climate change, environmental risk, urban resilience, international planning, and small town and rural development—hosted about twenty students and faculty interested in learning more about his extensive work in south and southeast Asia.

During his lecture, Rumbach discussed how studying the root causes of flood risk in Asia drives his research, and examined three main sub-topics: how urbanization, flooding, and climate change affect Asian megacities; the specific case study of Kolkata in this context; and additional, in-depth information about the east Kolkata wetlands, which suffer from poor planning due to linkages between organized crime, local politics and real estate development.

Rumbach shared that by 2050, 6.4 billion people will live in cites, with 90% of this growth taking place in south Asia, southeast Asia, and Africa, which will contribute to the most radical shift in human settlement patterns in history. Due to this increasing global density, urbanization is becoming one of the main drivers of disaster likelihood in Asia, with the risk of environmental hazards—such as floods and storms—becoming more prevalent when a population’s level of vulnerability and exposure increases. Further, as urban governance through corrupt regimes plays a key role in the creation and distribution of resources critical to disaster risk reduction, much of the population often finds itself with unequal access to resources.

Rumbach further provided specific examples and photographs of these scenarios in Kolkata, India, and specifically the east Kolkata wetlands, which sits at the edge of the megacity and provides an estimated 50% of local demand for freshwater fish, but is subject to illegal land development that destroys this critical industry. Due to state power that is entrenched with the activity of local criminal groups, Rumbach’s presentation signified that a significant challenge to meaningful planning in the region remains.

“The brownbag was a great opportunity to share my research on Indian urbanization and environmental risk with students and colleagues. I look forward to future APAS organized events, which will greatly benefit the intellectual and research culture in the department and college,” Rumbach said.

For students interested in learning more about disaster and international development planning, Rumbach also noted the intersection between his areas of research and classes he teaches, including Natural and Built Environments, Disaster and Climate Change Planning, and Planning in the Developing World.

Brown bag lunch lectures are a part of APAS’ scheduled programming for the 2016-2017 school year. In addition to this lecture series, APAS offers opportunities for urban and regional planning students to participate in job shadowing, interdisciplinary walking tours, the annual Colorado American Planning Association conference, volunteer opportunities with non-profit organizations and more.  

Click here to learn more about APAS at CU Denver, including to visit their event calendar.

CAP Student Info Day Provides Planning and Architecture Opportunities

September 16, 2016

Students from CU Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning (CAP) attended this semester’s Student Info Day on Thursday, September 8. At the event—which hosted nearly a dozen organizations, research centers and student groups—urban and regional planning, architecture, urban design and landscape architecture students discovered new ways to engage with their associated discipline as well as meet other students and professionals representing these interests.

Select groups and organizations in attendance included:

American Planning Association Student Chapter (APAS)
APAS is the student chapter for CU Denver of the American Planning Association (APA), and provides urban and regional planning students the opportunity to interact with the planning community through the annual APA conference, subcommittees focused on planning-related topics, lectures, interdisciplinary walking tours, a job shadowing program and more.

To become involved, visit APAS on their website or their Facebook page.

Center for Advanced Research in Traditional Architecture (CARTA)
Located within CAP, CARTA’s mission is to advance the interdisciplinary study and practice of traditional architecture, building craft, landscape architecture and urban design through spirited debate, rigorous education and transformative research so we may improve the built environment and people’s quality of life.

Opportunities to work with CARTA include through annual symposiums and debates, research fellowships, continuing professional education, scholarship and award programs, visiting professionals’ lectures, mentorship and more.

Visit cap.ucdenver.edu/carta for more information and upcoming opportunities.

Center for Preservation Research (CoPR)
Located within CAP, CoPR is a CU Denver research center dedicated to the study, preservation and sustainable use and future development of the built environment and cultural landscapes. CoPR focuses on place, preservation, education and research by working with the public and private sectors to carry out projects and programs that preserve the past, examine the present and prepare for the future.

To learn more about CoPR and its services, visit http://www.ucdenver.edu/preservation.

Colorado Center for Sustainable Urbanism (CCSU)
CCSU, located within CAP, addresses issues related to urban planning, land use and sustainable cities. CCSU serves as a hub for academic and applied research projects; technical assistance to professionals; communicator of information and best practices related to planning and sustainability; and convener of stakeholders to encourage dialogue about planning issues. CSSU offers a variety of methods for involvement, including a speaker series, research and educational opportunities, and outreach events, all designed to promote CCSU’s mission to constitute the hub of creative problem solving that helps make cities and towns more vibrant, livable, sustainable and equitable places.

For more information, visit: http://murp.cudenvercap.org/who-we-are/ccsu/.

Students for Classical Architecture (SCA)
A nationally-based organization founded in 2010 by University of Notre Dame students that were frustrated with their lack of exposure to the contemporary practice of traditional architecture, CU Denver’s SCA chapter offers bi-monthly opportunities to sketch with other students around Denver, guest lectures, lunch meetings and more, all in support of studying and engaging with classical architecture.

You can visit the national website or CU Denver’s chapter-specific Facebook page.

Women in Design-Denver
This organization seeks to improve opportunities for women in professions serving the built environment through education, networking and professional development. Their members are a diverse group of women and supportive men from all professions in the building design and construction industry, including architecture, engineering, urban planning, interior design and more. Opportunities for engagement include hard hat tours, international speakers, seminars and occasions to build relationships with other building industry professionals.

Their next major event will be held on October 12, 2016 and features keynote speaker Oana Stanescu, principal and co-founder of Family New York, an architecture firm generating inventive, ecologically-engaged and civic-minded projects.

For more information and to find upcoming events, visit http://www.widdenver.org/.

Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS)
Founded in 1977, WTS is an international organization dedicated to building the future of transportation through the advancement of women. CU Denver’s chapter—which was founded in May 2015—is the 7th official WTS student chapter internationally, and offers opportunities that include educational and social events, volunteer outings, e-communications, networking and more. The chapter is primarily composed of students in urban planning, civil engineering and transportation-related programs, but welcomes anyone who is interested in their work.

To learn more about CU Denver’s WTS chapter, visit https://www.wtsinternational.org/universityofcoloradodenver/.

American Planning Association Student Chapter Kicks Off 2016-2017 Year

August 30, 2016

This afternoon, University of Colorado Denver’s (CU Denver) student chapter of the American Planning Association (APAS) kicked off its first meeting of the 2016-2017 school year. With nearly 30 Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) students in attendance, the APAS Board highlighted upcoming events of importance to planning students, as well as addressed goals for student involvement over the coming months.

As a student division of the American Planning Association (APA)—which is a national group of planners, public officials, educators and other dedicated citizens committed to creating vital communities—CU Denver’s chapter ensures that MURP students are engaged with activities, conferences and speakers shaping the future of the profession.

During the meeting, the APAS Board provided students with a preview of potential opportunities to become actively involved over the school year, including participating in a job shadowing program, brown bag lunches, planning-related lectures, interdisciplinary walking tours, and volunteer opportunities with non-profit organizations creating more livable communities.

Specifically, APAS highlighted its role in planning this year’s Park(ing) Day, which is an annual worldwide event where parking spots are transformed into activated public spaces to showcase the possibilities of an urban environment that dedicates less space in the built environment toward cars. This year’s event will be held on Friday, September 16. For MURP students interested in becoming involved, APAS Vice President Lorin Crandall is coordinating the event and actively looking for volunteer participation.

APAS also highlighted the upcoming annual APA Colorado Conference, which will be taking place October 24-26 in Colorado Springs. The conference will be an opportunity for networking with professionals and fellow students, as well as to see planning efforts taking place across Colorado. APA membership is required to attend and students receive a conference discount. Further, first year MURP students can receive a free, one year APA Early Career Program membership by contacting Assistant Professor CTT Ken Schroeppel by Thursday, September 29. Benefits of the Early Career Program can be found by visiting APA’s website.

This year, APAS will also be activating several committees to allow MURP students to increase their involvement in the areas of planning that are of most importance to them, such international development, social justice, transportation planning and healthy communities.

With the plethora of activities taking place, APAS President Carolina Van Horn is already excited for the new cohort of MURP students and the possibilities of APAS for the year.

“The MURP program goes by fast and I’m excited about collaborating with other students to foster an active and engaged student body connected to planning inside and outside of CU Denver.  For anyone who missed the first meeting but is interested in being involved, please reach out and we’ll get you connected,” Van Horn says.

APAS’s vision is to facilitate student engagement, provide MURP students with a variety of career development opportunities, foster relationships in the planning community at the University and beyond, and to continue to improve the student experience for current and future CU Denver MURP students.

For more information or to become involved in APAS, reach out to Carolina Van Horn.

MURP Student Produces Videos for APA Colorado Awards Ceremony

October 9, 2015

Denver, CO – In addition to the impressive showing MURP had at the 2015 American Planning Association (APA) Colorado Conference, first-year MURP student Lorin Crandall was also working behind the scenes to produce five videos used in announcing the winners of the APA Colorado 2015 Honors Awards. The awards were handed out at an awards ceremony during the conference. The videos bring these projects to life and pack an impressive amount of detail into just a few minutes.

To view the videos, please click on the links below.

2015 APA Colorado Honors Awards Winners

  • General Planning Project – City of Aspen, Transportation Impact Analysis Guidelines
  • General Planning Project – City of Durango, Pre-Existing Accessory Dwelling Unit Voluntary Registration Initiative
  • Community Resilience – Boulder County, Comprehensive Creek Planning Initiative

Recap from the 2015 American Planning Association Colorado State Conference

October 7, 2015

Steamboat Springs, CO – MURP had a strong showing at the 2015 American Planning Association (APA) Colorado State Conference last week, with 29 current students and several MURP faculty and recent alumni participating in the conference. The conference, which took place in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, September 30 – October 2, broke attendance records this year with more than 450 registrants. This year’s conference emphasized water planning, with water panels featured during each breakout session, covering a range of topics including water sensitive land use planning, tools for managing water sustainability, and regional approaches to water planning, among others. A wide variety of other topics were also covered during the breakout sessions, including planning around marijuana, planning for changing rural contexts, new trends in transportation planning, and many others. Current students volunteered at the event, collectively logging more than 140 volunteer hours, in exchange for reduced registration rates.

Here are some highlights from the conference:

  • Jenny Niemann, now a second year MURP student, was awarded a $2,500 APA Colorado Scholarship in May, and was officially recognized in an awards ceremony at the conference. Check out the article posted in May for more details about the award.
  • Students in Carrie Makarewicz’s Fall 2014 Planning Project Studio won the 2015 American Planning Association (APA) Colorado Honor Award in the category of Student/Recent Graduate Projects. They were recognized at an awards ceremony at the conference. The studio students, along with MURP research assistants Alison Redenz, Sarah Blanchard, and Melanie Sloan, worked on the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) Sustainable Communities Initiative Grant, which included a comprehensive evaluation of each of the 45 existing light rail transit stations to assess four major criteria: 1) housing affordability, 2) accessibility, 3) jobs and economic development, and 4) site design and development. For more information, check out the article about the award, which also features links to past articles explaining the project in more detail.
  • MURP professor Carrie Makarewicz and recent alumna Melanie Sloan presented on planning in education. Their presentation, titled “Community Planning without Public Schools? A Case for Planners in Education” focused on the impact planners can have on education through zoning, promoting affordable housing, designing transportation routes, and planning parks and recreation facilities. Carrie and Melanie noted that students’ performance in school is largely influenced by external factors – i.e. what happens outside of school hours, not just what happens in school. They make the case for a more integrated planning approach to address school performance. The session was highly interactive, with audience members providing feedback on the feasibility of various strategies to support children’s readiness to learn and stay motivated during away-from-school hours.


  • MURP Chair Austin Troy and Rocky Piro, Director of the Colorado Center for Sustainable Urbanism (CCSU), gave a presentation on “Developing and Employing Performance Indicators for Urban Sustainability.” The session covered best practices and latest trends in developing and implementing sustainability indicators in the urban context. The panelists presented a holistic approach to sustainability, addressing the need to pay attention to social, natural, physical, and financial assets collectively – as opposed to focusing on only one of these areas at the exclusion of others.
  • Rocky Piro was also part of a panel focusing on regional approaches to water management. The session, “For All Things Water – A Regional Approach is the Only Approach” focused on the reality that natural resources transcend political and jurisdictional boundaries, and looked at best practices for regional coordination.
  • Recent alumnus Drew Stiehl (MURP ’15) presented work he did as part of his Capstone Project on a panel about “Emerging Trends in Transportation Planning Practice.” Drew talked about the rise of big data in transportation planning and how the unprecedented availability of data collected via peoples’ cell phones (i.e. through location tracking, but also through apps like SocialCyclist) is providing more real-time data for transportation planners.

MURP Students Win American Planning Association Colorado Honor Award

August 20, 2015

Denver, CO – Students in Carrie Makarewicz’s Fall 2014 Planning Project Studio have won the 2015 American Planning Association (APA) Colorado Honor Award in the category of Student/Recent Graduate Projects. The studio students, along with MURP research assistants Alison Redenz, Sarah Blanchard, and Melanie Sloan, worked on the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) Sustainable Communities Initiative Grant, which included a comprehensive evaluation of each of the 45 existing light rail transit stations to assess four major criteria: 1) housing affordability, 2) accessibility, 3) jobs and economic development, and 4) site design and development.

Award recipients will be honored with a certificate and plaque at an awards reception during the APA Colorado Annual Conference in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, on October 1. The studio students were: Sulaiman Almaroua, Debra Bristol, Josh Ellsworth, Michael Hall, Anne Kuechenmeister, Jenny McGinnis, Laia Mitchell, Yelena Onnen, Kevin Osborn, Greg Roy, Tori Tillquist, and Ranae Tunison. Funding for the Transit Zone Evaluations report was provided in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Sustainable Communities Initiative grant to DRCOG.

A link to the report can be found here.

For more information about the work MURP students were doing, check out previous articles:

MURP Faculty, Students Volunteer at Transit Academy

Students Present Transportation, Affordable Housing Research

MURP Professor Presents Research at DRCOG Metro Vision Idea Exchange