Tag Archives: Events

MURP Faculty Leads Sessions, Walking Tours and Panels at ACSP Conference

October 27, 2017

Earlier this month, the University of Colorado Denver’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program hosted the annual conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP). ACSP, which promotes planning education, research, service and outreach in the United States and internationally, decided upon the conference theme of, “Cities, Regions and Growth: Smart, Inclusive and Equitable?” for 2017. In addition to hosting the welcome reception and other events associated with the four-day conference, the MURP program and its faculty participated in workshops, presentations and panels to contribute to the success of the event.

Dr. Austin Troy, professor and department chair, presented in two sessions during the conference, including The Thirsty Urban Landscape: Analyzing the Relationship Between Yard Trees & Irrigation in A Semi-Arid City and The Microclimatic Effects of Urban Tree Shade in Cold Climate Cities, in addition to leading two mobile tours, Sun Valley/Mariposa Redevelopments: A Healthy & Holistic Approach to Public Housing Redevelopment and The South Platte: Challenges & Opportunities for an Urban River Corridor.

In The Thirsty Urban Landscape: Analyzing the Relationship Between Yard Trees & Irrigation in A Semi-Arid City, Dr. Troy presented research that looks at how water consumption records can be used to better understand patterns of yard irrigation in Denver, and in particular, how the role of trees should be used to account for irrigation demand. Through his work, Dr. Troy has found that while trees use irrigation water, the shade they cast partially offsets their direct water consumption by reducing sun exposure for underlying turf grass, thereby reducing the need to irrigate grass. Similarly, the research also found that young trees proportionally consume far more water than mature trees, likely because their roots have yet to access groundwater and also because homeowners tend to overwater young trees. Finally, Dr. Troy’s research found that there were also large increases in water use associated with newer (post-1950) subdivisions and homeowners’ associations.

Dr. Jeremy Németh, associate professor, presented as an author on two sessions, Resistant to Change: Why Do Some Gentrification-Susceptible Neighborhoods Never Actually Gentrify? and Green Gentrification in Chicago: Development, Displacement, & Community Activism, alongside his research colleague, Dr. Alessandro Rigolon of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Resistant to Change: Why Do Some Gentrification-Susceptible Neighborhoods Never Actually Gentrify?, of which Dr. Németh was the primary author, looks at the increasingly common phenomenon of gentrification, and how despite there being identifiable factors that make a neighborhood susceptible to gentrification, there are still some places that should gentrify that do not. Dr. Németh’s research looked at what those factors are that appeared to employ a resistance to gentrification—including community resistance, affordable housing policies and up-zoning—and categorized them into the three categories of people, place and policy. Overall, the initial findings of this research suggest that multiple factors interact to mitigate gentrification trends, and that by discussing these results through a planning and policymaking lens, there may be room for an increased understanding of what can be done to temper gentrification’s most damaging impacts.

Dr. Carrie Makarewicz, assistant professor, and Dr. Jennifer Steffel Johnson, associate chair and instructor, hosted a housing-focused panel, Millennials, Mountains, & Mobility: The Impacts on Housing in Colorado’s Front Range. The panel featured four individuals working on housing issues in the Denver-metro area, including Laura Brudzynski of the City and County of Denver, Office of Economic Development, Affordable Housing Preservation; Laurel Hayden of United for A New Economy; Deyanira Zavala, program coordinator for Mile High Connects; and Andrea Chiriboga-Flor, transit/housing organizer for 9 to 5 Colorado. The panel discussed the factors that have made Denver the second-fastest growing city in the U.S.—including regional access to jobs, a perceived lifestyle, and availability of the Rocky Mountains—and the pressures this has put on both the rental and housing markets in the metro region. While Colorado must maneuver a uniquely restrictive policy landscape, such as budget and tax restrictions, and constitutional prohibitions against inclusionary zoning for renters and tenant protections, the panel discussed what other options may be available to ensure people across the income spectrum can find housing in the area.

Dr. Makarewicz also led a tour through Denver’s River North district, an artist-influenced neighborhood adjacent to downtown Denver that has seen explosive market values and reinvestment over the last five years. Dr. Makarewicz was accompanied by planners, as well as non-profit and artist advocates, to inform participants about the opportunities and challenges of the area, including design overlays and guidelines; affordable housing and work space for artists; and the loss of non-profit space, industrial uses and jobs due to rising market values; among other topics. Speaker participants included Abe Barge, principal planner for the City of Denver and MURP alum; Brian Trybus, local artist and gallery owner; Tracy Weil, founder of the RiNo Art District; Megan Yonke, program director for Denver Shared Spaces; Rick Peterson, principal of Oz Architects; and Lisa Gedgaudas, of the City and County of Denver, Denver Arts and Venues.

Visit here to learn more about the 2017 conference in Denver, as well as ACSP and its mission and work.

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 Program Hosts ACSP Conference, October 12 – 15, 2017

September 15, 2017

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning Conference (ACSP) is coming to Denver.

ACSP is an international membership organization of universities with departments offering planning programs and/or degrees affiliated with planning, in addition to individual faculty and student members. The organization publishes the academic journal, the Journal of Planning Education and Research, as well as hosts annual conferences, workshops and other services for the academic community and general public related to planning.

Its mission—which promotes planning education, research, service and outreach in the United States and internationally—includes recognizing diverse needs and interests in planning; improving and enhancing the accreditation process; and strengthening the role of planning education in universities through publications, conferences and community engagement to extend planning beyond the classroom and into the world of practice.

ACSP’s annual conference is being held in Denver and hosted by CU Denver’s master of urban and regional planning (MURP) program from October 12 to 15, 2017. This year’s conference theme, “Cities, Regions and Growth: Smart, Inclusive and Equitable?” seeks to use Denver as an example for many of the questions faced by planners today. Professor and MURP Department Chair Austin Troy and Assistant Professor Andrew Rumbach are serving as the local host committees’ co-chairs.

While growth in the Denver-metropolitan region has brought tremendous economic opportunity for residents, it has also brought significant challenges, including housing supply shortages and increasing housing costs; land consumption and loss of open space; increasing exposure to natural hazards; traffic congestion and delay; inability to scale transit to meet demand; lack of coordination between jurisdictions; inequitable public education; sectoral imbalance in the economy; gentrification; and congestion of amenities.

However, within these challenges, there is also tremendous opportunity for planning to impact how cities, including Denver, redefine, reinvent and revitalize themselves. For instance, in Denver, reinvestment in central areas has increased walkability, mixed use development and good urban design, among other characteristics that are leading to a more vibrant city. With careful management of growth and development—such as reducing gentrification-induced development and loss of public goods—planners can create a more inclusive strategy to leverage opportunities, such as sustainability and equity, spurred from growth.

This year’s conference will include a welcome reception; paper sessions, presentations and roundtables; mobile tours of neighborhoods such as River North, Sun Valley and downtown Denver led by Assistant Professor CTT Ken Schroeppel; a posters and exhibits reception; a student reception; and a book signing, among other events.

Please see the full conference schedule and stay tuned for further updates.

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.

MURP Alumni Meet with Current Students On Capstone Projects

March 5, 2017

On February 23, the CU Denver MURP Alumni Association hosted its first Capstone, Cookies and Coffee, which is an opportunity for current MURP students working on their capstone projects to discuss their specific topic of exploration and progress with MURP alumni working in the urban and regional planning field.

The event was hosted at the College of Architecture and Planning, and was organized by specific urban planning-related topic areas and skill sets so that students could find alumni who best paired up with their interests and own work.

To become part of the CU Denver MURP Alumni Association’s annual schedule of activities, 2017 was the kick-off year for such an event that allows students to network with professionals in the field that also went through urban planning education at the same institution.

At this year’s event, approximately ten MURP students, eight alumni and three faculty attended, with the goal of providing alumni an opportunity to offer students advice on their capstone methods, approaches, data sources, contacts and case studies that may be useful in their research and work. Alumni also agreed to review students’ ongoing progress to provide feedback as requested.

Deemed a success, the CU Denver MURP Alumni Association plans to hold this event each spring as a way to support current students in completing these final projects; better integrate alumni into current happenings of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning; and provide increased occasions for alumni to interact with students for mentorship and networking opportunities.

Assistant Professor Carrie Makarewicz, the faculty liaison for the CU Denver MURP Alumni Association, and CU Denver MURP Alumni Association President Eric Ross were present to assist in facilitating the event.

Picture featured includes second-year MURP student Bryan Sullivan; Alumni Faculty Liaison and Assistant Professor Carrie Makarewicz; and Kevin Patterson, a dual-degree MURP and Master of Public Affairs Alumni who is the current director of the Colorado Health Exchange and former director within the City and County of Denver.

College of Architecture and Planning Announces Spring 2017 Lecture Series

Each semester, University of Colorado Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning brings distinguished speakers to campus to discuss current trends, research and issues related to the fields of architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture and urban design.

Each lecture takes place at 5:00 PM (unless otherwise noted) on the second floor of the College of Architecture and Planning, located at 1250 14th Street in downtown Denver.

February 27, 2017
Bon Ku, MD, MPP
Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University
How Doctors and Architects Can Work Together to Design Healthier Communities

March 13, 2017
Laurel Raines, ASLA
Founding Principal, DIG Studio
Landscape in Practice

March 27, 2017
Michael Murphy
Co-Founder and Executive Director, MASS Design Group

April 4, 2017
Nick Dawson
Executive Director, Johns Hopkins Sibley Innovation Hub; Chair, Executive Board Medicine X, Stanford University
Co-designing with Patients

April 10, 2017
Rolf Pendall, PhD
Co-Director, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, Urban Institute
Building Inclusion into the Millennial City

April 17, 2017*
Mark Gelernter, PhD
A lecture by Dean Mark Gelernter and a reception honoring him as he retires
Speculations on the Future of Architectural Education: Looking Forward While Reflecting Back
*Reception, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m., 2nd Floor Gallery; Lecture, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., Room 470

April 24, 2017
Lorcan O’Herlihy, FAIA
Founder and Principal, LOHA
Stanley H. and Theodora L. Feldberg Lecture in Honor of Donald R. Roark

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.

CAP Hosts Panel on Implications of Planning Decisions to Colorado’s Future

November 9, 2016

The College of Architecture and Planning and its urban and regional planning program hosted a panel in early November on the Future of Colorado: Major Implications of State, Regional and Local Decisions on Planning Issues. The panel featured three speakers—Doug Anderson, environmental planner, CH2M; David (DK) Kemp, senior transportation planner, City of Boulder; and MURP Assistant Professor Ken Schroeppel—and discussed questions related to housing, transportation, socioeconomics, and energy and the environment.

HousingWhat tactics or incentives can public officials employ to encourage the construction of more affordable housing and reduce development costs? 

The panel discussed the issue of affordable living as a means to tackle housing issues, which could include combining housing and transportation costs, in addition to unbundling, or completely removing, municipal parking requirements. The panel also looked at the potential importance of increased density provisions, and used Boulder, Colorado as an example to suggest the need to counter current growth boundaries and height limitations. Other topics addressed regarding housing included housing cooperatives, accessory dwelling units and tiny homes, all as alternative forms of “affordable housing.”

Transportation: With less money dedicated to transportation improvements, how could the state alternatively address traffic congestion? Will FasTracks, Bustang, or other transportation services help reduce road traffic or is some other strategy needed?

The panel deliberated numerous topics, including the converting underused railroad tracks for future passenger rail, as well as the need for better pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure as a way to encourage less drivers on the road. Other discussion included the advent of driverless cars, including that while it is currently unknown what their consequences to traffic congestion will be, the panel’s consensus was that driverless cars would likely reduce the frequency of commuting. Final topics of debate included the possibility of telecommuting more option to address traffic issues, and the impact the Colorado Department of Transportation could have by coordinating with municipalities on regional land use designations.

Socio-Economics: In what capacity should planners contribute to the needs of small towns and suburbs from an economic standpoint? From a cultural standpoint? How do you see changing demographics shaping the future of cities, suburbs and small towns in Colorado?

While numerous topics were discussed, the largest takeaway from this portion of the panel discussion was that professional planners to need better listen to the concerns of citizens, such as business owners, residents and customers. Ken Schroeppel provided an explanation of the pyramid method for community engagement, in which substantive, procedural and psychological needs must be met, in addition to urging attendees to look up the Google Earth street view of small towns across America to better understand the problems they are experiencing. Similarly, the panel also talked about the need for new economic development and policy measures that would help small towns transition to new industries. This was also echoed by the idea that planners have been neglecting infrastructure maintenance in rural American towns, and that plans should be put into place to update or re-purpose aging infrastructure.

Energy and the Environment:  How can planners use practices such as open space preservation, conservation easements, and land acquisition to prevent further decimation of the natural environment and encourage more sustainable forms of energy?

Doug Anderson began this portion of the panel discussion by stating that encouragement of sustainable forms of energy is not always complementary with good land use practices, such as clearing a significant number of acres for solar panels or wind farms, when in actuality, this does not help to preserve the natural features of the land. However, the panel did consider that practices such as the transfer of development rights may be useful for preserving natural spaces via conservation easement designations.

Urban Designer and Author Julie Campoli Speaks at CAP Lecture Series

October 18, 2016

As part of the Fall 2016 College of Architecture and Planning (CAP) lecture series, urban designer and author Julie Campoli spoke at a brown bag lunch event and an evening lecture—each which drew several dozen attendees—during her day-long visit to the college.

Campoli, who owns Burlington, Vermont-based practice, Terra Firma Urban Design, is author or co-author of three books addressing the urban form and its changing landscape, including her most recent title, Made for Walking: Density and Neighborhood Form, which explores sustainable transportation in the built environment through use of photographs, montages, maps and diagrams of North American neighborhoods. In addition to her writing and work as a consultant through her design firm—which specializes in town design, land use analysis and site planning for affordable housing—Campoli conducts lectures and workshops throughout the United States on walkability, density, housing, sustainable transportation and green infrastructure.

Campoli’s afternoon lecture, Solvitur Ambulando: It Is Solved by Walking, explored how changes in transportation speed over the past century—such as through the evolution of the carriage, train, and finally, the automobile—has altered the urban landscape and its form. As a result, Campoli argues for a resurgence in walking as a primary mode of transportation, so as to lead to more humane cities and a higher quality of life

During her talk, Campoli noted two significant challenges to our health and built environment—the fact that people are no longer moving, and that they are separated from one another. At best, Campoli labels walking in our cities’ built environments as inconvenient; at worst, it can be dangerous. As a result, Campoli discussed how urban designers and planners have the opportunity to promote increased physical and social connection by retrofitting places to be denser and more compact. By redefining a place’s physical boundaries, and placing less focus on the needs of the automobile as it relates to land use and transportation decisions, Campoli advocates for attending to the needs of people who travel on foot. By doing so, our cities have occasion to serve as catalysts for increased social encounters that lead to a greater sense of happiness.

Campoli’s evening lecture, There Will Be Cupcakes: Gentrification and Displacement in Walkable Places, looked at how placing restored value in many of our inner-city neighborhoods via place-making and public investments has led to improved physical form and connectivity, but has also ushered in higher property values and the threat of cultural and economic displacement. Campoli asked some difficult questions—including how a neighborhood can be transformed while remaining home to its original residents, and how cities can address the growing need for increased affordable housing—by using the revitalization of Columbus, Ohio as a case study.

While answers to these questions are not easy to come by, Campoli examined several strategies to promote “development without displacement,” including strengthening the existing community through advocacy and representation; actively protecting a city’s most vulnerable citizens; protecting and preserving affordable housing; and enacting an inclusive planning process, including inclusionary zoning practices that require a certain percentage of housing units be kept at affordable rates.

For more information on Julie Campoli and her work, visit http://www.juliecampoli.com/.

Photo credit: http://www.juliecampoli.com/