Tag Archives: Nemeth

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.

April 2017: MURP Faculty Updates

MURP faculty are busy serving the planning profession, the community and our students through their leadership and participation in publications, boards, research and media stories. 

Notable activities in April 2017 include:

Jeremy Németh, associate professor of urban and regional planning, received a grant through CU Denver’s Office of Research Services to conduct a research project entitled, Green Gentrification in Chicago: Development, displacement and Community Activism. The project will analyze the gentrification impacts of the more than 200 acres of parks built between 1990 and 2017 in Chicago, and will include interviews with advocacy organizations working along two of the city’s new parks. This research project is spurred by the expensive urban greening projects many U.S. cities have undertaken in recent years along former waterways and rail corridors, such as New York City’s High Line. While these projects often transform dilapidated infrastructure into desirable public spaces, they can contribute to quickly rising property values and the eventual displacement of low-income people living nearby. As such, Németh’s research will assess the extent to which these “green gentrification” projects contribute to displacement, and whether community resistance efforts resulting in new housing and land use policies may temper these effects.

Németh was also interviewed and cited in the publication, CityPulse, where Lansing, Michigan is looking to Colorado as a case study related to medical marijuana regulation and zoning restrictions. In 2014, Németh conducted a study of zoning restrictions for marijuana facilities in Denver and found that the restrictions pushed these businesses into lower-income, minority communities and neighborhoods. In the interview, Németh said that these zoning restrictions ultimately deepen the disparity between wealthier areas of the city and lower-income neighborhoods.

Andrew Rumbach, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, received two grants for research on international planning. The first, a $25,000 grant from CU Denver’s Office of Research Services, will allow Dr. Rumbach and two graduate students to travel to northeastern India to study flooding and landslide risk in fast-growing villages. The second, a teaching enhancement grant from the Center for Faculty Development, will help Dr. Rumbach and colleagues from the University of Michigan to evaluate a case-based approach to international planning pedagogy.

Austin Troy, professor and urban and regional planning and department chair, was elected to the governing board of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planners as the regional representative from the Central region of the U.S.

January 2017: MURP Department, Faculty and Student Updates

MURP faculty are busy serving the planning profession, the community and our students through their leadership and participation in publications, presentations and media stories. Our students are also making great strides, with recent scholarship awards for their exemplary academic performance.

 Notable activities in January 2017 include:

Jeremy Németh, associate professor of urban and regional planning spoke at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture’s Annual Lecture Series. In the talk entitled, “Just Space: Why public space matters now more than ever,” Németh spoke about how public space performs three critical functions for an increasingly divided nation: housing protests, making the marginalized visible, and encouraging encounters between people that are very different from one another. For more information on the event, which was attended by 100 participants and took place on January 12 in the university’s Millennium Library, click here.


Austin Troy, professor and urban and regional planning and department chair, has been working with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service (Forest Service) to plan for an “urban field station” in Denver, which would host and help organize research and activities related to management of the urban environment and urban ecological systems. The Forest Service currently hosts four urban field stations in Baltimore, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, and the proposed Denver station would be the first official Forest Service field station in the West.

The proposed station is being developed in conjunction with the U.S. Geological Survey, as well as Denver Parks and Recreation Department’s Division of Forestry. To help fund the project, Dr. Troy received a 2016 Forest Service grant to facilitate the planning and potential setup of this station, in addition to providing support for a meeting attended by representatives from the Forest Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, Denver Forestry, the Environmental Protection Agency, The Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy and academia. The grant also supports a trip by Dr. Troy and Forest Service personnel to tour the eastern urban field stations that will inform a startup strategy and business plan for the station.


Through the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), first year MURP student Meghan McCloskey Boydston was awarded the 2016-2017 WTS Leadership Legacy Scholarship award. Launched in 2007, the Leadership Legacy Scholarship provides financial aid to an exemplary woman pursuing graduate studies in a transportation-related field. This award furthers WTS’ mission to “build the transportation industry through the global advancement of women can be realized by encouraging women to further their careers as leaders in transportation.” The scholarship also focuses on advancing students interested in sustainable communities and public transit, and seeks to reward women who bring ideas, innovation and new approaches to U.S. and international transportation challenges. Congratulations Meghan!


Last year, CU Denver College of Architecture and Planning’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning was written into an awarded $30 Million Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI) grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to address the redevelopment of Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood. The grant was awarded to Denver Housing Authority (DHA), with CU Denver’s to serve as the official data hub for the project. Austin Troy, professor and urban and regional planning and department chair, will coordinate CU Denver’s involvement in this project. To house the data, a server has been set up in conjunction with CityCraft Ventures, which now hosts a large database of publicly-available geographic information system (GIS) files for all of west Denver, the grant’s geographic area of focus. Ultimately, CU Denver will work with DHA and research partners at Colorado State University, Regis University, CU Boulder and University of Denver to develop a system of indicators that will be used to measure neighborhood well-being and health as the neighborhood transforms. The team will also conduct GIS analyses to quantify the natural and built environment of Sun Valley.

October 2016: MURP Faculty Updates

MURP faculty are busy serving the planning profession, the community and our students through their leadership and participation in publications, presentations and media stories.

Notable activities in October and early November 2016 include:

Carolyn McAndrews, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, alongside collaborators at the Medical College of Wisconsin, recently published two new papers about road safety and equity.

Linking Transportation and Population Health to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Transportation Injury: Implications for Practice and Policy addresses racial and ethnic disparities in pedestrian deaths and serious injuries. Dr. McAndrews and her collaborators argue that creating a combined transportation-population health framework is one way to quantify, and therefore prioritize, equity considerations in transportation safety decision-making. The research found that per trip, whites are equally safe as pedestrians and motor vehicle occupants, whereas other racial and ethnic groups for whom data was obtained were less safe when they walk. The abstract and full text of the research can be read here.

Dr. McAndrew’s second paper, How Do the Definitions of Urban and Rural Matter for Transportation Safety? Re-interpreting Transportation Fatalities as an Outcome of Regional Development Processes, examines road safety equity across the urban-rural continuum, asking whether the definitions of urban and rural matter for how we understand place-based transportation injury risk. This research provides a critical knowledge base for improving the safety of all travelers with several key findings, including that population density, rather than urban/rural, is a better road safety indicator, and that low-density settlements need more road safety attention, regardless of urban-rural status. The abstract and full text of the research can be read here.


Carrie Makarewicz, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, along with Jeremy Németh, associate professor of urban and regional planning, presented their paper Transport Access & Well-Being in Denver on a transportation equity panel at the 2016 Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) conference. Makarewicz and Németh sought to determine how transportation accessibility and affordability affects individual and household well-being by surveying 240 individuals in 2014 and 2015 who live in a range of neighborhood types throughout Denver. The impetus for the survey was simultaneous cuts in bus service and proposed public transit fare increases in the Denver region.

Respondents were asked about their household and background; their travel patterns, including where they took transit, and which modes they used, e.g. walk, bike, transit, drive; and seven subjective questions about their well-being, including their health, standard of living, personal relationships, future, sense of safety, community and life achievements.  The findings indicated an importance in the ability to walk and take transit for lower income households, regardless of where they live in Denver; however, many low-income households were less likely than higher income households to use three or more modes of transportation, possibly due to income and ability.

Further, total well-being was strongly associated with income and employment, but with variations among the seven surveyed aspects of well-being, such as people who used multiple modes of transportation–regardless of income–reporting a high standard of living, and those who ranked their standard of living lower residing in areas with less accessibility, and therefore, higher transportation costs. Unfortunately, the study did not find that those who reported walking and using transit to have better health. High ratings of one’s health was positively associated with living in a more suburban neighborhood, higher incomes and working, not with walking or modal use.

While this study was experimental, the findings correspond with other recent studies on the importance of transit accessibility and urban environments to some aspects of subjective well-being, in addition to raising important questions about how well the urban context supports individual health, even if it promotes more active travel.


Ken Schroeppel, assistant professor CTT of urban and regional planning, participated in a professional panel discussion on Wednesday, November 9th, The Future of Colorado: Major Implications of State, Regional and Local Decisions on Planning Issues. Other panelists included Doug Anderson, environmental planner for CH2M and David (DK) Kemp, senior transportation planner for City of Boulder.

Discussion topics included housing, transportation, socio-economics, and energy and the environment, with specific questions addressing issues such as:

  • What tactics or incentives can public officials employ to encourage the construction of more affordable housing and reduce development costs?  
  • How can the state alternatively address traffic congestion with less money dedicated to transportation improvements?
  • What capacity should planners contribute to the needs of small towns and suburbs from an economic standpoint?
  • How can planners use practices such as open space preservation and land acquisition to prevent further decimation of the natural environment and encourage sustainable forms of energy?

Jeremy Németh, associate professor of urban and regional planning, alongside Alessandro Rigolon, assistant professor at California State University, Northridge, recently published a new paper, Planning for Differentiated Solidarity. Németh also presented this research at the 2016 Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) conference.

The paper asks how solidarity might be achieved in the context of significant diversity, questioning whether there is a “third way” for planning for diversity, one that bridges the gap between segregation and integration, between differentiation and assimilation. Recent research shows that in the most racially and ethnically diverse neighborhoods, people tend to “hunker down,” and levels of trust and empathy are low compared to homogeneous neighborhoods. Research also shows that segregation reduces contact with other diverse persons, and makes it unnecessary for the privileged to concern themselves with social injustices.

Németh and Rigolon argue that these two constructs present a false dichotomy and instead seek out a middle ground that is a method of city building called “differentiated solidarity,” which affirms frequent, respectful and unmediated engagement but also celebrates group-based differentiation and clustering in ethnic enclaves. The research asks whether there actually exists certain places marked by conditions of differentiated solidarity, what they might look like, where they are located and how they function. Overall,Planning for Differentiated Solidarity takes the abstract notion of differentiated solidarity and explores its potential physical manifestations.

In their study, Németh and Rigolon look at five of the largest and most diverse metropolitan regions in the U.S. and identify 153 clusters wherein three or more groups of racially homogenous neighborhoods abut one another. They then examine in detail several exemplary cases within each cluster type to better understand how they function and whether they are characterized by higher levels of solidarity than their less diverse counterparts.

2015-16 Academic Year Kicks-Off with New MURP Department Chair

August 17, 2015

Denver, CO – The new semester kicked-off on August 17 with a couple of exciting faculty updates! Jeremy Németh, Associate Professor and former Chair of the MURP program, is on sabbatical this year and Austin Troy is stepping in as Chair of the department.

Jeremy was awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to conduct research in Italy, where he will be studying pedestrian space and walkability. According to the Fulbright Commission, fewer than three percent of applicants win the prestigious grant each year. Jeremy will be hosted by the Università degli Studi Roma Tre in Rome. Through his project, “Pedestrian space and walkability in Italy and the U.S.,” he hopes to understand why pedestrian-only zones tend to thrive in Italian and European cities but fail in cities throughout the U.S. His research will take him to various European cities to better understand how cultural, political, economic, and design conditions shape the success and failure of these zones. Jeremy aims to develop a set of best practices for planners and designers in U.S. cities. He will also live in Barcelona for several months, where he will be a Visiting Professor in the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Jeremy ended his term as chair of the Department of Planning and Design on August 1 and Austin took up the post effective August 10.

Austin came to CU Denver in 2013 from the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, where he taught for 12 years and is still an adjunct professor. He was also the Director of the Transportation Research Center and of the Spatial Analysis Lab at UVM. He served as a planning commissioner for Burlington, Vermont, for four years. Austin is author of The Very Hungry City (Yale University Press, 2012), which looks at the determinants of urban energy consumption, what makes some cities more efficient than others, and what rising global energy prices will mean for cities. He is a co-principal investigator of the National Science Foundation’s Baltimore Ecosystem Study, and Principal and Co-founder of Spatial Informatics Group, LLC, an environmental consulting firm. Austin is an associate editor for two journals, Ecosystem Health and Sustainability and Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment. Austin is an alumnus of Yale College (B.A.), Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (M.F.), and University of California Berkeley (Ph.D.).

Congratulations to both Jeremy and Austin!

MURP Wins Tri-County Health Department Public Health Hero of the Year Award

April 15, 2015

Denver, CO – Big news for the MURP Program! MURP was selected for a Public Health Hero of the Year award through the Tri-Country Health Department for its strategic vision of incorporating healthy communities as a core MURP initiative and for exploring ways to incorporate Health Impact Assessment into the program curriculum.

Continue reading

MURP Professors Lay Groundwork for Collaboration in India

November 18, 2014

Kolkata and Kalimpong, India – Jeremy Németh and Andrew Rumbach, professors in the Department of Planning & Design, recently returned from a week in eastern India, where they were laying the groundwork for potential future teaching and research efforts in the region. Jeremy and Andy met with senior officials from the United States-India Educational Foundation in Kolkata and were invited speakers at an academic symposium focused on cities and development. The symposium was hosted by Centre for Built Environment and featured numerous speakers from Indian, European, and American universities.

They next visited Kalimpong, a small city in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal, near the Nepal and Chinese borders. There, they met with representatives from Save the Hills, a community-based organization focused on disaster risk reduction in the Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalayas, and toured areas affected by floods and landslides. Jeremy and Andy also spoke at a workshop on urban planning and disaster risk reduction, jointly sponsored by Save the Hills, North Bengal University, and the University of Colorado Denver.

The two met with several representatives from urban development departments in the region, as well as members of local environmental NGOs and professors from nearby colleges and universities.

2014-11-18_India-2_web

2014-11-18_India-3_web

MURP Chair Speaks at American Bar Association Meeting

October 10, 2014

Denver, CO – Jeremy Németh, Associate Professor and Chair of Planning and Design and Co-Director of the Urban Design Program, spoke at the American Bar Association’s 2014 Fall Council Meeting in Denver, CO on October 10. Jeremy presented the paper “Cannabis Conundrum: How Fair Is Medical Marijuana Land Use Policy?” with Eric Ross (MURP 2012), Lecturer in Planning and Design.

The two presented on the panel “Reefer Madness: Recreational and Medical Cannabis Issues for Local Government Lawyers.” Panelists discussed the planning and related issues associated with the legal challenge posed by the legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational use as a matter of state and district law, despite it still being a violation of federal law to cultivate, dispense, possess, and use cannabis. In addition to Jeremy and Eric, panelists included Cristal Torres DeHerrera, Deputy City Attorney, City and County of Denver, Donald L. Elliott AICP, Clarion Associates, Bill E. Kyriagis, Otten, Johnson, Robinson, Neff + Ragonetti, P.C., and D. Scott Martinez, City Attorney, City and County of Denver.

MURP Chair Publishes ‘Planning for Marijuana’ Article

August 2014

Denver, CO – Jeremy Németh, Associate Professor and Chair of Planning and Design and Co-Director of the Urban Design Program, and Eric Ross (MURP 2012), Lecturer in Planning and Design, published an article in the August edition of the Journal of the American Planning Association, the leading professional and academic planning resource. The article Planning for Marijuana: The Cannabis Conundrum shows that government regulations will likely cause an inequitable distribution of marijuana business throughout the city. Though the impact of dispensaries to the neighborhoods in which they are located has yet to be understood, the research is clear that the majority of allowable land for marijuana business is in the city’s poorest and most ethnically and racially diverse areas.

“Though technically medical marijuana dispensaries provide a healthcare service, they have historically been required to adopt the same zoning restrictions as businesses that sell alcohol, pornography, and firearms,” said Jeremy. “Generally, stores that sell these types of ‘vices’ are prohibited from locating in residential or mixed-use neighborhoods and are pushed into much less affluent neighborhoods.”

This is the first article to look at the equity implications of new medical marijuana facilities. It deals with an emerging and controversial issue: planning for medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries in states where marijuana has been legalized. Jeremy and Eric describe how planners across the nation are dealing with this issue, given that in some cities there are now more medical marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks. The authors’ focus especially on how and why poor and disadvantaged communities get most of these businesses, but they show that the impact on these communities varies under different planning regimes.  It’s an article about old-fashioned planning issues — the siting of controversial businesses — with a 21st century spin.

“As medical marijuana has become legal in 23 states and DC, municipalities must determine where these businesses will be allowed to operate,” said Jeremy. “I encourage my students, and city planners, to think about the impacts zoning regulations have on the entire community, not just adopt regulations that have been in place for other vices.” 

The study is getting a lot of attention, including mention in the following outlets:

Jeremy was also interviewed in a story on 9News on August 13, Lakewood PD fighting crime through blueprints.

More recently, Jeremy was quoted in an AP article on November 11, New pot shops on the block not always so popular.