Tag Archives: professionals

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 Visits U.S. Forest Service New York Research Station

In late April 2017, College of Architecture and Planning (CAP) professor and master of urban and regional planning department chair Austin Troy traveled to New York as part of a delegation from the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station to visit the New York Urban Field Station.

The New York Urban Field Station is a facility in Fort Totten, Queens that is managed in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and serves as a hub for research, outreach and programs related to urban environmental stewardship.

The delegation that attended this site visit also included personnel from the University of Denver, as well as the U.S. Forest Service in Fort Collins and Golden. While in New York, the group met with various local and federal officials—including New York City’s Chief of Horticulture, Forestry and Natural Resources—and toured numerous parks and natural areas currently under restoration, as well as participated in a tree planting.

Troy’s travel delegation to New York was made possible by a U.S. Forest Service grant to the College of Architecture and Planning that seeks to facilitate the planning and development of a similar urban field station in the Denver area. The planning group that is working on establishing the Denver station includes representatives from the City of Denver’s Parks and Recreation, the U.S. Geological Survey, Colorado State University, Trust for Public Land, Davey Trees and others. The New York field visit will aid the planning group in establishing priorities and developing partnerships that will be critical for the success of the future field station.

PhotoTroy (left), members of the delegation, and New York field station staff at a tree planting at Marine Park in Brooklyn, New York.

MURP Students Participate in The Transit Alliance’s Citizens’ Academy

March 30, 2017

While MURP students have much to learn in the classroom about urban and regional planning, Denver itself also offers a vast network of resources, organizations and opportunities for students to engage in real-life planning scenarios.

The Transit Alliance, a local non-profit organization dedicated to empowering citizens to transform Colorado’s mobility future, provides such occasions through its Citizens’ Academy, which is a seven-week workshop that brings together Denver-based transit advocates. The academy serves to educate and motivate community stakeholders by encouraging their involvement to advance transit, active transportation and increased freedom of mobility.

Daniel Jennings, current MURP student, participated in the academy in Spring 2016. “I had just applied to the MURP program and was eager to get involved in the world of urban planning…participating in the academy allowed for me to be introduced to other planning advocates, and got me excited about the program,” Jennings said.

As part of The Transit Alliance, which focuses on policy and advocacy through its work, the Citizens’ Academy is an avenue for community members interested in Colorado’s transportation and mobility options to build leadership capacity, participate in forums of constructive dialogue about transit, and meet others who share similar and different viewpoints about where they see Colorado’s mobility future.

For Jennings, the Citizens’ Academy—which took place one night a week for seven-weeks—introduced him to different topics tied to transit, with the program often featuring speakers working in greater Denver’s transportation arena, including representatives from Denver Regional Council of Governments, Regional Transportation District and Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation. The academy also featured field trips to experience mobility options in Denver, including a trip to Denver International Airport to ride the University of Colorado A Line that recently opened to the public.

“Overall, the goal of the program was to connect you with other people that had similar interests related to transit, and to get participants thinking about how they could become transit advocates in their own community,” Jennings said. For instance, each participant created an action plan for their own community, which could range in ambition from simply taking your family for a ride on the light rail to investigating how to promote bus rapid transit in Denver.

Given his specific interest in increasing walkability within communities, Jennings’ project focused on improving walking conditions in Denver’s Lincoln Park-La Alma neighborhood. Through The Transit Alliance and work on his action plan, Jennings was also introduced to other transit and mobility-related organizations in Denver, such as WalkDenver and the Community Active Living Coalition.

“The Transit Alliance was a great introduction for me to the world I was about to enter with the MURP program,” Jennings said. “I was able to talk with and learn first-hand from planners, architects and other community members. Since a big part of graduate school is meeting people who are working in your desired profession, the Citizens’ Academy gave me a head start.”

Since beginning in 2007, The Transit Alliance’s Citizens’ Academy has graduated more than 800 community members interested in improving mobility throughout Colorado.

To learn more about The Transit Alliance, visit:  http://www.transitalliance.org/.

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.

MURP Students Participate in Housing Charrette with Industry Professionals

November 4, 2016

In late September, MURP students in Assistant Professor CTT and Associate Chair Jennifer Steffel Johnson’s Urban Housing class participated in a community design charrette, which is an intensive, hands-on workshop that brings together numerous disciplines to explore architectural, planning and development options for particular areas or sites.

Urban Housing is an interdisciplinary class that includes urban and regional planning, architecture and landscape architecture students. “Design by Community Charrette” was conducted in partnership with professional architects, who serve as team leaders that organize the students and their progress on the project, as well with Housing Colorado, a statewide non-profit organization “working to educate, inform and advocate for affordable housing.”

housing-charette-2016-2

To solicit projects, Housing Colorado released a request for proposal for potential organizations to apply to be the focus of the charrette, with applications often coming from housing authorities, municipalities and non-profit housing organizations. With their proposal, applicants must have a real project and site in mind for which they want to implement an actionable plan.

For the Fall 2016 charrette, two applicants were chosen—Mile High Ministries’ York Street Project in Denver, and Fort Collins Housing Authority and City of Fort Collins’ Colorado Housing Project in Fort Collins. Fort Collins’ project consisted of a 60-acre site of undeveloped, city-owned land. The site was zoned for up to 204 units and sought to develop a mixed used and mixed income design to provide diverse housing choices for households of all types. Mile High Ministries requested assistance with the development of a mixed-used affordable housing community on blighted property in the northeast Denver neighborhood of Cole, which is located off of York Street.

During the class, students conducted precedent and existing conditions studies for several weeks on the actual sites to understand both the clients’ needs as well as their particular projects.  After the preliminary work was completed, the design charrette took place over three days on the designated sites, which included assistance from volunteer architects, landscape architects, planners, construction and finance professionals, market analysts and representatives from the client organizations. Together with the students, the teams assembled the designs for the projects.

housing-charette-2016-1

At the end of the three days, the project typically progresses enough so that the client can move forward in searching for funding to implement the final product. For instance, in past years, several charrette projects have been built or are currently under construction. It is estimated that the services provided by the students and volunteer professionals is worth upward of $60,000 per organization.

To conclude the design charrette, students presented their completed work at the Housing Colorado NOW! Annual Conference, which took place in Beavercreek, Colorado from October 5 to 7.

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/.