Tag Archives: Scholarship

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 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.

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.

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/.

MURP Student Awarded Prestigious Temple Buell Scholarship

December 4, 2015

Denver, CO – MURP student Lily Lizarraga Ruelas was awarded the prestigious 2016-17 Temple Hoyne Buell Endowed Ambassadorial Scholarship in December! The annual program provides a $30,000 scholarship for undergraduate or graduate studies outside the U.S. through a partnership of Rotary District 5450 and the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation. Continue reading

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

MURP Student Awarded WTS Colorado Chapter Scholarship

December 17, 2014

Denver, CO – Alison Redenz, first-year MURP student (pictured, left), has been awarded the WTS Colorado chapter Helene M. Overly Memorial Scholarship, given by WTS, an international organization dedicated to building the future of transportation through the global advancement of women.

The scholarship is $4000 plus a complimentary one-year membership to WTS Colorado, recognition at the WTS Colorado Annual Awards Gala, an opportunity for mentorship with a local professional in the transportation industry, and automatic consideration for the WTS International Scholarship award of an additional $10,000.

Alison is also a research assistant for CAP’s DRCOG Sustainable Communities Initiative project to evaluate Denver’s rail transit system and associated development. Said Carrie Makarewicz, Assistant Professor of Planning and Design, “[Alison] has been super busy with school, the research, and another job since the day she landed in Denver last summer. And she loves learning about transportation and planning. This is a well-deserved scholarship!” Congratulations, Alison!

MURP Student Awarded Temple Buell Ambassadorial Scholarship

December 5, 2014

Denver, CO – Trevor Clifford, a Master of Urban and Regional Planning student, has been awarded the Temple Buell Ambassadorial Scholarship sponsored by Rotary District 5450 and the Temple Buell Foundation for graduate studies outside the U.S. Applicants must reside in the Denver metropolitan area and have a demonstrated record of high academic achievement and a background, intended graduate studies, and future career plans related to the study of architecture, planning, and related subjects.

This highly competitive scholarship, worth $30,000, is to be used for travel, room and board, tuition, and, with any excess funds, a service project consistent with the goals of Rotary International. The rigorous selection process consists of two rounds of applications and an interview with eight professionals, mostly Rotarians, through which the pool of applicants is reduced; some years the award is not given, the competition is so selective. The jury said Trevor’s presentation was exemplary, and the College of Architecture and Planning was well represented with distinction by all seven CAP finalists.

“I am very fortunate to have received this scholarship, and am planning to use the funds to attend the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand, where I will live for one year,” Trevor said. “The scholarship exceeds my projected costs, giving me the opportunity to use these funds for a humanitarian service project designed by myself. Of the six interest areas established by Rotary International, I am particularly interested in urban housing, and am currently working out how to best utilize these funds.”

Read more about the Temple Buell Ambassadorial Scholarship.

Five MURP Students Named 2014-2015 Etkin Johnson Student Scholars

November 21, 2014

Denver, CO – Nine students from the College of Architecture and Planning, including five MURP students, have been named 2014-2015 Etkin Johnson Student Scholars. Participating MURP students are Carolyn Fahey, Sean Garvey, Jeffrey Job, Mark Kelley, and Jared Pinkus.

This is the inaugural year for the program where 25 local college students have been selected as Urban Land Institute (ULI) Scholarship recipients. The mission of the Etkin Johnson Student Scholarship Program is to foster an exchange of professional ideas, friendship, and expertise among college students in a more engaged format with the general ULI membership.

This program matches recipients in the program with key ULI committee volunteer opportunities and the ability to join the organization for one year (free of charge) with complimentary tickets to every ULI Colorado program. In exchange, students will be charged with supporting leadership on one of nine volunteer committees. The launch of the program was on Thursday, November 20.