Tag Archives: Troy

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 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 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.

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.

December 2015: MURP News and Faculty Updates

December 2015

  • Austin Troy, professor and chair of the Department of Planning and Design, published an article with Ashley Nunery and J. Morgan Grove, “The relationship between residential yard management and neighborhood crime: An analysis from Baltimore City and County,” in Landscape and Urban Planning (Volume 147, March 2016) that finds that active front yard landscaping is associated with lower crime.
  • Andrew Rumbach, assistant professor in the Department of Planning and Design, has two recent publications. He contributed several chapters to Rebuilding Community After Katrinaedited by John Forester and Ken Reardon, about planning education and disaster recovery in New Orleans. His article “Decentralization and Small Cities: Towards More Effective Urban Disaster Governance?” will be published in the March 2016 issue of the journalHabitat International. In the article Rumbach explores the impacts of government decentralization on the management of urban disaster risk in West Bengal, India.
  • Ken Schroeppel, Department of Planning and Design instructor and founder of the DenverInfill  and DenverUrbanism blogs, and the students in his two Planning Methods classes this fall were the subject of David Sachs’ entry “CU Denver Urban Planning Students Fill in Blanks on Denver’s Walkability” in Streetsblog Denver on December 15.  The students studied East Colfax and its surrounding neighborhoods from Broadway to Colorado Boulevard. They interviewed people, collected demographic information, cataloged the built environment, and rated intersections and sidewalks for a real client, WalkDenver.

MURP Faculty Present at 2015 Western Planner Conference

August 21, 2015

Laramie, WY – MURP Department Chair Austin Troy and Instructor Ken Schroeppel spoke at the 2015 Western Planner Conference in Laramie, Wyoming, August 18-21, 2015. The conference, hosted by the Wyoming Planning Association, featured 42 sessions all dealing with issues pertaining to the West.

Austin’s presentation, titled “Approaches to Developing Urban Sustainability Metrics and Performance Indicators,” focused on sustainability indicators, performance measures and reporting. Austin discussed major sustainability indicator frameworks and explored the implementation of frameworks specific to cities, using Denver, Barcelona and Seoul as case studies.

Ken gave a joint talk with Trey Sherwood, Executive Director of the Laramie Main Street Alliance, titled “Downtown Growth and Development: Small Town/Big City Trends and Best Practices.” The interactive session focused on best practices, trends, challenges and the future of downtown revitalization. The panel looked at topics including residential development, historic preservation, public engagement, planning for growth, and managing success.

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!