Tag Archives: Troy

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!