Civic Innovation ChallengeMar 24, 2021
CU Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning, and its civic and university partners, Awarded $50,000 Planning Grant from the National Science Foundation to Address Systemic Racism Through Community-designed Mobility Systems in Denver
March 20, 2021 -- How can we undo redlining and reimagine mobility to equitably build community health and wealth? United by this question, CU Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning (CAP), as the leading institution, has teamed with a diverse team of Denver regional partners including Regional Transportation District, Denver Regional Council of Governments, City and County of Denver, University of Denver, Center for Community Wealth Building, Valverde Neighborhood Association, and others. Together they are collaborating in pursuit of funding from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Civic Innovation Challenge to co-design and pilot an accessible, resilient, multi-modal mobility system to support community-rooted development and connection in Denver’s Valverde neighborhood.
The team has just four months to engage in a structured process, lead by MetroLab Network, to develop ideas and prepare for implementation.
“We want to change the way the field researches and does transportation planning, implementation and operations so it is more context-sensitive, responsive to community needs, and reparative of past harms from systemic racism and other policies that promoted structural inequalities through infrastructure investments and financing,” said Dr. Carrie Makarewicz, Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Colorado Denver who is the Principal Investigator of the project.
Working together with an interdisciplinary and intersectional team of university researchers, government planners and operators, transportation advocates, and neighborhood organizations and residents the grant will allow the team to design a more complete mobility system that is affordable, adaptive, and health and wealth promoting.
Currently, residents in many neighborhoods like the pilot community, Valverde, are forced to rely upon private vehicles for all their travel needs. But vehicles are expensive to buy, operate, and maintain and they don’t work for all individuals. Many residents want more options but they’re not easily available.
“We aim to create opportunities for local individuals and companies to break into the mobility industry so that the community is getting better transportation options as well as wealth-building opportunities when their transportation expenditures stay within the community. Lastly, our goal is to find ways to invest in transportation improvements without attracting gentrification that often results in displacement,” Dr. Makarewicz said.
The NSF’s Civic Innovation Challenge supports ready-to-implement pilot projects that have the potential to produce scalable, sustainable, and transferable solutions to address community-identified challenges in the mobility and resilience domains. The competition is funded with $11 million from the U.S. National Science Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The CU Denver CAP team consists of PI, Carrie Makarewicz, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP); Austin Troy, Ph.D., Professor DURP; Manish Shirgaokar, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, DURP; Wes Marshall, Ph.D., PE, Associate Professor, College of Engineering, Design, and Computing; John Tolva, Scholar-in-Residence, College of Engineering and School of Public Affairs; Moatassem Abdullah, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, College of Engineering, Design, and Computing; Ryanne Ototivo, Ph.D. student in Geography, Planning & Design; Dani Slabaugh, Ph.D. student in Geography, Planning & Design; Benjamin Gellman, Masters student in Urban and Regional Planning.
For more information contact Carrie Makarewicz, firstname.lastname@example.org.
About NSF’s Civic Innovation Challenge:
The Civic Innovation Challenge is a national research and action competition in the smart and connected communities domain. The competition supports ready-to-implement pilot projects that have the potential to produce scalable, sustainable, and transferable solutions to address community-identified challenges in the mobility and resilience domains. The Civic Innovation Challenge is funded with $11 million from the U.S. National Science Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Project teams comprise civic partners—such as local, state, and tribal government officials, and non-profit and community leaders—working together with researchers. A total of 52 teams have each been awarded $50,000 to support the refinement of their civic concepts. At the end of Stage 1, NSF will select, through a merit-review process, a number of Stage 2 awardees who will each receive awards of up to $1 million to support project implementation. More information about the competition and the Stage 1 winners can be found here.