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Areas of Focus


College of Architecture and Planning

Three powerful themes are woven into the programs and activities of the College of Architecture and Planning.


Enduring Places brings together the perspectives of sustainability and historic preservation, exploring how to embrace existing buildings and public spaces and to create new ones that will thrive and evolve over time. Adaptively re-using our building stock, rather than tearing down and building afresh, uses resources more efficiently. Drawing from the past to inform the future, while basing our building designs on deeper traditions, recognizes and protects our cultural heritage while creating more memorable, lasting places.​

  • We received a large gift from the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art to support the study of traditional design languages. 


  • Our students in 2012 won a national sustainability design competition, celebrated at an awards ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C. 


  • Our Center of Preservation Research (CoPR) is using traditional and state of the art laser scanning technology to document historic buildings in the region, and to provide paid internships for our students.

Emerging Practices

Emerging Practices explores new modes of professional practice. The design and construction industries are now global, and subject to global social and economic trends. New technologies used in construction, design and visualization are transforming our modes of work. The old business models for professional practice are leaving the designers out of the key decisions that shape the environment. We are exploring how the next generation of designers and planners can flourish in this new context.

  • Our award-winning Design Build Certificate Program has had students working on the Navajo Nation in Utah, in Guatemala, on local non-profit projects, and designing micro-cabins for the Colorado Outward Bound School. They learn how to integrate design with construction, how to manage and build real projects, and how to use their skills in support of local communities. 


  • We received an endowment to support yearly public events exploring new ideas about architectural practice. We see this as a great example of how CAP, working with practitioners, can provide a public forum for issues of interest to the design and planning communities. 


  • The Master of Urban and Regional Planning program was reorganized in 2013 with an innovative, issue-oriented approach to planning education around three major initiatives: Healthy Communities, Urban Revitalization and Regional Sustainability, in which it aims to become a national leader by 2020. 

Engaged Communities

Engaged Communities addresses the increasing desire of communities to take an active role in creating satisfying and socially just places. Design and planning students learn how to initiate and manage public processes, as well as to extend participation to those whose voices are not always heard. Project-based learning, in classroom and studio, as well as through the clinical practice model of our Centers, prepares our students to become leaders in a world increasingly open to democratic planning and design among diverse stakeholders. This experiential service learning in a public university directly serves the needs of the state and region.​

  • ​Several courses have students working with local residents on projects that benefit the community. Urban Design students have helped to re-envision the I-70 corridor through North Denver, and four Master of Urban and Regional Planning classes collaborated to help the residents of Welby envision their future through research, design and facilitating conversations among community members.​


  • Our Colorado Center for Community Development (CCCD) partners with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to assist small rural communities with design and planning projects, while affording meaningful real world interactions with town officials and residents. 


  • The Center of Preservation Research (CoPR) has students working with communities to document and survey historic agricultural properties and landscapes throughout the state of Colorado, working with agencies to use high-tech scanning methods to document ruins in the Canyon of the Ancients in Southwest Colorado, and working with communities throughout the state to assess their preservation planning needs.​

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