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Why Sustainable Urban Infrastructure?

With unprecedented increases in urban populations, constrained water supplies, energy shifts to mitigate climate change and vulnerability to disasters, cities worldwide are seeking more sustainable infrastructures that are resilient, high-performing, resource-efficient, cost-effective and environment-friendly.  Designing such infrastructures requires emerging technologies to be well-integrated with urban planning, public policy and participatory community efforts. 

Urban infrastructure refers to engineered systems that provide water, energy, transport, sanitation, information and built environments for more than half of the world’s population living in cities today.  With rapid population growth placing a strain on available and vulnerable resources (water, energy and materials), the need for high-performing, resilient, cost-effective, resource-efficient and environment-friendly infrastructure is being recognized globally as a key component of future urban sustainability.

The Certificate in Sustainable Urban Infrastructure is for students and working professionals who seek an interdisciplinary curriculum in the broad field of sustainable infrastructure to address complex water, energy, built environment and transportation challenges using engineering and social science strategies.  The certificate program can be taken in conjunction with a degree program or independently from formal graduation, and is open to any enrolled or non-degree seeking student.  Those wishing to obtain the Certificate in Sustainable Urban Infrastructure are required to complete four courses.  Individuals with degrees in a range of disciplines (science, engineering, finance, accounting, urban planning, etc.) would be eligible to take these classes and receive the Certificate.

​IGERT Programs Nationwide

UC Denver received a prestigious $3.2M Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) grant from the National Science Foundation to develop an innovative interdisciplinary graduate program on sustainable urban infrastructure.  The IGERT award itself supported 27 doctoral students during the five-year grant period from 2007-2014.  The graduate program, the first of its kind in the country for its breadth across disciplines, spanned the Colleges of Engineering, Architecture and Planning, Public Affairs, and Liberal Arts and Sciences.  See link for more information

The IGERT Program on the UC Denver campus is no longer accepting student fellows.  

IGERT grants are awarded by NSF to innovative graduate programs in US universities for training PhD scientists and engineers with the interdisciplinary background and the technical, professional and personal skills needed to address global questions of the future.  The IGERT program is aimed at establishing innovative new models for graduate education, training and collaborative research that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries.  It is also intended to facilitate development of a diverse, globally-engaged, science and engineering workforce. 

International and Fieldwork Opportunities

Fieldwork and international components of this curriculum include opportunities to work in cities such as Chennai, India to evaluate innovative technologies, urban planning, policy and community engagement strategies for urban sustainability.

IGERT Spring Closing Ceremony 5.14.14:  See image below and link to recording of event can be found here:


     Final Student Presentations at the 2014 IGERT Spring Seminar Series

2/5/14:  Kara Luckey:  “Who benefits from regional rail transit investments? Identifying planning and policy levers that support socially-equitable transit and transit-oriented development?”

2/5/14:  Eric Stonebraker:  “Exploring the relationships between neighborhood amenities, accessibility, and place attachment.”

2/26/14:  Ed Gaviria:  “Understanding Traffic Congestion and its Implications.”

Subtopic: Challenges of gathering and modeling time series data


3/5/14:  Zac Coventry:  Measuring Sustainable Residential Construction:  A Preliminary Research Plan."

3/5/14:  Laurie Manderino:  “Findings from cross-country analysis of national institutional and governance policies in low-income countries as relates to progress on Millennium Development Goal 7.C for extension of water and sanitation access to more citizens.”

3/19/14:  Stephen Fisher:  "Urban agriculture characterized by cycle assessment and land use patterns."

4/9/14:  Kate Oviatt:  "Exploring Urban Agriculture as a Strategy for Empowerment.”

4/9/14:  Andy Pattison:  “Learning through Belief Change and Reinforcement: A Study of Coalitions in Climate and Energy Issues."

4/23/14:  Alejandro Henao:  "Effects of Fuel Price Shocks in Commuting Expenditures: A Transportation Economic Resilience Analysis.”

5/7/14:  Joshua Sperling:  “Exploring the nexus of infrastructures, environment and health:   challenges and opportunities in rapidly growing Asian cities.” | Physical Address: 1380 Lawrence St., Ste. 500  Denver, CO  80204 | Mailing Address: University of Colorado Denver, SPA, Campus Box 142, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217-3364 | ph: 303.315.2228 | fax: 303.315.2229 | SPA Website Feedback

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