students working on designs at desk

The Presidential Initiative is intended to foster excellence and preeminence in urban and place-based research and creative work at CU Denver through offering funding, coordinating faculty across campus, communicating outcomes, enabling connections with partners in the community, and serving as a resource for sharing data and best practices. In so doing, it is intended to both increase the impact of CU Denver’s urban and place-based research and creative work, and to attract and fund faculty and students interested in this domain. While focused on urban issues generally, the Initiative emphasizes work relevant to the Front Range, particularly when it has implications nationally or internationally.

The Initiative funds projects that address critical and timely topics related to cities, such as:  Social and Environmental Justice, Equity and Inclusion, Affordable Housing, Plan Making, Public Spaces, Global Cities, Smart Cities, Urban Informatics, Artificial Intelligence for Cities, Infrastructure, Transportation and Mobility, Climate Adaptation, Green Infrastructure, Air and Water Quality, Urban Ecology, Biomimicry, Green Real Estate Development, Public Health, Water and Energy Use, Natural Hazards Mitigation, Environmental Policy, Public Finance, Historic Preservation, Creative Industries, Placemaking, Community Development, Arts and Urban Revitalization, Healthcare Access, Economic Development, Behavioral Economics, Education Policy and Practice, Public Policy and Governance, Public Safety, Public Engagement, Entrepreneurship, Urban Design, Construction Management, and much more.

The 2021 Request for Proposals for seed grants  is now closed. Full descriptions of the projects awarded in the 2020 round of funding are given from the links below.

2021 Award Recipients

Developing Descriptive and Predictive Causal Models to Study the Impacts of Highway Construction on Ambient Air Quality in the Front Range

Date: 10/1/2020
colorado interstate highway
Principal Researchers: Farnoush Banaei-Kashani

Unit: Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Project Abstract:
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), building on a collaboration with Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE), is initiating a multi-year Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funded project to document and understand impacts of typical highway construction activities on air quality in the Front Range. As part of this project the team is deploying a variety of environmental monitoring sensors along the I-270 corridor, collecting multimodal environmental data including PM2.5, PM10, NOx, and total tVOC (Total Volatile Organic Compounds), to name a few. The existing collaboration has similar suites of sensors along the central I-70 corridor. With our proposed project, in partnership with the aforementioned team we will (1) obtain air quality data from the location targeted by the FHWA sponsored project, (2) augment and fuse the air quality data with publicly available construction, traffic, and weather datasets, and finally, (3) use the fused data to develop descriptive and predictive causal models that can quantify the impact of highway construction projects on air quality.

View project updates from the 2021 Fall Research Showcase [PDF]

2020 Award Recipients