5280 Thought Forum speakers
CU Denver researchers participate in the first-ever 5280 Thought Forum on the future of Denver.

CU Denver Co-Hosts First 5280 Thought Forum on the Future of Denver

April 21, 2023

CU Denver’s location in the heart of downtown Denver became the ideal location to discuss the future of the city on Tuesday during the first-ever 5280 Thought Forum. Discussions tackled big ideas from sustaining the vitality of the urban core to population growth and how to create an equilibrium between the outdoor industry and natural resources.   

Chancellor Michelle Marks cutting a cake commemorating CU Denver’s 50th anniversary at a post-forum reception. 

Each of the Thought Forum’s three panels featured prominent local experts, including several CU Denver faculty members, who discussed impending challenges and opportunities on topics related to Denver and Colorado’s future.   

The event, for which CU Denver was a partner and presenting sponsor, was held at the university’s Jake Jabs Event Center. It drew more than 150 attendees from across the region’s business, cultural, and education spectrum to create conversations with the potential for lasting impact.  

“For 50 years, CU Denver has been a catalyst and a laboratory for so many great ideas influencing our region,” Chancellor Michelle Marks said. “Co-hosting this forum with 5280 underscores CU Denver’s unique value as Colorado’s only public urban research university.” 


Ken Schroeppel, assistant professor of urban and regional planning and director of urban design, College of Architecture and Planning, CU Denver, on the 5280 Thought Forum’s first panel, “The Future of Downtown Denver.” 


Carrie Makarewicz, PhD, associate professor and department chair of the Urban and Regional Planning department, College of Architecture and Planning, CU Denver, on the 5280 Thought Forum’s first panel, “The Future of Downtown Denver.” 


Paul Teske, dean of CU Denver’s School of Public Affairs, introducing the 5280 Thought Forum’s third panel, “The Future of Outdoor Recreation.”  


Jeremy Nemeth, professor of urban and regional planning, College of Architecture and Planning, CU Denver, on the 5280 Thought Forum’s second panel, “The Future of Living in Denver.” 


Brian Buma (Far Right), PhD, associate professor, CLAS, and senior climate scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, speaking on the 5280 Thought Forum’s third panel, “The Future of Outdoor Recreation in Colorado.” The panel included (from left) Lindsay King, 5280 editor; Luis Benitez, vice president for government affairs and global impact, VF Corporation; and Mark Eller, director of foundations and new business, Leave No Trace. 

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