Two weeks ago, the CU Denver Presidential Initiative on Urban and Place-Based Research announced the awardees of its 2021 round of funding. Last Wednesday, they presented their newly funded research at the Presidential Initiative Fall Research Showcase. Funded by the CU System President’s Office in 2020, the grants—totaling $220,000—seed high quality, interdisciplinary research that will eventually lead to larger grants.
The principal investigators, their immediate teams, and student researchers joined Provost Constancio Nakuma and Chancellor Michelle Marks to talk about their upcoming projects.
“This round, we have a lot more convergence between the projects,” said Austin Troy, PhD, director of the CU Denver Presidential Initiative on Urban and Place-Based Research, as well as a professor and chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. “A number of them deal with the urban environment, like the High Line Canal, air quality, affordable housing, and the food environment.”
Each researcher took turns explaining how they will use their portion of the $220,000 in seed grants awarded this year. Gregory Simon, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, explained how his project will examine the effects—in terms of labor, business, and mobility impacts—of third-party food delivery platforms on restaurants, stores, and delivery drivers in Denver.
Carrie Makarewicz, PhD, associate professor in Urban & Regional Planning, will look into the causes for the housing crisis’ extreme affordability gap. She hopes her research will inform changes to local policies, land use codes, and housing advocacy strategies.
Priyanka deSouza, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Studies and Ben Crawford, PhD, assistant professor in the Geography and Environmental Sciences Department, will examine the variability and uncertainty inherent in low-cost air quality monitoring networks and devices—like the lifetime of the sensors in varying site conditions. The devices are used for a neighborhood-scale understanding of air pollution levels and the team will apply their findings to a network deployed in Denver public schools.
Hani Mansour, PhD, and Brian Duncan, PhD, professors of economics valuate the effects of a place-based scholarship program, administered by the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF), on post-secondary educational and labor market outcomes. Brian Page, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Geography & Environmental Sciences, will be working on a community-based narrative story maps of the lost Auraria neighborhood.
Laurel Hartley, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Integrative Biology, and Christina Alba, PhD, assistant research scientist at the Denver Botanic Gardens, are examining how green stormwater infrastructure shapes plant diversity and soil quality—an important system as Colorado will face increasing water scarcity and water quality issues under climate change. They are collaborating to adapt their current, pilot-scale research to be deployed by jurisdictional partners at the scale of the entire 71-mile High Line Canal stretching from Douglas County to northeast Denver.
For more about the CU Denver Presidential Initiative on Urban and Place-Based Research, the 2021 projects, and updates on the 2020 funded projects, click here.