Over the course of the past year, students at the University of Colorado Denver have gained hands-on skills while working with the City of Lakewood to complete a range of projects to increase sustainability and livability. Students presented their findings to Lakewood officials and celebrated the end of a successful partnership on April 27.
Part of the Hometown Colorado Initiative, a university-wide program that leverages faculty experience and student talent to help communities with high-priority projects, CU Denver students worked with city staff to identify and complete work on Lakewood’s to-do list. Projects included:
- A walkability study to determine the accessibility of transit-oriented development for pedestrians.
- An analysis and description of the local food ecosystem and suggestions for creating better access to locally produced food.
- New design concepts for Lasley Park.
- Recommendations for a “Green Business” certificate program.
- “Wacky Lakewood” – a map charting entertainment destinations in Lakewood and proposals for other events to encourage people to experience the city.
Now in its inaugural year, Hometown Colorado uses cross-disciplinary collaboration over an academic year to help a partner city become more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. The program is modeled after the national initiative Sustainable City Year and is the first of its kind in Colorado.
“Our signature asset at CU Denver is pairing what students learn in the classroom with real-world applications to better our community,” said CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell. “Our students are fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from Lakewood staff members on the path to achieving the city’s sustainability goals.”
Programs modeled after Sustainable City Year have been launched in 22 universities across the country; this is the first program of its kind in Colorado. CU Denver has selected the City of Arvada as the Hometown Colorado partner for the 2016-2017 academic year.