Reaching for Regeneration: Discovering the Power of Place

colin_color

Colin Day
Projects Manager


Amid increasing homogenization of American communities, there is a growing interest in identifying and cultivating the unique traits inherent to individual places. Imagine for a moment three different towns that you are familiar with and that are geographically proximate. Each one has its own particular character, culture, and mindset – but why is that? What drives a place to be one way, and not another, in spite of many seemingly similar elements? If we could truly understand the driving forces, patterns, and relationships that make a place what it is, how might that inform our business approaches, city planning, stakeholder engagement processes, and the activities that provide benefit to the community?

Regenesis Group, based in Santa Fe and Boston, has been pioneering a practice called regenerative development, which seeks to reveal and work with the inherent potential of a place. Specifically, Regenesis has developed a methodology called “Story of Place,” which aims to “access the deep love and caring that people have for their place, and then reconcile the inevitable contrasting stakeholder viewpoints into a higher-order understanding that all stakeholders can experience, share, and work from together.” This methodology creates an understanding of what is unique, important, and fundamentally programmed into any given community.

The Story of Place process is built on thorough research about a place’s unique characteristics – what differentiates it geologically, ecologically, and culturally from any other place. The process pulls on a community’s collective experience to explore a place’s distinction—from pre-human history through human inhabitation—considering how culture has developed though time. It uncovers complex patterns that point to customized strategies for supporting a place’s ecological, social, and economic resilience. Ultimately, the process offers unique solutions for making a place thrive.

In this process, community members are active participants in the story of their place. They take ownership through community planning processes and along the way, reaffirm their belonging in the community. As a result, creativity and cooperation drive the planning process, enabling the community to think outside the box, address larger challenges, and regenerate from the inside out.

Stry of Place_cairn_opt (1)

How You Can Get Involved

IBE, in collaboration with the Urban Lab, is pleased to join Regenesis Group to bring Story of Place to Fort Collins beginning this spring. On April 11, Ben Haggard, founding principal at Regenesis Group, will discuss regenerative development and Story of Place (register); he’ll also present in Denver at the Alliance Center on April 10 (register). Then, through a hybrid online and in-person training from June to September, Fort Collins participants will re-discover our place and our collective experience within it. To learn more about Story of Place and how you can get involved, contact Colin Day at colin.day[at]colostate.edu.

Advertisements

No Difference in Occupant Satisfaction and LEED? Not so fast!

Associate Director
The Center for the Built Environment (CBE) at UC Berkley recently released a study in May 2014 suggesting that there is no difference in occupant satisfaction for LEED and non-LEED buildings.  Unfortunately, results like these can be easily taken at face value and are often misinterpreted by general audiences.
Upon further investigation and consideration of the study, there are a couple of important questions that should be raised about the construct, and ultimately the results, of the study.
Of the 15 IEQ parameters that the study assessed, only three are substantively addressed in the 2009 LEED for New Construction and Commercial Interiors credits: amount of light, air quality, and temperature.  The additional parameters center on cleanliness, maintenance, spatial design, and aesthetic, among others.
Light, air quality, and temperature are primarily addressed as credits in LEED, and not as prerequisites.  The CBE study does not indicate if the credits related to these attributes were achieved in the buildings evaluated in the study.  The study also included some buildings certified under the Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance rating system, which would include some additional parameters (e.g. building maintenance, workspace cleanliness), but even these attributes are a bit of a stretch.
Of the three areas that could arguably be addressed by LEED, responses were somewhat unfavorable related to amount of light in LEED buildings (likely related to energy conservation efforts), favorable for air quality (potentially due to ventilation and healthy materials credits that are included in LEED), and mostly neutral on temperature (which makes sense because thermal comfort is a key focus for any mechanical engineer who wants to cover his/her back on callbacks from unhappy owners).
So the first question is, “Is LEED even designed to affect occupant satisfaction?” I would argue that it is not.  LEED is primarily designed to 1) increase energy and water efficiency, 2) to encourage responsible site selection and development, 3) reduce impacts related to materials and 4) to create healthierbuildings for occupants.  Healthier is not the same as satisfied, as the two often include different factors, design solutions, and metrics for success.
A second point about methodology is that the researchers were primarily comparing Class A offices and institutional buildings to other Class A offices and institutional buildings.  One would argue that Class A design, is, well, Class A design.  That means that the starting point is already a pretty nice building, with decent designers and good mechanical systems.  Our experience on over 50 LEED projects would suggest that the pursuit of LEED generally doesn’t have much effect on decisions around furnishings, finishes, office layouts, etc. These types of design decisions are often dictated by programming and budget, and to a much lesser extent by LEED.
At the end of the day, I’m more concerned that the headlines and blog posts on this study will give people the wrong idea.  LEED really isn’t designed to affect the 15 IEQ factors that were measured in the CBE study.  LEED is, however, a great tool for adding focus and accountability for project teams to track and meet a whole host of relevant green building strategies.  Good design should not start with LEED; but through good design, prestigious certifications – and more importantly highly effective buildings – naturally follow.
A complete copy of the article published in Building and Environment can be found here.

Coors Field Sustainable Garden

By: Colin Day

The Institute for the Built Environment has finished its first growing season in the urban garden business. In collaboration with ARAMARK Food Services operating at Coors Field, our executive management and graduate student interns implemented the installation of the Coors Field Sustainable Garden, located at Gate A of the stadium in Denver, before the commencement of the 2013 baseball season. ARAMARK food services, an industry leader in public venue scale food service and facility maintenance, contracted IBE to assist in the creation of a pilot garden space, a first within major league sports venues. The goal was to realize the vision of on-site, sustainably produced food. The design mimics a baseball stadium with raised beds terracing upwards from the garden’s ‘infield’ to the ‘outfield’, to the ‘stands’. Ornamental flowers, followed by herbs and beneficial garden plants, followed by vegetables were on display for the ½ million fans that pass through Gate A over the course of the Rockies’ season.

The vision of ARAMARK to display and provide healthy, sustainably produced herbs and vegetables on-site as a part of their food operations is an example of a large company-wide commitment to sustainability. ARAMARK promotes sustainable practices in food purchasing, environmentally responsible consumer choices, greenhouse gas conscious building operations, energy and water conservation measures, green cleaning, greening their delivery fleet and ethically managing their waste products.

IBE facilitated design development, chose sustainable materials that would best suit the project ethos, contracted local, organic plant propagation, managed PR communication from conception to implementation and participated in the installation of the garden. During the 2013 growing season, the Coors Field Sustainable Garden provided 600 sq/ft of on-site, sustainably produced and managed vegetables, herbs, flowering ornaments, and plants that promote beneficial garden ecosystem functions to on-site chefs through the 2013 growing season. The harvest included heirloom varieties of tomatoes and peppers and a wide variety of herbs that were harvested by the IBE team and on-site kitchen staff during late August and early September of 2013.

IBE has successfully contracted to expand the scope of our involvement with ARAMARK in the 2014 growing season. This will include outreach to educational and city programs in the Denver area with an emphasis on community involvement and healthy, sustainable food choices for at-risk and under served youth communities. In order to realize these goals, our project team will pursue partnerships with programs such as and Denver Urban Gardens (DUG), as well as potential coalitions with governing bodies such as the Denver Public School System. Additionally, our crops selections will be expanded to lengthen the growing season and increase the variety of selection and nutrition within the beds.

Ultimately, IBE hopes to develop the ‘The GaRden’ as a component of ARAMARK’s Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) goals.  With outreach to other interested ARAMARK facilities with assistance from Denver ARAMARK management, the goal is an export of sets of guidelines and toolkits that assist in the establishment of sustainable gardens at other ARAMARK venues. Through the connection between relevant programs in higher education to nearby ARAMARK facilities, the potential ensuing collaboration would include regionally relevant outreach agendas.

Our experience at Coors Field in collaboration with ARAMARK corresponds with our ethos of sustainable design in the built environment, regionally relevant projects, and educational outreach that intends to spread understanding about sustainable activities and their impacts on health. IBE looks forward to breaking ground at Coors Field again during the 2014 growing season with our project partners at ARAMARK.

Key Energy Saving Tips in Facilities Management



By: April Brown

Through a recent federal government grant with the General Services Administration (GSA), the Institute for the Built Environment summarized the current state of research on effective strategies to reduce the carbon footprint, resource use, and costs of operating existing buildings. By utilizing research from academia, national laboratories, and professional associations, we have identified key low-cost opportunities in 5 high impact areas for energy conservation: plug and process load management, water efficiency, daylighting, behavior engagement, and operational efficiency. Our findings elevate the conversation in facilities management by clarifying the role of energy efficiency, occupant behavior, building maintenance staff and organizational leadership, and sustainability. Additionally, our findings prioritize high impact energy saving tips and best management practices based on return on investment data for operational sustainability in buildings. April Brown, co-author of the research for GSA, answers 4 frequently asked questions related to energy efficiency and facilities management of existing buildings based on recent studies.

1.  What if I want to improve the energy use at my office, but don’t have a lot of money or don’t have control of the major mechanical systems or building envelope.  Can I make meaningful changes on a limited budget?

Yes, actually, there several operations and maintenance activities that have significant energy savings with little upfront cost and require little control over building systems.  In fact, low cost operations and maintenance measures realize the same energy savings as equipment retrofits and cost 20 times less. The first place to start is with implementation of a few simple and straightforward building operations and maintenance best practices. It may sound unlikely that such savings can be achieved through these simple changes, but studies have shown that developing and implementing best practices has significant impact.  For example, after 4 years of operating with definitive best practices, a Spain university reduced energy costs by $676,750, annually, which had a 2.5 year return on investment. Key best practices in saving operational energy costs include the following:

  • Planning and goal setting – Develop energy management plan with energy efficiency as a key strategic goal of the organization and incorporate goals for energy efficiency into the business plan. Encourage proactive actions and keep senior management regularly informed and engaged in the progress toward achieving goals.
  • Appoint an energy manager –Designate an individual responsible for managing energy and promoting energy-efficient building operation. Often the cost savings generated by an experienced energy manager can easily cover his or her salary. Usually buildings/portfolios over 300,000 square feet would require a certified energy manager; otherwise assigning energy management tasks to a qualified staff person may be sufficient.
  •  Perform operations and maintenance assessments – Operations and maintenance assessments seek to understand why the building is operated and maintained in a certain way.  To be clear, an O&M assessment is not an energy audit, rather, the assessment evaluates the current O&M program and practices, including the management structures, policies, and user requirements that influence them. Assessments are critical to understanding where opportunities exist and what documentation is lacking. For more information on O&M assessments see Operation and Maintenance Assessments for Energy Efficient Building Operation.
  • Whole building energy accounting – Track and analyze past and current energy use, demand (electricity), and cost using a convenient and reliable methodology (e.g. ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager). Be sure to share energy accounting information with facilities staff as they are often the most involved with operating and maintaining the building, yet they know the least information on energy use. Distribute report to both senior management and facilities staff and show how you are meeting the organization’s strategic goals for energy reduction. 
  • Documentation – Buildings systems and operating plans are invaluable to properly maintaining your building.  With operating documentation, such as written sequences of operation or control strategies, provide a reference to check against when changes occur and ensure that changes in sequencing are continually documented.   These resources eliminate energy waste by providing confidence in whether the operations schedules are intended or off track.  Videos and photographs can complement written documentation.

  • Appropriate equipment scheduling – Equipment schedules should meet occupant needs but not exceed. The easiest way to waste energy is to leave equipment and lights on when they could be off. Equipment schedules are often adjusted to meet the need of a special program but not reverted back to normal operations. Therefore, continual review of scheduling eliminates waste. The payback for improved scheduling is almost immediate because of the little cost, including labor.

2.  What are key best practices for reducing plug loads in an office building?

Office equipment can make up as much as 30% of electricity consumption in an office, making this a great target for reducing wasted energy and paying closer attention to office schedules and occupancy needs. Key best practices are:

    • Procurement – Purchase ENERGY STAR equipment when it’s time to replace office equipment. Once study found that ENERGY STAR equipment resulted in 18% energy savings. When purchasing computers, prioritize laptops over the desktop computers as laptops typically use a third of the energy of desktop computers. If you still have CRT monitors, it is high time to replace those with LCD monitors, which use less than half of the power draw of CRT monitors. Additionally, adjust brightness to the dimmest setting that the ambient lighting in the room will allow or consider automatic brightness controls, which change the brightness based on the ambient light levels. Institutionalize the use of centralized printers where several workstations use one printer. Also, consider inkjet printers when possible as they use significantly less energy than other printers.

  • Power management settings – Enable aggressive power management settings before distributing equipment to staff. Low power modes include setting computers and laptops to sleep mode after 15-60 minutes of inactivity – the shorter the better. Also, educate staff on how to activate even lower power modes and why it’s important.
  • Shutoff interventions – Other plug load reduction strategies seek to shutoff plugs through load or occupant sensor plug strips (27% energy savings), schedule-based controls (40+% energy savings), and email reminders (6% energy savings). In one GSA study, schedule based plug strips were installed after enabling low power settings and reduced plug loads at workstations by an additional 26%. Payback must be evaluated as the cost of these advanced power strips can be prohibitive.

3.  What about indoor water use reduction?  Do you suggest retrofitting fixtures with dual flush toilets and automated faucets?

Well, while both are well intended, research shows that dual flush toilets and automated faucets use more water than expected from the flush and flow rate specifications. Depending on what type of fixture they are replacing, they can actually increase indoor water use.  Dual flush toilets typically use more water than projected because the flush mechanism is not aligned with user behavior, meaning the dual flush handle is designed to pull up for a low-flow flush and down for a full flush.  As we toilet users are already conditioned to push the handle down, our primary behavior decreases the efficiency of the toilets. The appropriate use of the handle can be increased through the education of building occupants; however some building owners have elected to reverse the handle design to align with user behavior.  Also, the type of building occupant must be considered; for example, if the building primarily serves visitors then education is not effective. Furthermore, dual flush fixtures never make sense in bathrooms where urinals are present, as the toilet is typically used only for the full flush in this instance. There is a great resource available, called Maximum Performance (MaP), that shows the performance specifications of many toilets available on the market, comparing performance of waste removal (grams per flush) and flow rate.  For example, many toilets flush 1,000 grams per flush with 1.28 gallons of water per flush (20% water savings compared to code). In summary, single low-flush toilets are the best at sufficiently eliminating solid waste and guaranteeing water savings.

Research also shows that automatic faucets – though hygienic – use more water than they should, due to incorrectly installed sensors, phantom uses (turning on without being triggered by an intentional hand), and always operating at full flow (instead of the variable flow of manual fixtures).  Aerators are likely a more effective, and less expensive, retrofit for reducing water consumption. If installing automatic faucets, pay careful attention to product specifications to ensure the sensor calibration is noted and accurate and the cycle time is aligned with the design intent.

4.  What are some in-house activities that we might be able to do to reduce energy consumption without needing outside contractors?

For larger, more complex buildings and/or portfolios, there are two primary operations and maintenance strategies that encompass many of the known and documented best management practices – building re-tuning and energy information systems.

Re-tuning is a comprehensive set of activities that evaluate a buildings’ energy management and control systems to ensure that schedules and controls are appropriate and operating correctly. Re-tuning seeks to identify and correct building operational problems that lead to energy waste, ensuring maximum energy efficiency and occupant comfort year after year. Essentially, re-tuning is a scaled-down version of retro-commissioning.  A key difference between re-tuning and retro-commissioning is that, once properly trained, re-tuning can be done with in-house staff, whereas retro-commissioning typically requires an outside contractor. Furthermore, because re-tuning is done in-house, building operators and owners take ownership of the faults and corrective actions, ensuring persistence with energy savings. Re-tuning and Energy Information Systems are complimentary to each other, as re-tuning relies on energy analysis to evaluate the economic impact of corrective actions.

Energy Information Systems (EIS) are advanced energy tracking software, hardware, and communication technologies used to store, analyze, and publish building energy information. EIS are not energy management and control systems (EMCS) or building automation systems (BAS), as these systems control the energy consuming systems in a building. Instead, EIS connect with the buildings’ EMCS or BAS to gather and track the energy data, then analyze the data against weather files, baselines and benchmarks and send alerts to managers. Additionally, EIS are not information dashboards, batch analysis tools, greenhouse gas footprint calculators, or environmental monitors. EIS pertain more specifically to efficient building operations by offering a proactive approach to energy management using meters and sophisticated software to read, analyze, and alert based on readings.  In essence, EIS supports real-time detection of energy waste, allowing staff to identify the cause and determine the appropriate response. EIS are a promising solution for building managers to continuously reduce energy use and costs. EIS may be too sophisticated for some building owners but the concept is scalable.  Small building owners can start small with whole building benchmarking and energy accounting. Studies show that simple benchmarking and tracking still result in energy savings, concluding that just by monitoring we notice simple opportunities for improvement. EPA analyzed the ENERGY STAR portfolio manager buildings and found that during the years 2008-2011 buildings had an average annual savings of 2.4%. The more sophisticated the accounting and tracking program, the more energy savings potential. One study found that permanent metering and continuous monitoring saved 9% in energy use.  Other studies show that buildings with sophisticated EIS save up to 25% energy costs.
Re-tuning and EIS focus on the operational efficiency of building operations.  Often operations and maintenance best management practices focus on improving maintenance procedures and equipment efficiency, however, facilities staff should equally consider how their building is wasting energy because no matter how efficiently your equipment is running, if it’s running when it doesn’t need to be you are wasting precious money and resources.

Technology Backing Traditional Wisdom in Sustainable Construction

People often think of sustainable construction as if it was a new concept, when in reality it is the concept of wastefulness in construction that is novel. Throughout much of history people built their homes with environmentally benign materials that were locally sourced and readily available out of necessity.  Over time, it was discovered that using certain designs, orientations, material choices, and construction methods could lead to homes that maximized comfort and functionality for residents.
For example, Ancient Syrians discovered that they could construct beehive shaped mud huts that would keep them cool in their hot, arid desert climate.  The mud used to build these huts has a relatively high thermal mass so it is slow to absorb or release energy. Few or no windows prevent radiant heat gains in the huts. A small hole in the center of the elevated ceiling allows for hot air to rise and escape the structure. This leads to these structures staying cool during the day and somewhat warm at night.
Cliff dwellings constructed by the Pueblo Indians are another great example of using natural surroundings and passive design strategies to maximize comfort.  Entire villages constructed out of stone have been discovered built into southern facing cliffs and nestled underneath natural rock overhangs.  These overhangs effectively minimize unwanted direct solar heat gain during the summer months while allowing for much needed heat gains the winter months.  The rock overhang also provides residents with protection from rain and snow.
While it is not practical for everyone to have a stone house built into the side of a cliff, nor do most westerners want to live in a mud hut, it is possible to use a higher percentage of locally sourced materials and take advantage of passive design strategies to optimize the performance of your building.
As written by the ancient Greek philosopher Aeschylus, “Only primitives & barbarians lack knowledge of houses turned to face the winter sun.”  
But as I walk through my neighborhood it seems as though houses were dropped on their site with no consideration of the buildings orientation. 
So has the technological “advancement” of the human race somehow caused us to revert primitives and barbarians without enough sense to even attempt to take advantage of the free energy from the sun? Are we content relying on the brute strength of our HVAC systems to regulate our comfort instead of taking advantage of the synergistic opportunities of good design and construction.
Sure, technology certainly has the potential to enhance the comfort and functionality of homes but it often comes with negative impacts on the environment and consequently, our health.
I assert that technology must not take place of previously developed designs & construction methods that we now refer to as “sustainable,” rather it should be used to optimize and build upon these previously established construction principles.
In the past, building designs were refined and optimized from the process of trial and error over many years.  Now software exits capable of running building performance simulations to give us a better idea of they will perform before we construct them.  These simulations allow us to better understand how a variety of factors such as climate, building orientation and design, material selection and construction methods impact a building’s ultimate performance.
In addition, advancements in windows, air sealing techniques, and insulation have made building more efficient houses even easier than ever before.
Even something as simple as landscape considerations can positively impact the performance of your building.
Passive design, when done properly, can reduce the need for mechanical heating and cooling and allow for HVAC systems to be scaled down.
In conclusion, there is no denying that technology is here to stay; however, we should not solely rely on technology for our comfort.  Past cultures have proven that thoughtful design can produce structures that make the best out of natural surroundings.  Technology should build upon passive design strategies instead of being use in lieu of passive strategies. Thoughtfully designed and constructed houses do not have to cost more than an average house and will use considerably less energy. To me, this is an obvious choice.

City of Fort Collins – Civic Campus Blocks 32 & 42

By: Allison Smith, Sustainable Building Associate

City of Fort Collins – Civic Campus Blocks 32 & 42
The City of Fort Collins desires to create a better civic center near Old Town Fort Collins on Blocks 32 & 42 (the blocks bordered by Maple, Mason, Laporte, and Meldrum streets). Fort Collins City Hall, the municipal court, City Manager’s office, and assorted city offices are housed in a hodge-podge of buildings on these blocks. 

Brian Dunbar and I facilitated a 3-day Design Charrette with participants from RNL, [au]Workshop architects+urbanists, Logan Simpson Design Inc., Integral Group, Architectural Energy Corporation (AEC), Ambient Energy, City of Fort Collins, Adolfson & Peterson Construction, and other project stakeholders. The morning of September 23, more than fifty people gathered in a meeting room on Block 42. For the next ninety minutes, the participants listened to brief presentations on the process, context, vision plan, sustainable concepts, and site analysis. After a break, most stakeholders participated in a small group activity to establish Guiding Principles for the project wherein LENSES was used to identify Flows that influenced the Guiding Principles. Groups of eight reviewed the problem, held a dialogue, and brainstormed their vision for Fort Collin’s Civic Center. Each small group presented their ideas and visions to the full group. 

This dynamic discussion centered on issues related to transportation, employees, citizens, and energy. Project stakeholders were drawn to principles surrounding the notion of World Class, Resilient Design, and having a Civic Heart. Through this process the stakeholder’s thoughts were incorporated into the Guiding Principles that framed the later design discussion. 

Key Issue Identification

The Institute for the Built Environment facilitates design charrettes by making sure all participants and all perspectives are heard. The Guiding Principles went through several iterations until the whole group came to consensus on the language and intent of the principles. Furthermore, IBE began the charrette by establishing rules for the charrette process which frequently includes “listen well to others”, and “no cell phones”, but can also include issues specific to the project. Throughout the process the facilitation team encourages the participants to think systematically. Having representatives from each area of the design team, the construction team, and the user group helps to keep systems thinking active throughout the discussion. By the end of the charrette’s third day, City employees and the architectural team had narrowed the civic center block plans from 9 proposed schemes down to 2 plans.  Without the charrette process, I believe it would have taken over a month to arrive at 2 plans that all of the stakeholders would be pleased with.

IBE will be facilitating charrettes in November and January – I am excited to continue honing my skills in this valuable tool in the Integrated Design Process (IDP). Charrettes can be an important tool to engage all stakeholders and expedite the design process. More can be learned about charrettes by looking at various projects on our IBE website and by visiting the National Charrette Institute’s website.

The Mason UniverCity District Urban Lab

By: Colin Day, Sustainable Building Associate

The Institute for the Built Environment is very proud to announce that grant funding has been secured from CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability and UniverCity for the establishment of an Urban Laboratory on the CSU campus in Fort Collins. Temporary space has been secured at The Institute for the Built Environment on campus near the corner of Mason and Laurel streets, with the aim to eventually secure permanent space on or near the Mason Street corridor. The UniverCity Urban Lab steering committee is in the process of defining the UniverCity Urban Lab, with the aim of the establishment of a 501c3 non-profit organization to embody the values of community members and stakeholders that it draws upon for the generation of ideas and input.

Mason Street Corridor, Fort Collins

But what exactly is an Urban Lab?  An Urban Lab is an adaptive forum that includes a variety of stakeholder input, which can include community members, professionals, academics, policy-makers, designers, artists and developers.  Interested parties collaborate to brainstorm solutions and interventions for issues and opportunities that the urban community shares.  The platform ideally acts as a think-tank to propose ideas and visions and to propose, test, design and implement collaborative urban planning projects that answer to a variety of community desires and needs. It is, quite simply, a laboratory to test ideas that will be applied at an urban level.

The mission statement of the lab at this juncture is simple: “The Mason UniverCity District is a dynamic area ripe for redevelopment. The district and its multi-modal transportation focus models a robust and eco-friendly mix that supports residents, business, retail and entertainment. It is vibrant and draws people from throughout the community and University to come live, work and play. It is a connector inviting exploration of the eclectic District as well as adjoining neighborhoods and nearby destinations. It is another of Fort Collins’ jewels”.

The aim of The Lab is to guide the Mason Street Corridor toward vibrant and regenerative infill projects. This initiative dovetails with the proposed 2014 opening of the MAX bus mass rapid transit system. The studies and projects will focus on urban design at various scales, urban morphology, neighborhood planning and design, and health and the built environment, all with a particular focus on walkability, bike-ability and an ethos of urban biodiversity and ecology.

MAX Transit Station Rendering, Mason Street Corridor
City of Fort Collins

Of course, other relevant urban design and development topics are likely to arise with the eclectic mixture of the stakeholders, community members, professionals and educators that The Lab is bringing together and drawing from. With the continued support and evolution of The Lab, the development of catalytic projects along the Mason Street corridor will grow a more robust physical, virtual and philosophical connection between the CSU campus, Old Town Fort Collins, and the communities therein. The implementation of our goals will enhance pending development and transportation projects and, with luck, creativity and application, will positively affect the fabric of the Fort Collins community.

To see the work of a small selection of other Urban Labs, please follow the following links:

The Carnegie Mellon Remaking Cities Institute
The Dallas Urban Lab
The California College of the Arts Urban Lab
Arcosanti