Creating a Community Health Hub at Salud Family Health Centers

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Katie Vega

Sustainability Associate, Public Health


The Colorado Health Foundation has awarded a one-year, $192,495 planning grant to design a proposed model for a community health hub in northwest Fort Collins, located at Salud Family Health Center’s newest clinic. IBE will lead the initiative to plan the proposed community hub guided by the following principle: ‘Make health less about medicine and more about community.’

Members of the community currently face fundamental barriers to health and wellbeing

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Image courtesy of The Family Ride

including food insecurity, lack of insurance, and poor or lacking built environment infrastructure (e.g., contiguous sidewalks). The design of the envisioned Salud Community Health Hub, to be located at 1830 Laporte Avenue, would offer a preventative approach to address such “upstream” health factors. The main idea is that the Health Hub will provide a centralized, inclusive space where Salud patients, providers, staff, and local community members can easily connect to a network of local organizations and service providers to achieve improved health outcomes.

IBE will help establish the Salud Community Health Collaborative, which will be the guiding advisory team during the planning phase of the project. Collaborative members include Salud Family Health Centers, Food Bank for Larimer County, Vida Sana, Sproutin’ Up, Bike Fort Collins, One Health Institute at CSU, and the Built Environment Working Group at CSU. Additional partnerships will be explored as the project progresses. The Collaborative is comprised of community partners that represent all three spectrums of health: disease prevention, disease treatment, and health generation. Collaborative members will contribute their specialized knowledge and experience to the project, exploring ways to provide integrated care—connecting preventative health and primary care. For example, a treatment protocol may entail a Salud health provider writing a prescription for fresh fruits and vegetables to be filled at the Health Hub community garden and/or food pantry.

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Sproutin’ Up. Image courtesy of Odell Brewing.

To ensure the design of easy access by community members and create well-connected service facilities, the project team will examine both the surrounding built environment infrastructure and the health hub site designs. Active design, universal design, healthy community design, and other evidence-based design frameworks will ultimately influence a site plan that best supports this specific community’s health and wellbeing. While the Colorado Health Foundation grant will make the design possible, additional funding will be required to build the vision.

From the onset, the project team will engage service providers and local community members—foundational to the Health Hub’s development—to better understand their needs, barriers, and opportunities for health and wellbeing. Community members will contribute to the overall project vision through focus groups and one-on-one interviews. Further, IBE will facilitate hands-on design workshops to support community members in creating a unique vision for the Health Hub.

For additional information, contact Katherine Vega, at katherine.vega(at)colostate.edu.

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Go “Off the Rails” with the Urban Lab

Andy.jpgAndy Madrick

Sustainability Associate, Landscape Architecture


On Friday, October 7, the Urban Lab will select the winner of its “Off the Rails” competition. This juried competition challenges innovators to envision the revitalization of a busy, neglected strip in downtown Fort Collins, Colorado—one that is currently limited by the conflict between an active railroad and the adjoining public streetscape. “Off the Rails” garnered submissions from around the globe. Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of the future of Fort Collins.

When: Friday, October 7, 6-9 PM during Fort Collins’ First Friday Art Walk

Where: Galvanize, 242 Linden Street, Fort Collins, CO

The Urban Lab is proud to announce that it has attracted a national panel of esteemed jurors, an international submission pool, and a high level of community engagement and sponsorship.

International Applicants

“Off the Rails” entrants include students and professionals, from Fort Collins to as far away as China, who contributed ideas as diverse as their backgrounds. This international perspective will lead to a more colorful vision of what the city could become in the near future.

National Jury

“Off the Rails” attracted a national panel of judges:

Mayor Wade Troxell—Mayor of Fort Collins since April 2015, Troxell’s top priorities are: 1) Fort Collins as an innovation community and 2) Civic leadership for youth and young adults.

Hansy Better Barraza—As both a practitioner and an Associate Professor of Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, Hansy is an expert in design methods that embrace social responsibility.

Walter Hood—Hood teaches landscape architecture and environmental design at the University of California, Berkeley. His studio practice, Hood Design, focuses on architectural commissions, urban design, art installations, and research.

Ed Goodman—Goodman’s diverse background includes more than 30 years of interdisciplinary problem solving with experience in entertainment, engineering, community design, marketing, branding, technology, organizational ecology, dreamscaping, experience design, and more.

Local Sponsorship

The Urban Lab garnered an outstanding amount of sponsorship for “Off the Rails” from local businesses along the Mason Corridor, demonstrating the community’s investment in the long-term future of the built environment. With community support, the Urban Lab believes that this competition will set the stage for a more vibrant, more engaging public space along Mason Street.

UniverCity Urban Lab is hosting “Off the Rails” in partnership with the City of Fort Collins and the Downtown Development Authority.

Laying the Foundation for Sustainable, Regenerative, Just Cities: EcoDistricts Summit 2016


katie_color.jpgKatie Vega

Sustainability Associate, Public Health


Sustainable. Regenerative. Equitable. Multi-generational. Community-driven. Collaborative. These six concepts stayed with me after my experience at the EcoDistricts Summit held at Denver University from September 13-15, 2016. The Summit is an annual conference hosted by EcoDistricts, a non-profit focused on developing a new model of urban regeneration and community development. The Summit convenes multi-disciplinary practitioners, researchers, experts, developers, professionals, academics, students, facilitators, and community members to collectively build a vision for a more sustainable and resilient future. IBE assisted in coordinating the Summit’s Research Forum, which took a deeper look at what’s needed to develop interdisciplinary teams across institutions to strengthen the bridge between collaborative research and practice.

As a new graduate and public health researcher, the EcoDistricts Summit was an incredible experience that inspired and challenged us to rise up and tackle existing and developing challenges in our own communities. My degree is in public health, but the Summit connected me to a large, diverse network of placemakers from the public and private sectors. During the three days, I saw firsthand how cross-disciplinary collaboration is the first critical step to better understanding topics like healthy community design, gentrification and displacement, clean energy and climate resilience, district-scale performance metrics, and urban regeneration. By opening the door to contributions from fields other than our own, we gain greater perspective on issues facing our increasingly urbanizing communities and can begin to develop truly innovative solutions.

During plenary sessions, examples of successful cross-disciplinary collaborations were shared from cities like Portland, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. Panelists discussed the relationships that supported these neighborhood and district-scale projects, but most importantly, emphasized the community engagement that drove the efforts. Panelists argued that disinvestment in communities has led to increased gentrification and displacement in our cities and towns. In fact, the number of city tracts being gentrified has reached record proportions—such as in Portland, where 58% of eligible tracts have been gentrified since 2000, and Denver, close behind at 42% (ACS). Panelists shared strategies to create in-placement—from creating more affordable housing below 15% of Annual Median Income to launching Streetwyze, an online crowdsourced data tool that uses civic engagement to prioritize public investment.

One of the most important takeaways from the Summit was the notion that equity awareness should be institutionalized. This idea may seem like common sense, but the truth is that our city departments have placed most, if not all, of the responsibility for public health on a limited number of departments (such as Social Sustainability, Public Health, and the Housing Authority). In reality, departments across cities are responsible for the health of their citizens. A suggested approach is to engage leading community organizations in city planning processes and to invite community members to speak to City Council and individual departments. Perhaps by humanizing each department’s work, all city employees can be inspired to collaborate with fellow departments and community stakeholders to develop solutions that achieve health equity. No one person is responsible for all of the challenges rising in our urbanizing environment. Yet each person, no matter what field they represent, has important skills and experience to contribute toward solutions. This is the call to action that was put forth at the EcoDistricts Summit: We cannot take the weight of the world on our shoulders alone, but together—in collaboration with our cities, placemakers, and community members—we can create more sustainable, resilient, and equitable places.

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The relationship between IBE and EcoDistricts began almost two years ago when IBE was selected as a member of the Fort Collins EcoDistricts Incubator Team. Since then, IBE has been developing its approach to district-scale sustainability approaches in Fort Collins and Denver. As an EcoDistricts Summit partner, IBE participated in the Summit and assisted in coordinating the EcoDistricts Research Forum. Comprised of studio sessions, keynote speeches, plenary sessions, and tours of inspiring developments around Denver, the Summit provided an opportunity to network with community facilitators, professional landscape architects, and students from universities across the U.S., and to connect with a diverse group of advocates for healthy community development.

Resource
American Community Survey (ACS), 2009 – 2013. Retrieved at http://www.governing.com/gov-data/census/gentrification-in-cities-governing-report.html.

CSU’s University Center for the Arts Gregory Allicar Museum Earns Green Globes Certification

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Ellie Troxell
Sustainability Associate, Civil Engineering


Colorado State University – The University Center for the Arts completed construction of their new 6,000 square-foot expansion to the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art in which the Hartford-Tandstad Collection will be featured.  The museum has earned One Green Globe rating from Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors, a green building guidance and assessment tool offered by the Green Building Initiative (GBI).  Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors consists of six environmental assessment areas (Project Management, Energy, Water, Materials and Resources, Emissions and Other Impacts, and Indoor Environment).  Green Globes further offers assessment tools for New Construction and Existing Buildings.  Buildings that achieve 35% or more of the points possible in the Green Globes rating system are eligible for a certification of one, two, three, or four Green Globes.UAM -8b

The Gregory Allicar Museum of Art was the first project, for all stakeholders involved, seeking Green Globes certification.

Green Globes was an excellent rating system to pursue for this project.  University projects are typically a design-build process on a faster-paced schedule.  Green Globes was a very flexible system and assessment process that was adaptable to fit the scope of the project and was less cumbersome than LEED.  Due to our positive experience, Green Globes will be considered for future projects.”  Tony Flores, CSU Facilities Management, Project Manager.

The achievement of a One Green Globe rating reflects a commitment to the design and renovation of the museum with sustainability as a major focus.  One notable accomplishment was the diversion of 93% of construction waste from landfills through recycling and reuse programs, classifying the project as net zero waste.  Linny Frickman, Founding Director of the University Arts Museum adds “The new expansion to the Gregory Allicar Museum is a superb addition to our campus’s arts facilities.  With an extraordinary team of builders, architects, facilities management staff and colleagues in the Institute for the Build Environment, we achieved the kind of building envelope that protects works of art to best-practice standards.  It was important for us to balance the needs of a diverse collection of art objects, such as the need for stringent climate control, with sustainable building practices.  The Green Globes process and designation allowed us to do this and to support the ongoing sustainability efforts at CSU.  When the museum opens on September 10, 2016, I think our audiences will be thrilled with the results and the new arts opportunities that the Allicar brings to the community.

Graduate and undergraduate student interns with the Institute for the Built Environment, at Colorado State University, were directly involved in the Green Globes coordination and documentation process.  Students in Construction Management and Civil Engineering programs were able to gain real-world project experience by participating and guiding the Green Globes certification process.  In addition, the building continues to teach every day.

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For more information about this project and other IBE project certifications, visit IBE’s website, http://www.ibe.colostate.edu/certification.aspx; and to learn more about Green Globes, visit: http://www.thegbi.org/.

IBE Facilitates Colorado’s First Outdoor Green Wall

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Andy Madrick
Sustainability Associate, Landscape Architecture


In 2014, the City of Fort Collins launched the “Nature in the City” initiative to ensure every citizen has access to nature close to where we live and work. The focus of the initiative is on how our built environment can better contribute to our sense of nature within Fort Collins. One of the deliverables that IBE has been supporting is the development of a set of design guidelines aimed at implementation of design features that enhance ecological function and access to nature within the built environment.

However, many of these approaches have not been proven in our regional climate. One of these design features are ‘living’ or green walls.Living Wall

Partnering to Build Colorado’s First Outdoor Green Wall

IBE lead the administration, design, and installation of the first perennial, outdoor green wall in the State of Colorado in collaboration with: Perspective Design, the Urban Lab, CSU’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, and The City of Fort Collins Planning, Parks, Operation Services, Stormwater, and Natural Areas departments.

Why a Green Wall?

Green walls improve both indoor and outdoor air quality, provide the building insulation from heat and cold while protecting the wall from water and sunlight.  They help lower summer temperatures in cities by reducing heat gain on hard surfaces, known as the urban heat island effect. Green walls add vegetation to the urban environment and provide habitat for urban animal species.

Green walls are also great for people. Studies have shown that viewing and interacting with greenery reduces stress and mental fatigue, while improving feelings of neighborhood safety and overall well being.

The Fort Collins Green Wall project will serve as a high profile case study on the feasibility and creation of green walls in arid climates. The wall has been designed to showcase plants work best in a vertical setting and how urban habitats can be enhanced through green walls.  The project will continue to monitor success, evaluating the resilience of the plants, the efficiency of watering, and if energy savings are seen in the adjoining building structure.

 

Learn more:

American Society of Landscape Architects, Green Infrastructure

City of Fort Collins Nature in the City Initiative

The Urban Lab 

 

DISTRICT-SCALE SUSTAINABLILTY RESEARCH: THE ECODISTRICTS FRAMEWORK

colin_colorBy: Colin Day | Urban Lab Coordinator

The City of Fort Collins recently adopted Climate Action Plan (CAP) goals to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2030 and attain carbon neutrality by 2050. As cities go, these are ambitious goals that only Sacramento, CA, has stepped up to match (and surpass) with a newly adopted plan. To meet the proposed time frame, Fort Collins must adopt a mix of highly innovative and large-scale programs that decrease carbon emissions across all sectors. IBE is assisting with the city’s goals by leading development of a variety of research-based approaches to district-scale sustainability projects.

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To spearhead this effort, IBE has adopted a framework called EcoDistricts, which is supported by a national organization of the same name. EcoDistricts offers a “new model of urban regeneration and community development rooted in a relentless commitment to authentic collaboration and social, economic, and ecological innovation.” Fort Collins was selected as just one of 11 cities to participate in the 2015 EcoDistricts Incubator, an invitation-only, three-day, project-based workshop. With seed funding from CSU’s Office of the Vice President of Research early this year, applying the EcoDistricts model to Fort Collins became a reality. Working with university researchers, industry partners, and the City, IBE is leveraging the EcoDistrict imperatives of equity, resilience, and climate change to maximize the City’s CAP goals.

IBE’s Urban Lab (which focuses on placemakers and vibrant urban settings) and the Built Environment Working Group (part of the CanDo coalition for public health focusing on the health outcomes of design) have helped bring focus to the EcoDistricts Initiative. But the team isn’t stopping there; it’s initiating new district-scale projects to improve building efficiency, resource use, air and water quality, social capital and wellness, and economic returns. One example is a new, collaborative project with CSU’s Energy Institute and Sociology, Psychology, and Construction Management Departments to research the efficacy of DC power systems through studying micro-grid systems, and both real and perceived barriers to deployment.

IBE has convened teams from all eight colleges at CSU to identify gaps and opportunities for research on district-scale impacts to climate change. New research will lead to collaborative projects that test innovative strategies. Successful approaches will demand leveraging new technologies by cultivating industry, university, and city collaboration; programming natural systems and vibrant urban settings into our city; and documenting environmental and social patterns.

Through continued capacity building, IBE will partner with public, private, and institutional teams to develop district-scale solutions, supporting metrics that quantify impact and contribute to the larger global dialogue on designing, building, and operating thriving neighborhoods. Given that IBE and CSU will be co-sponsoring the inaugural EcoDistricts Research Summit in Denver next year, this is only the beginning to how Fort Collins will serve as a national model for other cities.

The Urban Lab and a Living Wall

By: Colin Day
Sustainable Building Associate
In 2014, the City of Fort Collins launched and initiative called “Nature in the City” with the goal of ensuring every citizen has access to nature close to where they live and work. The focus of the project is to determine how the built environment contributes to how nature is perceived within the City. One of the deliverables of the project is a set of design guidelines that will support the successful implementation of various techniques that enhance access to nature in urban environments. While most of these approaches are well understood and tested, some have not been attempted in the arid West. One such approach is a living wall.
The Nature in the City initiative has contracted the Urban Lab to coordinate the design and installation of the first living wall in the Rocky Mountain region. The project will be a high profile case study on the feasibility and creation of green walls in arid climates. The wall will be designed to demonstrate what plants work best in a vertical setting and how habitat can be enhanced on site through use of green wall systems. Beyond these immediate project goals, the potential to better understand the variety of benefits that green walls are known to deliver will be the subject of ongoing research and observation.
Green walls are well documented for providing a w
ide variety of benefits: they improve both indoor and outdoor air quality, they provide buildings with insulation from heat and cold while protecting the building envelope from water and sunlight. They help to lower summer temperatures in cities by reducing the urban heat island effect. The vegetation green walls add to the urban environment provides habitat for urban species. Social psychologists have shown that by viewing and interacting with vegetation, stress and mental fatigue decrease as feelings of neighborhood security and overall health increases.
The confirmed site for the Nature in the City and Urban Lab’s living wall is at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. Students from the Colorado State University Dept. of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture have worked with the City of Fort Collins and The Institute for the Built Environment to produce compositional and planting designs for panels that will established in the CSU greenhouses. The Urban Lab has connected the CSU USGBC student chapter with the project. This student group will install the panels on site, thereby furthering the project’s educational impact. The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery was selected as the ideal site to locate the project for a variety of reasons. Because of the existing public-private partnership between the City and the Museum, maintenance issues will be streamlined through the City Parks Dept., the project proximity to the Mason Corridor aligns with the Urban Lab’s mission to enhance smart development between the University and Downtown Fort Collins on this mixed-use corridor, and the well established reputation of the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery as a venue for educational displays that are equally accessible to children and adults. The living wall will serve as an exhibit at the Museum, and will be sited adjacent to the new endowment garden, to be designed by local firm Earthborn Landscape Design. The location will have high visibility and public access, while the plant selection will include species that support pollinators, have a variety of seasonal interest and are tactile and aromatic.
If successful, the first living wall in the region will contribute to a better understanding of the feasibility of using these types of systems in our urban environments. The benefits that are connected with living walls are well worth exploring as a part of a suite of techniques that increase biodiversity, resource savings and overall well-being in cities. With any luck, you might see more vertical greenery in your city in the coming years.