Planning For The Future of One of America’s Best Cities

Planning For The Future of One of America’s Best Cities

By Jason Kosovski

Fort Collins is regularly touted as one of the best places to live in the country and a new organization at Colorado State University will help ensure the city maintains that status well into the future.

In partnership with city representatives and others, faculty members from CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and
the Institute for the Built Environment recently launched the Urban Lab. The Lab is an open, collaborative forum in which local stakeholders (residents, businesses, design professionals, academics and city officials) can bring together a wide range of viewpoints and expertise to design, create, test, and implement urban planning and community improvement projects.

The Urban Lab was created through UniverCity Connections, an innovative city-university partnership established in 2007 to help envision and spur positive change for three core Fort Collins assets: Colorado State University, downtown, and the Poudre River.

Revitalizing the stretch of Mason Street that runs from CSU to Old Town is the Urban Lab’s first project. Faculty and students from CSU’s Landscape Architecture Program are taking a lead role in the effort. Graduate students recently authored an urban analysis and design study which identified issues that impact property owners, such as stormwater drainage, parking, and lack of vegetation.

“The Mason UniverCity District is a linchpin in the CSU and Fort Collins community, and the Urban Lab is committed to revitalizing that space,” said Jane Choi, assistant professor of landscape architecture and one of the project’s leaders. “Moreover, the Urban Lab’s quest for innovative ways to improve our urban environment can provide a template for other places throughout Colorado and across the nation that care about healthy, livable cities.”

Upcoming initiatives on the Urban Lab’s roster include railway enhancements along Mason, a demonstration “living wall” in Old Town, and assistance for property owners and businesses to do more with outdoor spaces. To learn more and get involved, visit the Urban Lab’s website at urbanlab.colostate.edu.

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