About Us

Mission & Background

The Community Engagement, Design and Research (CEDaR) initiative at the University of Colorado Boulder is a resource for scholars, students and practitioners from across University interested in community-based engagement and design. A proposal for designation as a center has been submitted. CEDAR’s purpose is to support integrated community service, education and research addressing critical urban problems of sustainability, livability and quality in the urban built environment. CEDaR is patterned after successful models of community engagement and design centers in many universities across the country.

During its first year, 2015-2016, building on the experience of on-going projects including Growing Up Boulder and Design/Build studios, CEDaR has organized network of community partners, established a base of project funding, and developed significant new initiatives. In the spring of 2015, CEDaR continued and expanded its work in design/build and youth engagement, and developed project activities in two new project areas: green infrastructure and affordable housing.

CEDaR is a big tent covering faculty research interests that span project, service and studio-based learning, public interest design, collaboration and mediation, development of planning and design tools, digital support systems, social and physical-science methodologies, community development practice, community-based and participatory research, and assessment of decision and design process. CEDaR has three objectives:

  • create community-based learning opportunities for ENVS,ENVD and other students interested in urban built environments;
  • help improve management, planning and design of cities by bringing the intellectual resources of the University to bear on community problems; and
  • organize collaborative research projects rooted in methods and principles of community engagement.

Faculty participating in CEDaR have interests in six areas: (1) empowerment of children and youth to participate in planning processes; (2) affordable housing design, evaluation and related community education; (3) smart city initiatives - visualization and spatial analysis tools for urban management; (4) management and design of green infrastructure systems; (5) design/build; and (6) small community planning.


CEDaR is built on community partnerships, long-term relationships with public and private organizations, that yield opportunities for student projects, material for the classroom, and research topics. A number of new collaborations have been initiated in CEDaR’s first six months including with the City of Denver Public Works; City of Denver Office of the Forester; Greater Park Hill Community Association; Placematters; Trust for Public Lands; City of Boulder; Boulder Housing Partners; Thorne Environmental Center, and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.


Executive Committee

An executive committee was established including Victoria Derr (senior instructor, ENVD), David Kahn (senior instructor, ENVD), John Lanterman (senior instructor, ENVD), Jill Litt (associate professor, ENVS), Brian Muller (associate professor, ENVD/ENVS), Mara Mintzer (project staff), Shawhin Roubari (visiting professor, ENVD), and Carol Wessman (professor, EBIO/ENVS). The role of the executive committee is to set policy and establish direction for the program.

Click here for the CEDaR Annual Report for the 2015 year.