CEDAR provides planning and design services, supports educational programs, and conducts applied research on problems in the built environment. CEDAR is committed to an interdisciplinary approach to the development of solutions that are socially responsive and ecologically sound.

CEDAR serves as a resource center and clearinghouse for community engagement, urban management and design in collboration with faculty in ENVD and other entities within and outside of the University of Colorado.

CEDAR works at the community level and larger regional scale, with an emphasis on issues of sustainability, and participatory planning and design of housing and public spaces. It carries out funded research in these areas and responds to requests for services from public and private agencies and community-based interest groups.