In the fall 2016, Growing Up Boulder (GUB), began engaging youth voice in the visioning process for the city of Boulder’s Alpine-Balsam community project.

Alpine-Balsam, purchased by the city in 2015, is 8.8 acres of land located at the current Boulder Community Hospital site. It is proposed to house city offices, with the potential for other uses as well, including civic engagement space, retail, and housing.

During 12 weeks of the 2016 fall semester, Growing Up Boulder staff, undergraduate GUB interns, and CU undergraduate mentors from Jota Samper’s class worked with Casey Middle School’s Leadership class and Boulder High School’s 9th grade Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) class to gather youth voice for the Alpine-Balsam planning project.

The GUB program, through a collaboration with Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) and city partners, has developed a comprehensive, multimodal curricular model which creates an educational and interactive exchange between Boulder’s youth and the larger Boulder community. Sixth through 9th grade students studied the redevelopment of the Alpine-Balsam area using an “ecodistrict” lens. Focusing on an ecodistricts’ six priorities--place, prosperity, health and well-being, living infrastructure, connectivity and resource restoration--students developed their ideas into digital presentations and proposed them to city and community members at the conclusion of their study.

GUB was one of five Program in Environmental Design (ENVD) /Community Engagement, Design and Research (CEDaR) groups involved in the Alpine-Balsam project and the only one focused on school-age children. The other CU Boulder groups included the following classes and professors: ENVD 3144: History and Theory of ENVD, Jota Samper, assistant professor; Research Issues and Methods in Design and Planning, Shawhin Roudbari, assistant professor; Introduction to Computer Graphics Applications, Brian Muller, associate professor; MENV Sustainable Planning, Carol Wessman, professor and Joel Hartter, ENVS associate professor.