Mara Mintzer
Program Director
Growing Up Boulder

Mara Mintzer is a co-founder and current program director of Growing Up Boulder (GUB), Boulder’s child- and youth-friendly city initiative, based out of the University of Colorado Boulder’s Community Engagement Design and Research (CEDaR) Center.  As the director of GUB, Mara helps integrate children and youth voices into Boulder’s city planning.  She writes and presents internationally on the topic of engaging young people in planning, including in a 2017 TEDx talk entitled, “We let kids design our city—here’s what happened.”  Prior to GUB, Mara was the director of Belle Haven Community School in California, where she oversaw child and family support services for families on an underresourced school campus.  She has designed and implemented a wide variety of programs for underrepresented children, families and neighborhoods in New York and California.  Mara received a bachelor's degree in psychology from Brown University and a master's degree  in organizational psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University.  She speaks Spanish and French and loves to travel and live abroad.



Mintzer, M., and Chawla, L. (in press). Turning young people’s ideas into action: Learning from long-term partnerships for child and youth participation. In J. Loebach, S. Little, A. Cox & P. Eubanks Owens (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Designing Public Spaces for Young People. Abingdon-on-Thames, UK: Routledge.

Mintzer, M. (2019, February 9). These were the reasons behind the Wonderland Lake plans. Daily Camera. Retrieved from

City of Boulder. (2018, July 23). Inside Boulder News -  Growing Up Boulder. Retrieved from

Derr, V., Chawla, L., & Mintzer, M. (2018). Placemaking with Children and Youth : Participatory Practices for Planning Sustainable Communities. New York, NY: New Village Press. Winner of the Environmental Design Research Association 2019 Achievement Award.

Mintzer, M., & Flanders Cushing, D. (2017). Engaging children and adolescents in local decision-making: Growing Up Boulder as a practical model. In K. Bishop & L. Corkery (Eds.), Designing Cities with Children and Young People : Beyond Playgrounds and Skate Parks. New York, NY: Routledge.

Mintzer, M. (2017, November 11). Mara Mintzer: How kids can help design cities . Retrieved from

Mintzer, M. (2017, July 28). Boulder youth had input on civic area project. Daily Camera. Retrieved from

University of Sheffield: Growing Up Boulder's "Great, Green Neighborhoods" project is featured on the Designing with Children website produced by the University of Sheffield in the UK;

Derr, V., Chawla, L., Mintzer, M., Cushing, D., & Van Vliet, W. (2013). A City for All Citizens: Integrating Children and Youth from Marginalized Populations into City Planning. Buildings, 3(3), 482–505.

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