The University of Colorado is partnering with the cities of Denver and Boulder as members of a new White House initiative to research, develop and deploy new technologies to address challenges in the nation’s urban areas. The MetroLab Network consists of partnerships between research universities with expertise in design, engineering, and community engagement, and cities. Denver Mayor, Michael Hancock, Boulder City Manager, Jane Brautigam, and University of Colorado Provost, Russ Moore, are among the city-university teams to sign onto the collaboration.

The network was launched as part of the White House’s Smart Cities Initiative. Members of the initiative including the University of Colorado and the two cities have memorialized their commitment in a letter to President Obama. This project is just getting underway but will be organized around University and City committees that will work to identify and implement projects. See the Metrolab Network home page for more information:


Gray Versus Green Infrastructure Analysis

This project Plan calls for a $1.5 billion investment in citywide storm drainage improvements as part of City of Denver’s Storm Drainage Master Plan. The goal will be to develop a criteria that determines where green infrastructure (GI) solutions can be used rather than upgrading/upsizing traditional gray infrastructure. Researchers will identify needs through the GI/water quality Best Management Practices.

Impervious Cover Forecasting & Water Quality/Quantity Modeling

This project will build upon the Berkeley Neighborhood Impervious Cover Change study and create a model that forecasts impervious cover change and the impact to storm water runoff volumes and pollutant loads. The goal will be to focus on (re)developments under 1 acre as those projects are currently not required to implement water quality Best Management Practices. Another goal will be to identify tools and solutions for new policy implementation, trading programs, and green infrastructure solutions for the City.

Boulder Sustainable Design Workshop

The project brings the City of Boulder and the University of Colorado-Boulder into a partnership to develop sustainable designs of new commercial, affordable housing and infrastructure projects. Projects will be selected and then promoted as focal issues for classes, studios or joint student-faculty research groups. This collaboration will expand existing partnerships such as the Civic Center redevelopment. It will also build upon the eco-district model for Boulder’s sustainability goals through adaptations in environmental systems at a site, neighborhood and district scale.

Inclusive Boulder

This project will build on the Growing Up Boulder project to encourage resident participation in future city discussions. The goal will be to promote multi-generational engagement in community research and action through application, testing and assessment of tools and methods from storytelling to digital decision systems. This initiative will allow for the City and University faculty to jointly work to improve engagement practice, evaluate alternative engagement approaches, and focus and encourage collaborations around shared priorities to include Outreach and Engagement, CU-Engage and the Community Engagement Design and Research Center (CEDaR).