Published: April 29, 2019 By

Students help create Boulder’s first-ever child-friendly city map, photo by Jade Cody[BOULDER, COLORADO, April 12, 2019]— Any parent knows that traditional maps are not designed with kids in mind. But a new child-friendly city map is helping kids learn how to navigate their way around Boulder, thanks to Growing Up Boulder, a CU Boulder program that partners with Boulder Valley School District and the City of Boulder. The map, and the event to celebrate the map, are free to the community thanks to the generous support of the Boulder Library Foundation, Boulder Community Health Foundation, and the Boulder JCC.

On the morning of May 4, 2019, hundreds of young cartographers (map-makers) and the community will celebrate the map’s launch at the Boulder Jewish Community Center, 6007 Oreg Ave., 9:30 a.m. - noon. The event is full, but media is welcome to attend and interview elementary school cartographers and CU Boulder undergraduate map designers.

Map Launch Celebration

When: Saturday, May 4, 9:30 a.m. - noon.
Tickets: Free, but sold out. Media, please reserve a place by contacting Merlyn Holmes, (720-588-6592). Community members wishing to attend may join a waitlist.
Where: Boulder Jewish Community Center, 6007 Oreg Avenue, Boulder


About the Child-Friendly MapStudents help create Boulder’s first-ever child-friendly city map

More than 30 groups/organizations and 700 diverse children and parents have contributed to creating Boulder’s first-ever child-friendly city map. The free, eye-catching, bilingual English and Spanish printed map will be sent home with every child attending a Boulder-located Boulder Valley School District elementary school or preschool, as well as additional private schools. A digital version of the map will also be available September 2019. The Boulder Child-Friendly City Map will reach 8,000 Boulder children and families during 2019, making it one of the most widely read and distributed pieces of city literature.

“This map is a fulfillment of my dream: to offer children and families a simple tool to locate child-friendly spaces and amenities throughout the city,” said Mara Mintzer, program director for Growing Up Boulder (GUB), a program of the Community Engagement Design and Research (CEDaR) Center at the University of Colorado Boulder.

“The map is meant for local and visiting families who may be unaware of Boulder’s many child-friendly locations and free resources, and for educators wanting to teach community, local history, and geography in meaningful ways. The map also highlights where our community has room to grow, by, for example, visually demonstrating the small number of breastfeeding rooms and changing tables currently available,” Mintzer said.

Boulder’s child-friendly map was designed by two undergraduate students under the direction of GUB staff, and supported by undergraduate interns, all from the Program in Environmental Design. GUB staff gathered input from six city departments, children at BVSD schools, area preschools and afterschool programs, and from parents throughout the community.

Students involved in assisting with creating the child-friendly map include: 

  • GUB intern and map-maker, Abe Profitt, planning senior
  • GUB map-maker, Alex Haefling, planning senior
  • GUB intern and map team member, Omar de la Mora, architecture senior
  • GUB intern and map team member, Leandre Mills, environmental studies 

Creation of the First Teen Friendly City Map is Underway

Before Boulder’s Child-Friendly City Map even hit the presses, Growing Up Boulder launched the development of a digital Teen-Friendly City Map, with graduate students in CU Boulder’s Masters of the Environment program leading the effort. Partners are being sought to support future projects. Community members and organizations may contact GUB Program Director Mara Mintzer at Interested teachers may email GUB Education Coordinator Cathy Hill at

Because equity is at the foundation of GUB’s work, both the child and teen maps will be offered for free to Boulder residents and visitors in public spaces throughout Boulder. Since each costs tens of thousands of dollars to create, GUB is seeking donations at Map merchandise will be available for purchase at the recently opened Museum of Boulder.

Students help create Boulder’s first-ever child-friendly city mapCelebrate Growing Up Boulder’s 10th Anniversary & Retrospective

The launch of the map is a perfect way to mark the 10th anniversary of Growing Up Boulder.

For the past decade, Growing Up Boulder has partnered with BVSD, the City of Boulder and area nonprofits to lead a child and youth-friendly city initiative, getting children involved in local government decision-making and city planning. Their goal is to make Boulder an exemplary child and youth-friendly city and serve as a model for cities across the nation.

Since 2009, Growing Up Boulder has worked with more than 4,000 children and youth and 1,000 university students on 84 city projects, including:

  • Creating the Creekside Playground next to Boulder Public Library, a project which was featured in a recent TEDx Talk.
  • Transportation Master Plan
  • Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan
  • Valmont City Park
  • Boulder Reservoir
  • Resilience Plan

A retrospective exhibit documenting Growing Up Boulder’s impact over the past 10 years will be held at the Boulder Public Library August 1 - September 30, 2019.

Ways to get involved with Growing Up Boulder:

  1. Sign up for a new tri-annual newsletter at
  2. Donate funds to support the child-friendly map and the teen-friendly map projects:
  3. Partner with GUB: Email the Growing Up Boulder program at Interested teachers wanting to partner with GUB, should email GUB Education Coordinator, Cathy Hill at

Students help create Boulder’s first-ever child-friendly city mapRelated Resources

TEDx Talk: How Kids Can Help Design Cities

Full contact: 
Merlyn Holmes
Communications and Development Lead
Growing Up Boulder
1060 18th Street, UCB 314
Community Engagement Design and Research (CEDaR) Center
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309
(720) 588-6592