Published: June 1, 2011

University of Colorado Boulder environmental design students are kicking off a community discussion on the future of University Hill public space through a series of installations being placed throughout the neighborhood this week.

The temporary installations will serve as the basis of a community charrette, an intense planning and design collaboration, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on June 3. The event is part of the International Town & Gown Association conference and is cosponsored by the city of Boulder.

"We take great pride in partnering with the city to provide opportunities for students to solve real-world problems," said Frank Bruno, vice chancellor for administration. "The ability of our students to connect and engage the University Hill community through this interdisciplinary project is truly remarkable and can result in progress for the neighborhood."

Charrette participants will explore revitalization ideas for University Hill that encompass the education, research and community service resources of CU-Boulder and the vibrant culture of the area as a commercial and residential district, according to organizers.

The project stems from a CU-Boulder Maymester course called Finding Ground. The student works include two interactive survey boards, two tables and 25 hammocks, all for public use.

"The installations are meant to bring people together to explore ideas for community connectedness and the overall use of public space," said Finding Ground student Richard Mapes, a senior in architecture. "It's amazing to see so many groups working to positively change the course of University Hill."

Students carried out mapping exercises, interviews, precedent studies and presentations. They also conceptualized, designed and built the installations.

"We are excited about the close collaboration we've had with the university in preparing for this event, and look forward to learning more about the students' work and their creative ideas during Friday's charrette," said David Driskell, executive director of Community Planning and Sustainability for the city of Boulder. "University Hill is a unique Boulder neighborhood, where the university and community literally come together. This course and Friday's activities are just one example of how we can work together to make the Hill a vibrant and successful place that is welcoming for everybody."

Students also maintained a group blog and developed a quick response code, which is displayed on three project information signs located on University Hill. It also will be stenciled in chalk on University Hill sidewalks. Visitors with the appropriate cellular phone technology can scan the QR code to be linked to the project website for more information.

Visit to view the student blog and for more project information. For more details on the ITGA conference and the community charrette visit

CU-Boulder environmental design students put the finishing touches on an interactive survey board for University Hill as part of a Maymester course called Finding Ground. (Photo courtesy of instructor Kenneth Renaud)