Twenty years from now, the streets and neighborhoods in and around the University of Denver are going to look dramatically different.
In an effort to help lead the change, the University has commissioned the Washington-based Urban Land Institute (ULI) to explore ways DU can improve its physical space and better engage with the Denver community.
“It’s important to think about this, because the area around DU is going to change, whether we like it or not,” says David Greenberg, DU’s vice chancellor for institutional partnerships. “This is a very hot market, and there’s going to be development in the future. The question is, does DU just want to watch the development that happens, or does DU want to have a say in how to make it as good as it can be?”
A 10-person ULI committee spent a week in Denver in June, conducting site visits and interviewing stakeholders about the best ways for DU to become more welcoming to the Denver community, to increase mobility and alternative transportation use on and around campus, and to improve its physical spaces to better recruit and serve students, faculty and staff.
The committee presented its preliminary findings at a June 17 meeting, offering initial recommendations on a variety of possible projects, including:
- Moving the DU light rail station closer to the corner of Buchtel and South University boulevards
- Updating the Driscoll Student Center
- Working with private developers to create housing for undergraduate and graduate students
- Providing incentives that encourage faculty and staff to live near campus
- Improving retail and restaurant offerings in the DU area
Many of the ULI recommendations echo proposals in the DU IMPACT 2025 strategic plan unveiled earlier this year. That plan includes sections on student and faculty/staff housing; it also calls for the creation of a vibrant business district around campus.
“It was gratifying that so many of the Urban Land Institute recommendations were right in line with the proposals in DU IMPACT 2025,” Chancellor Rebecca Chopp said after the ULI presentation. “The panel has confirmed that we are on the right track — and has given us many suggestions about ways to bring those elements of the strategic plan to life.”