Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute


The Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute was established to conduct education and research programs on legal and public policy issues related to land use and development. For more than 25 years, RMLUI has been leading a discussion in the West about the challenges presented by growth and innovative ideas for addressing them.

Download the Program

2020 Western Places / Western Spaces Conference
Hot, Dry & Crowded: Planning for the Future

The West of the future will be warmer and more populous, and as a result, will face significant challenges with respect to our water supplies, our ability to withstand unpredictable weather patterns and extreme storm events, and our capacity to preserve our economy and our quality of life while adapting to the coming changes. The climate is changing, but we can do something about it.

Conference Highlights

F. Kaid Benfield2020 Keynote: Kaid Benfield
Kaid Benfield is one of the country’s most steadfast voices for making cities, towns, and neighborhoods work better for both people and the environment. Based in Washington, DC, he serves as senior counsel at PlaceMakers LLC, a city and town planning consultancy working across the United States and Canada. 

Before joining PlaceMakers in 2015, Mr. Benfield worked for over thirty years as a senior attorney and program director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, where he founded and led the organization’s sustainable communities program and, before that, managed the litigation of some of the organization’s most important legal cases.

Development Finance Workshop
This workshop will examine how developers decide what to build, where to build it, and how to pay for it. Attendees gained an understanding of basic financing methods, how to structure a deal, and examine real-world case studies to see how all these factors come together. Topics included site selection, securing financing, the role of planners and local government, and how to pay for infrastructure.

Plenary Lunch Events
On Thursday, we welcomed back Dr. Arthur C. Nelson as the host of our plenary lunch event: You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet: Transforming the Built Environment Through Its Nonresidential Spaces, a discussion on nonresidential development opportunities that have the potential to reshape metropolitan areas.

Our Friday plenary lunch was a special presentation of RMLUI's annual Carver Colloquium. The Carver Colloquium is an annual event that presents divergent or alternative viewpoints on cutting-edge issues in these fields in a point-counterpoint format. Held this year in conjunction with the annual conference, the Carver Colloquium will present a debate on The Rights of Nature. Historically, nature has been viewed as public or private property, and  decisions about its use are decided accordingly. Rights of Nature advocates argue that nature should have a right to exist and thrive of its own.

Mobile Tours
On Thursday, attendees of the Westminster Station: In Pursuit of a Community of Opportunity tour had the opportunity to visit a mixed-use, walkable urban neighborhood at Westminster Station to see how they have integrated open space and housing into a transit hub.

Friday's Learning from What Denver Did Right: Multimodal Transportation, Microclimates & River Access tour took attendes on a walking tour highlighting some of the community design aspects of Denver that have influenced transportation, walkability, microclimates, and natural resources.

Sturm College of Law
University of Denver
2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208