Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute

Ideas RoundUP

Simply Easy Learning

Conversations on Urban Planning, Pandemic, and Race

The Ideas RoundUP conversation series is an effort to explore our land use agenda here at RMLUI, taking into account what we are learning about our policies as they relate both to containing a pandemic and promoting a socially just and sustainable community. We hope you’ll join us in self-reflection and conversation.
Read our full statement on Black Lives Matter

These conversations are intended to be opportunities for the entire RMLUI community―land development professionals, community leaders, academic partners, and students―to come together in thoughtful dialogue about the problems we’re facing and how we improve our land use system to better address the inequities in our society.

Event Dates

June 30: Race, Equity & Land Use
July 14: Civic Engagement & Public Participation
July 28: Zoning & Racial Bias
August 11: Housing, Part One
August 25: Housing, Part Two
September 8: Transportation Equity
October 6: Public Spaces
October 20: Public Health
RESCHEDULED November 17 December 1: Ideas RoundUP Roundup ― Register Now


Next Up

Ideas RoundUP Roundup
Tuesday, December 1 at 10:00 a.m. ― Register Now

In our final episode, we'll recap our conversations throughout the series and share some of the key takeaways from our discussions. With so many good conversations to work through, we've delayed our final session to Tuesday, December 1.


Previous Events

Race, Equity & Land Use

The first Ideas RoundUP on Race, Equity, and Land Use provides background on the history of racism in our land development system with presentations by. Tom Romero, Professor of Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law; Erin Clark, Vice President at Urban Land Conservancy; and Dwight Merriam, Attorney at Law.



Romero, Tom: Colorful Colorblind Denver


Civic Engagement & Public Participation

Civic Engagement & Public Participation we looked at making public forums more inclusive and our land use decisions more equitable. Presentations were provided by Stephen Miller, Professor of Law at the University of Idaho and Jamila Jefferson-Jones, Professor of Law at the University of Missouri.



Jefferson-Jones, Jamila: Civic Engagement
Miller, Stephen: Civic Engagement


Zoning & Racial Bias

In this discussion, we looked at our land development codes (zoning) and how they can be improved to promote equity and to overcome the racial bias that is baked into local zoning laws. The presentation was provided by Anika Singh Lemar, Associate Professor at Yale Law School.



Singh Lemar, Anika: Racial Bias & Zoning

Housing, Part One

After several weeks of discussion about racial bias in our land use system, it became clear that housing policy is where racism is most embedded. Because this topic is important and complex, we have devoted two sessions to it.

Part one of our conversation on housing covered the basics about affordable housing: how we define it, why we need it, why there isn’t enough of it, and why it’s so expensive. Heidi Aggeler of Root Policy Research and Brian Connolly of Otten Johnson Robinson Neff + Ragonetti presented on these basics and also covered the Fair Housing Act and how government has tried to address bias in our housing system.



Aggeler & Connolly, Housing and Racial Bias Part One: Connecting Zoning to Housing Policy


Housing Access & Racial Equity, Part Two
In Part Two of our discussion on housing, the focus was on government interventions that are intended to overcome the market’s failure to provide enough affordable housing. Heidi Aggeler of Root Policy Research and Brian Connolly of Otten Johnson Robinson Neff + Ragonetti reprised their roles as presenters and gave some background on the Fair Housing Act and on the role of government in addressing housing needs in their communities.




Aggeler & Connoly, Housing and Racial Bias Part Two: Government Intervention in Housing Discrimination


Transportation Equity
Mobility is important for people to be able to access opportunities and necessities like jobs, education, food, and housing. In this session, we will discuss the regulatory framework and observed biases in transportation, then share issues, perspectives, and potential policies and practices to address them. Christof Spieler, Vice President and Director of Planning at Huitt-Zollars, and Bakeyah Nelson, Executive Director of Air Alliance Houston, will present.




Bakeyah Nelson, I-45 Case Study & AAH Advocacy

Christof Spieler, Race & Transit

Christof Spieler, 2020, "Racism has shaped public transit, and it's riddled with inequities"


Open Space, Race, and Equity

Public spaces are important for promoting physical activity, mental well-being, and creating a sense of community. However, while parks and other public spaces are meant to be open to all, not all feel welcome. This session explored the racial and social constructs that influence how these spaces are created and used.




Chandi Aldena, Open Space Presentation

Dana Coelho, Open Space Presentation

Parker McMullen Bushman, Open Space Presentation


Public Health

Urban planning is strongly rooted in public health. We know that the decisions we make about how we use our land impacts the health and welfare of those who live there. We also know that the placement of certain uses (like industry and freeways) or the lack of certain items (sidewalks and parks) is more likely to happen in and near minority communities. This session will examine the implications of these decisions and consider ways we can make more equitable choices in the future.




Erik Calloway, Health & Planning Presentation

Sadiya Muqueeth, Public Health Presentation

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