CityCenter's inaugural initiative

In 1982, then-mayoral candidate Federico Pena challenged Denver to "Imagine a Great City." It was a time of economic trauma when bold thinking and tough decisions led to strategic investments that turned our city around. A new convention center. A new airport. A new library. These are the legacy of what was much more than a campaign slogan. 

Today, the Colorado Front Range is experiencing rates of urban growth that outpace most any other region in the U.S. This growth has brought tremendous opportunity and has resulted in a higher quality of life for millions, a robust and diversified economy, and an unemployment rate that is among the lowest in the nation. It has also led to economic disparity, lack of affordable housing, an increasing homeless population, traffic congestion, strained water supplies, air pollution and unequal access to education and healthcare.

Robust economic growth can positively transform a region, however, it must be carefully managed to ensure it is sustainable and equitable. In the absence of deliberate and careful planning, growth can undermine quality of life and ultimately jeopardize continued growth.

CU Denver CityCenter's Imagine a Great Region initiative builds upon the 1982 effort that made Denver what it is today. The inaugural undertaking of CU Denver’s new CityCenter, Imagine a Great Region will foster cross-sector, regional conversations on growth while researching to inform these conversations. Led by faculty experts working hand-in-hand with students from across the CU Denver campus, research will address topics such as mobility and transportation, housing access and affordability, natural resources, access to amenities and education.

The multi-year initiative will bring together forward-thinking community partners across the Front Range to convene regional dialogues, advance knowledge and disseminate findings about managing urban growth in deliberate, sustainable and equitable ways.

Our Partners

The Gates Family Foundation, which has generously provided a planning grant to jumpstart the multi-year initiative.

Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), which will help build a network of project participants from its membership of 58 regional jurisdictions.

Denver7, our local ABC television affiliate, which has made its own commitment to telling stories about the issue of growth across the region and will be instrumental in helping engage community members in this important conversation.

Imagine a Great Region News