Baby Goats and Engaging Engagement

patrick-fore-uwq9fWZ4ThE-unsplashOne of the most fun parts of our job is brainstorming creative ways to engage the community on a project that might have otherwise gotten lost in the shuffle. As part of the Thornton Comprehensive Planning Project, great partners and clients allowed us to do just that – consider unique opportunities to engage the community and “meet them where they are.” This inclusive engagement approach meant attending Thornton’s ice cream socials throughout the Summer, meeting neighbors and community members at their local clubhouses, presenting in high school classrooms, and even bringing baby goats to events to grab attention. Yes, you heard that right, baby goats! You have got to be kidding me! 

Throughout the project, CDR worked with local farms to bring baby goats to Thornton Fest and Harvest Fest hosted by the City. The goats hung out in a pen and enjoyed attention from the youngest community members while parents and interested spectators filled out surveys and posted on boards about their vision for the City which informed the development of the draft Comprehensive Plan. As a result of this robust and unique engagement, the project was awarded a 2019 APA Colorado Merit Award in the category of Community Engagement! We were honored to work with partners Cultivando, Clarion, and the City of Thornton on this project and receive this exciting award.

As an added bonus, if you weren’t able to see the baby goats in person, you can watch them virtually on this baby goat cam:

For more information about this or to brainstorm creative engagement ideas for your upcoming project, please contact Melissa Rary,

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CO 52 Planning and Environmental Linkage Study and Access Control Plan

Strategic Communication, Agency Coordination, and Public Involvement to create local solutions for a regional corridor.

clark-wilson-Q1t4WhQWgI8-unsplashWhat’s 42 miles? Well, it’s the length of CO 52 from CO 119 in Boulder County to CO 79 in Weld County. Google says if I drive it, right now, it’ll take me 52 minutes (as an aside: if, for some reason, I walk it, it’ll take 13 hours and 40 minutes). That’s a long corridor.

But, what’s interesting about this corridor doesn’t end at its length. This corridor also houses big, urban communities like Erie and small, agricultural communities like Kennesburg. The main streets of small towns such as Dacono, Frederick, and Fort Lupton host myriad family businesses, while the IBM campus sits at the western end, at CO 119 and CO 52. Boulder and Weld Counties both have their unique values and priorities – for their economies, their residents, and mobility. The corridor is a major connector bringing travelers, freight, and even data north to Fort Collins, south to Denver, and west to the City of Boulder.

This is all to say — this is a long, important corridor with lots of divergences in its stakeholders, interests, challenges, and goals. As part of the recently launched CO 52 PEL / ACP (Planning and Environmental Linkages Study / Access Control Plan) CDR is charged with finding ways to allow for local uses and identity of the corridor and to develop a cohesive corridor vision and plan. Adding to the challenge of the corridor’s unique complexity, we’re now finding ways to maintain our original schedule and stakeholder engagement effectiveness through Covid. To do all of this, we’ve developed a plan that includes strategic communication, agency coordination, and public involvement that’s tailored to each stakeholder’s preferred method to engage. We’re using formal stakeholder groups. We’re using interactive mapping for members of the public to learn about the study and provide content at their convenience. We’re translating materials into Spanish. We’re working closely with local jurisdictions to plug into their virtual and traditional (aka – analogue) communication platforms. Our commitment on this study is to first ensure that we effectively engage the broad spectrum of stakeholders and, second, that their interests are linked to decisions so that the final plan manages to be both local and regional.

To learn more about strategic communication and public involvement using interactive mapping, contact Jeffrey Range at

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Humans of CDR

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CDR Associates to lead strategic planning for water policy institute at Spur campus

Colorado State University System has selected CDR as the lead consultant to conduct strategic planning for a water policy institute at the future Spur campus at the National Western Center in north Denver.

“The Spur campus is a place made for the public, and a place to convene the greatest minds around the biggest issues of our time,” said CSU System Executive Vice Chancellor Amy Parsons. “Water is a critical issue that requires interdisciplinary expertise and collaboration, and the water policy institute is positioned to begin this work prior to the grand opening of the CSU Spur campus in 2022.”

Housed within the water building — one of three buildings on the Spur campus — this policy institute will be a CSU-led, non-partisan policy center that addresses core natural resources, regulatory and governance, and socioeconomic issues shaping sustainability of the West’s water future through research-based policy analysis, alternatives, and recommendations.

The CDR team is comprised of three Colorado-based organizations: CDR Associates, which provides stakeholder engagement and leads the decision-making process; ICS Consulting, which provides innovative solutions to complex water problems; and LRE Water, which provides engineering services for resolving water resources challenges. 

“Developing a water policy institute is a meaningful and rare opportunity to shape how future water is managed, in a way that really meets the needs of these future policy-implementers,” said Emily Zmak, a CDR Associates process expert on the project.

Scott Campbell, principal and owner of ICS Consulting, agreed: “We need a place like WWPI to chart a viable future for the American West.”

At Spur, the water building will host programs focused on education, innovation, and research — advancing innovative practices in water; providing a venue for water-focused dialogue and conferences that highlight connections between water and urban and rural food systems; connecting water users with problem-solvers; showcasing water sustainability; and fostering cross-sector collaboration. The facility will be a venue for K-12 education and field trips. Denver Water’s water quality laboratory will also be part of the water center.

On April 30 at 1:30 p.m., CSU System will host a groundbreaking celebration with campus leaders, program partners, and community members at the future site of the Spur campus. The event is free and open to the public and will include site tours and a sampling of programs and activities that will be offered at the future campus.

About Spur: CSU System at the National Western Center

Coming in 2022: CSU System will open Spur, where innovative ideas and unforgettable experiences come to life at the National Western Center. Spur’s three buildings at the center of the landmark project in north Denver will engage all learners and fuel new solutions around water, food, and health – creating impact on our lives and our world. Spur is where learning is open and accessible to all. Where researchers tackle the world’s most pressing problems around water, food, and health. Where art and culture challenge and surround you. Where rural and urban, local and global intersect. Learn more at

About the CDR Associates Team

For over 40 years, CDR Associates has provided expert process guidance to ensure a people-oriented approach to complex challenges. CDR’s services include facilitation, stakeholder engagement, and the development of agreements. The CDR Team is joined by LRE Water, an engineering firm, and ICS Consulting, an expert in complex water networks, to bring a diverse set of perspectives to the WWPI.

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Emerging Mobility: Social Revolution, Environmental Threat?

If you live in an urban area, you may be familiar with the popular electric scooter as a form of transportation. Maybe you bike to your neighborhood rail station, and ride the train to your office. Maybe you call an Uber or Lyft every morning to get you to where you need to go, or, if you’re money conscious, maybe you share that ride with other strangers who happen to have a similar commute as you. Some of you may be fully electric – taking an electric car or bus to your place of work, with hopes to reduce emissions and your impact on your environment. And very few of you (and we mean only a few) may be driven to work by an autonomous vehicle.
If any of these sound familiar, you can consider yourself part of a revolution. A transportation revolution that is, known as the Three Revolutions – Steering Automated, Shared, and Electric Vehicles to a Better Future by author Daniel Sperling. Sperling uses data to encourage the reader to think about the future sustainability of the transportation system.

But this transportation revolution will not be seamless nor easy. As the saying goes: “There was no shipwreck until the invention of the ship.” While emerging technologies work to reshape the transportation networks, that network’s travelers, policy-makers, transit and transportation managers, and businesses are weighing the advantages of technology and the disadvantages to the environment and communities.

Emerging Mobility Impacts

Colorado’s population and economy continue to grow — the State Demographer’s Office recently reported that Colorado’s population increased by over 487,000 people between 2010 to 2017. By 2040, the state’s population is expected to be well over 7 million people. More people means more impact on the transportation network, straining Colorado’s already-crowded highway corridors and compounding traffic delays that result in billions of dollars per year in economic impact in terms of wasted fuel and wasted time.

Emerging technologies, while providing greater mobility options, also place additional demand on the transportation network. Transportation Network Companies (TNC) like Uber and Lyft use a digital network to connect riders to drivers. Forbes Magazine noted that “…. Uber and growing rival Lyft have captured 70.5% of the U.S. business traveler market.” — in other words, 7 out of 10 travelers have used a TNC. Traffic modelers and transportation planners are forecasting a sizeable impact of the potential additional vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on the transportation network due to TNC trips to pick up and deliver both passengers and parcels. For example, a recent study completed by NREL noted that for every 100 passenger vehicle miles delivered, there was an additional 69 miles of VMT. These additional miles to pick up a passenger or to drive home at the end of a shift are known as “dead-heading.”

E-commerce real-time package delivery also has a growing impact. E-commerce companies like Amazon Flex and UberEats will allow for virtually any motivated driver and vehicle to become an on-demand package or meal delivery service. Use of these new mobility and delivery platforms continues to expand in popularity, volume, and VMT.

Emerging technologies pose risk to the environment, too. Air quality issues are serious in Colorado and, in response to this challenge and that of climate change, the administration of Governor Jared Polis set a goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2040. In order to achieve this goal, the administration established a strategic plan — a key aspect of which is reducing the impacts of vehicles. Strategies to reduce VMT and shift more rides from vehicles with internal combustion engines (traditional fuel-based engines) to electric vehicles will help improve air quality in Colorado.

Senate Bill 19-239

As a result of these emerging mobility changes, the Colorado Legislature passed SB19-239, charging the Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Energy Office (CEO) to convene a working group of experts and representatives to examine the emerging mobility industry and its impacts on emissions and congestion.

CDR facilitated the diverse Stakeholder Working Group (SWG), which met from early summer to October 2019. The SWG considered recommendations on how to incentivize the adoption of zero-emission vehicles, like charging stations and multiple passenger ride sharing strategies. The SWG dove into issues around equity, fees, electric vehicle adoption, reducing congestion, and safety.

Stay tuned for what the future of transportation looks like, especially the next time you take an Uber or have a package delivered.

For more information on mobility and the transportation revolution, reach out to Jonathan Bartsch at, Tracy Winfree at, or Melissa Rary at

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