A Boulder Community Project: Alpine-Balsam Redevelopment Site
Growing Up Boulder (GUB) is engaging youth voices in the visioning process for the City of Boulder’s Alpine-Balsam community project. Alpine-Balsam, purchased by the city in 2015, is 8.8 acres of land located at the former Boulder Community Hospital site. It is proposed to house city offices, with the potential for other uses as well, including: civic engagement space, retail, and housing. During twelve weeks of the 2016 fall semester, Growing Up Boulder staff, undergraduate interns, and undergraduate volunteers will work in Casey Middle School’s Leadership class and Boulder High School’s 9th grade Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) class.
The GUB team, in collaboration with Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) and city partners, has developed a comprehensive, multimodal curriculum to begin an exchange between Boulder’s youth and the larger Boulder community. Sixth through 9th grade students will study the redevelopment of the Alpine-Balsam area using an ecodistrict lens; they will focus on ecodistricts’ six priorities: place, prosperity, health and well-being, living infrastructure, connectivity and resource restoration. The curriculum will begin with an exploration of the existing space, followed by student research into the concept of ecodistricts.
Through video, students will pose questions to the Boulder community and ecodistrict experts during two meetings in September. Several CU undergraduates in the Environmental Design (ENVD) research methods class will interview the youth during the semester to capture their reflections. Bringing in experts to help students wrestle with difficult questions, conducting independent research, and thinking creatively with the coaching of the GUB-CU team, students will create final projects which offer their vision for an eco-friendly Alpine-Balsam site. Final projects may take the form of 3D models, multi-media google maps, Google SketchUp, videos, or digital presentations. In a culminating event, students will share their projects in-person with city and community leaders and online with the public-at-large.
Middle school students, who are part of the Alpine-Balsam Ecodistrict project, engage in the City As Play activity [method designed by urban planner James Rojas].
Middle school and high school youth ask questions about the Alpine Balsam Project to City staff members.