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Amplifying University-Community Voices


West Area Plan Photovoice Project

The West Area Plan Photovoice Project showcased the photographs of ten Denver residents who live in West Denver.  The photographs they took highlight things they believe the city should invest in for their neighborhoods, as well as things they think are unique about their neighborhoods. These residents/artists signed up to participate in this project because they care deeply about their communities and are invested in improving the conditions of their neighborhoods.

The project was a collaboration between the City and County of Denver's Community Planning and Development Department and the University of Denver (DU). The West Area Plan Photovoice Project created a space for community members to connect with other residents and engage with City employees to celebrate and share ideas for improving the future of their neighborhoods. The project is a part of Denver's Neighborhood Planning Initiative, a long-term commitment to ensure every corner of the city can enjoy the benefits of an area plan. The West Planning Area the photovoice project supported is made up of these six neighborhoods: Barnum, Barnum West, Sun Valley, Valverde, Villa Park and West Colfax.

The Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship and Learning developed and facilitated Photovoice workshops to support goals identified by the City. Project goals included: 1) Participants engage in individual and collaborative idea generation focused on interests, desires etc. for the future that could be addressed by the planning process for West Denver, and 2) City employees see the West Area communities through the eyes of the people who live there which in turn informs the design of the West Area Plan.

These artists come from different backgrounds but they all share a love for one of the six neighborhoods that make up West Denver. It is more than home to many and it is worth preserving. As an artist and member of the West Colfax Association of Neighbors (WeCAN) Elizabeth Walsh states, "I believe that WeCAN create a resilient neighborhood that nourishes and shelters us all, even in the face of climate change and gentrification pressure. I believe that through the West Area planning process – and the Photovoice project in particular – we have an opportunity to build on our diverse strengths and community assets to create a socially just, ecologically thriving, and economically vibrant West Denver.

West Area Plan Participant Photobook

Participant photos and artist statements can be viewed in the West Area Plan photo book here. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the photo book, please email

North Denver Photovoice Project

The North Denver Photovoice Project involved 30 teens participating in the Seed2Seed summer leadership program through the GrowHaus. The project was funded by the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative. Over the course of 7 weeks, students from the University of Denver lead weekly photovoice workshops. During the workshops, participants established group rules of conduct, learned about ethical considerations for photographers and how to use their disposable cameras, decided aspects of their community to explore, took pictures, and developed their artistic statements.

Photovoice is a process by which project participants are provided cameras to document their lived experiences revolving around a project topic or theme. Teens took photos documenting what excites and worries them about ongoing construction projects and change in their neighborhoods.

This project celebrates the voice of youth and honors their experiences of community change in Denver. The youth hope that city officials will embrace their work and use it to help shape the development of future initiatives and efforts. 

North Denver Participant Photo Book 

Participant photos and artist statements can be viewed in the North Denver photo book here. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the photo book, please email

To view an interactive story map, which includes participants photos, more about
the artists, and maps that explore the themes from the photos in more depth, click here.

Federal Boulevard Photovoice Project

This book showcases the work of 17 Denver residents who live near Federal Boulevard and the photographs they took in spring 2018 as part of a Denver Smart City and Vision Zero photovoice project highlighting things they love about their community, as well as things that make them feel unsafe. These artists signed up to participate in this project because they care deeply about their neighborhoods, community, and improving the Federal transportation corridor.

All participating artists share a love for Federal Boulevard. Yara Vaneau cares about the "vibrancy and creativity that permeate Federal Boulevard. Even though it seems chaotic and ugly, once you slow down and pay attention there are a lot of interesting and beautiful bits." Rex Lai describes Federal Boulevard as a "a vibrant and lively street. It is in the center of the city and connects the neighborhoods, parks, and downtown together." Arturo Vazquez says that "it is the different businesses and culture that make our community the best place to live in Denver."

These artists come from different backgrounds but all live, work, or play in the Federal Boulevard corridor. It is home. As Artist Sandy Foushee said "When cities care enough to have safe , functional pathways, such as roads and sidewalks, they not only create connections between physical places , they also foster connections and hope between residents. People who feel hope, can go on to create pockets of beauty and connections between each other."

Federal Boulevard Participant Photo Book

Participant photos and artist statements can be viewed in the Federal Boulevard photo book here. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the photo book, please email


Last updated: 10/12/19