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Interdisciplinary Research Institute for the Study of (in)Equality

C Town Water



Commerce city clean water project & community toolkit for environmental health advocacy

The Commerce City Clean Water Project will produce a best practices guide for local and state government agencies to partner with, collaborate on, and readily as well as meaningfully share data, develop research questions, and disseminate information with Colorado's under-served communities on issues of governance, proposed development, economic growth, education and public health.

The study will produce a guide to identify how and in what ways community organizers can engage government agencies and institutions of higher education on the topic of environmental justice. The project will be specifically focused in the largely northeast Denver metropolitan area where historic and contemporary water and air contamination concerns create distress and anxiety among the community's largely low-income racially minoritized residents.

Using this specific area as a pilot, the project will identify a 1-2 community partners, 1-2 local government agencies who will work with the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, the Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (In)Equality (IRISE) at the University of Denver and the One World One Water (OWOW) Center at Metropolitan State University of Denver to strengthen the capacity of local and state government and civil society organizations to:

  1. partner and collaborate early in engaging community residents to raise, share, inform and develop meaningful data on issues impacting their community,
  2. reinforce cooperation among government agencies and under-served communities to create long-term trust and sustainable engagement;
  3. identify pathways for government-civil society organization partnerships to utilize and deploy the resources and expertise of Colorado's institutions of higher education to address racial and related inequities; and
  4. develop new and innovative methods and tools addressed to a wide range of stakeholders (including civil servants, educators, NGOs, youth leaders etc.). Part of a larger quest for "good governance" through meaningful community participation, the study will promote the role of government authorities, civil society organizations, and Colorado's institutions of higher education and their networks to empower the state's under-served communities.

Led by Tom Romero.