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Plan for a DEDICATED FACILITY to foster collaborative meetings, events, and education about climate change, resilience and smart growth.



Just Imagine cities without hospitals, fire stations, or schools.  Unthinkable. Years from now, it will be just as unimaginable that we would function without “Resilience Centers”, such as the proposed “Climate ARC”.  Such Resilience Centers (scaled-out to regions across the country), will touch the lives of millions of individuals and thousands of organizations. They hold the promise of helping protect millions of US citizens, - and mitigate billions of dollars in environmental and economic damages. 

ARC Resilience Centers are destined to become a new “Class” of Civic Center, dedicated to fostering more effective cross-jurisdictional and multi-stakeholder collaboration among various organizations. They will facilitate connecting and coordinating efforts for implementing solutions to climate-change’s “Three RRRs”; Regional Planning, Response, and Recovery.  ARCs will be specifically designed and “tasked” to serve this purpose, as well as educate and engage the broader population. The ARC center will lean heavily on "State of the Art" visualization and digital display technologies to create a robust, engaging, and profound experience for users*(a). 

This proposal is for the formation of an ongoing, non-profit, community benefit group. For purposes of this contest, the goal is NOT to develop the ARC “facility” itself, per se, but to create a Vision and “Strategic Implementation Plan” for the creation of the country’s first prototype ARC, - located in Boulder.  The group will be led by professional architects, planners, financiers, & educators, and will encourage the participation of ALL of Boulder’s stakeholders in the design process.   Along with a “Financial, Funding and Operations Plan”, and compelling conceptual architectural renderings, this “Planning Narrative” will serve as a first step for the raising of funds and sponsorship for establishing the final ARC facility. 

See inspirational visuals and concepts here, and in References, below.


What actions do you propose?



CONNECTIVITY: ARCs - a Meeting Place for Stakeholders: Too often, meetings are held in “found” spaces, and are ill-equipped with the digital technologies necessary to communicate complex climate issues.  The Boulder ARC will be a meeting space for organizations, civic groups, and other entities.

AWARENESS: ARCs - A Showcase of Projects, Initiatives, and Resources: "Knowing about local organizations and stakeholders is not enough, we must understand how what they do relates to other oranizaitons"  Digital technologies will present a vibrant and engaging "SHOWCASE" of local projects and initiatives.  Users can select topics of interest, to see videos, presentations and other displays.  ARCs will be a living "Repository" of local area stakeholder initiatives to foster greater inter-agency awareness.

COLLABORATION: A Collaboration Center for Climate Professionals: - utilized for Regional Resilience planning, disaster Response, and disaster Recovery. Conferences, planning, professional education.

AN EVENTS CENTER: Hosting On-Site Events, Co-ordinating Others: ARCs can be utilized for ongoing public education, fundraising, and philanthropic engagement.  They can serve as a Hub for Marketing and coordinating member events outside the center.

BROAD PUBLIC PARTICIPATION:  Beyond “100's of organizations and 3,000 climate professional", Boulder needs 50,000 informed citizens. Public engagement and eduction is critical to policy support and implementation.

CLIMATE EDUCATION FOR BEHAVIOR CHANGE: Social Learning:   how does society and its institutions LEARN?  How do we effectively change behaviors in a way that matters? ARCs will provide an immersive, powerful and engaging experience to users*.

DESTINATION ATTRACTION: For Tourism, Families, and the General Public.  ARC displays will serve to attract, engage, and  entertain the public with immersive, even “fun” interactive user experiences that will draw visitors to the center.


See inspirational images on Pinterest at:

The ARC Center will lean heavily on "State of the Art" visualization and digital display technologies to provide for a robust, engaging, and profound experience for users*.  These emerging digital technologies offer a powerful new paradigm for promoting greater understanding and communication of highly complex climate change issues.  Climate change issues can also be "experienced" in new immersive ways for a tangible, "personal" experience. They can promote greater interaction among public, private, political, non-profit, and philanthropic users. 

BUSINESS STAKEHOLDERS: GOOGLE, DIGITAL GLOBE, et al: Boulder area businesses such as Google (at Alphabet's new 1,500 employee campus), and Digital Globe, -  are deeply involved in these emerging digital technologies.  ARCs offer an opportunity to expanding the scope of local stakeholder involvement, and a national roll-out of ARCs. SHOWCASE business Products and Services.


Note: Action steps are presented in general order of sequence but extensively overlap, so “Frameworks” are used to outline related goals, specific action steps, and contexts for action.

RRC (for Regional) and ARC may be used interchangeably below:

[  ] FRAMEWORK: Connecting,  Networking, and Establishing a Base of Operations


Promote the group’s development. Networking and SMO/ Social Marketing to build the group and surface sponsors, volunteers, leadership. Establish relationships with regional stakeholder groups MEETUP Group, website, SMO online accounts: Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, basic Website etc.

Establish physical offices/ place: Impact Hub or equal co-working space

Context: Form a non-profit, community benefit group. The group will drive the project, develop traveling "pop-up" exhibits, program materials, etc.   Its long term goal will be to develop a strategic plan for establishing a permanent physical facility intended for multiple stakeholders to collaborate on implementing climate change solutions.

[  ]  FRAMEWORK: Establish a flexible operational structure, activities, and process for the group:


Stakeholder lists, Board of Advisors, BOD, begin a “B” certified, Non-Profit group.

Context:  Establish an Advisory Board.  The advisory board will serve as the guiding body for program development and implementation.  The first task for the advisory board will be to review the overall strategic business plan. The advisory board will continue to oversee the project and provide guidance when needed.

[  ]  FRAMEWORK: Create a compelling “Cause” Narrative, Goals and Vision for the Group to rally around


Create a compelling narrative for “Why” an RRC, and why visualization technologies are a solution to the problem.

Draft a vision, mission statement, goals.  Define the problem and solution proposition.

Context: Imagine your city without hospitals, fire stations, schools, libraries, museums, recreation centers, and the like, to serve the needs of public health, education, safety, and culture.  Imagine if these services not only had no “place”, .... but none of the specialty facilities, equipment, materials, and programs needed to function.   Today, while climate change represents a very real and existential threat to our communities, to mankind, and to the entire planet, it yet has no “PLACE” to address our needs.  An issue as profound, complex, and all-encompassing as climate change is relegated to random, temporal, “found” space, with generic facilities for pursuing our collaborative efforts.  Note lasting "footprint" of the stakeholders efforts is left on site.  No visual "imprint" is created in the community around which to rally.  Unlike Hospitals, Schools, Museums, Rec Centers, that catalyze a sense of "PLACE", .... the issue of "Climate Change" remains "Physically" ethereal and intangible.  "Free Market" forces drive the creation of hospitals and schools, but there is no market "Driver" of Collaboration and Resilience Centers.  This reality has proven to be ineffective in forming collaborative community action, -  and a large part of the reason for this MIT CoLab Challenge.

If a network of RRC’s is successfully deployed across the US, RRC’s could accelerate implementation of climate mitigation solutions.  They could help garner public support for political policies.  They could save countless lives, and stave off potentially hundreds of billions in economic damages, exponentially more than any facilities’ capital or operating costs.  

[  ]  Framework:  More Deeply Explore the Problem, Need, And Issue To Be Solved, Question The Solution


Group, community, and potential end user meetings to “survey” the landscape and get feedback on the concept.

Group meetings as required: Clearly define the ISSUE, problems, need, explore solution hypothesis and alternates.

Context: “Storytelling”:  Effectively telling the complex “story” of Climate Change risk and resilience is critical to effective civic engagement and institutional decision making.  The RRC will leverage emerging data visualization and digital display technologies in powerful new ways that will inspire, educate, and empower participants.  It will make tackling climate change a more fun, engaging, and inspiring experience, fostering greater community involvement.

[  ] Framework; Establish and Clarify Goals, Objectives, Actions, Time Frames. Assess Market Realities


Draft clear goals, vision, and a clear strategy, with metrics for assessing progress. Refine, develop and Prioritize Specific Action steps (this draft) for moving forward relative to group resources, staffing and funding.

[  ] Framework:  Conceptualizing The Physical Solution And Programs, Facility Users


Create a vision for what a RRC/ climate change collaboration facility would serve,

layout benefits… programs

Context:  Regional Resilience Center (RRC). Utilizing ''state of the art" visualization technologies, the Center would offer a new paradigm for public, private, political and non-profit engagement. Initially it would facilitate local areas recovering from the 2013 floods, - to rebuild as a more resilient community

Goal: A DESTINATION for the public that is both entertaining and educational: Industry research has revealed that “destination appeal” through “specialty places” where attendees can participate in new “user experience activities” -  drives attendance to projects like the RRC.

Goal: A Powerful tool for Professionals:  The RRC will provide a dedicated facility leveraging digital displays and interfaces that allow Professionals and policy makers to place jobs, housing, eco-systems, water shed data, fire risks, floodplains, economic, population, food security, transportation and more - on digital maps, and 3D holographic displays, Participants can visualize rotate, manipulate the displays to explore issues and solutions in various scenarios

[  ]   Framework; Exploring Visualization Technologies, both Existing and Emerging, and Applicability For Attracting Public Engagement, And  Professional Education 


Research visualization technologies and benefits, costs and how they would integrate with the program.

Contact the new GOOGLE/ (ALPHABET, INC), Boulder campus  (with 1,500 new employees) being built. Ask for their a collaboration with Google’s roll-out of 3D and Holographic visualization imaging technologies.  Seek financial sponsorship. Repeat with NREL, NCAR, NOAA, and other local Institutions and Businesses.  



[  ] Framework: Develop Core Facility Programming Requirements


From the previous work done, develop facilities “Programming Requirements” and Specifications to outline the specifics for a “College Contest”  (see next item).

[  ]  Framework : Develop  Visual and Marketing Materials for the RRC Facility:  Flesh out the Concept And Vision, Create Sketches, Plans, Elevations, and “User Experience” images in order to  To Share And Market The  RRC Concept


 “College Competition” :  Hold a competition among local University Planning and Architectural Colleges and Universities to leverage the creativity and energy of graduate level college students.  This is an opportunity to provide the benefit of real-world, community outreach experience to them.  Create a “hypothetical” prototypes and solicit fresh ideas.   Provide cash awards for winning entries. Judge winning entries, and present publicly to raise awareness.  

Context/ Precedent:  This is similar to the “ Rockies Venture Challenge”, ULI and other contests.  Explore holding the contest within those existing frameworks, or independently.

[  ]  Framework ; Perform Feasibility Studies, Financials, Strategic Plan, Sustainable  Business Plan


Hold a parallel , similar completion among the local University and Colleges’ Schools of Business, Economics, etc.

Have students perform economic modeling of the Architectural Students design plans.

Have theses Schools of businesses, sustainability, economics also perform a Sustainability plan for ongoing operations and capital improvements

Context/ Precedent: The Rockies Venture Challenge and ULI competitions.   

[  ]  Framework: Community Outreach: Exhibits, And Other Displays, Pop-Up exhibits.  Pursue funding.


Attend local festivals and events to engage the public and share the RRC concept, raise funds, and support.  Establish affiliations.  Hold fundraisers Hold in-house events Events

Traveling exhibits, mobile booths, materials, Website

[  ]  Framework  Program Development , Refining   The Long-Term Program And Vision


After establishing a clear vision, strategy, funding path, and assessing feasibility and public support, revise and modify the plan and pursue Funding for the “Next Steps” to implementation and construction.  

Who will take these actions?

An initial “seed” group of stakeholders is intended to network (through social media and other strategies) to grow to sufficient critical mass to serve the project’s purposes.  

Precedent for this anticipated growth has been demonstrated by the applicant in co-founding the *TinkerMill Makerspace* (now at over 1,500 members), and StartUp Longmont* (now at over 700 members), both from an initial “seed” of 5-6 members. See: , and

Applicant’s success with outreach to University graduate school of Planning and Architecture was demonstrated with several semesters of graduate student engagement in the St. Vrain River redevelopment project, a summary of which can be found at the City of Longmont website at:

Initial volunteers for the project include Architects, Planners, P.E.s and Professors, including: Professors Joseph Juhasz, Korkut Onaran, P.E. Peter Swift, and others.  

Business associate volunteers include Peter Krahenbuhl of Hunter Lovins' Natural Capitalism Solutions, Robert Bruegel, PHD, CEO/ Baseline Institute, et al

As the RRC leadership group evolves, it is anticipated that it will form an Advisory Committee, B.O.D., and a Mentorships to assist students with the “College Competition” action step.

Additional Stakeholders to be contacted potentially include;

Educational: CU, DU, FRCC, Metro State, and other local colleges.

Professional: Local architects and planners, ULI, AIA, CNU and dozens of other architectural, planning, and climate-consultancy businesses.

Organizations:, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, Unreasonable Institute, etc..

Institutions: NREL, NCAR, NIST, NOAA, NBS, and other national climate labs.

Governmental: City and County of Boulder, et. al, 

Other: MIT Alumni, other CoLab participants. Hundreds of potential stakeholders have already been identified and relationship-mapped through BOCO Strong, and will be pursued through this connection.

What are the key challenges?

The first such facilities: Just imagine your city without hospitals, fire stations, schools, libraries and museums, - all facilities dedicated to serving the needs of public health, safety, education, and culture. Yet, today we have no facilities dedicated to addressing the pressing need for implementing solutions to the greatest threat ever to our communities - Climate Change. 

While the public has generally learned not to “bat an eye” on spending millions on such common civic institutions, building a dedicated “Climate Change” resilience facility, while more critical to maintaining community safety and sustainability, could prove to be a challenge. Telling the “story” of the benefits of the RRC will be critical. 

A clear strategy and community outreach campaign will be necessary to garner the political, public and financial support to complete construction of the project.  The 2013 flood event, with millions in unmet needs, creates a context and opportunity for framing this “Narrative”.  

Creating the visual design and marketing materials, feasibility and economic studies to demonstrate “proof of concept.  This can be effectively pursued by leveraging the talent, and creativity of the “College Contest” idea.

Programs: One challenge of any issue subject to dissenting opinions and political ideologies, is garnering consensus in the role, mission, and programs of the facility.  Retaining autonomy and independence from governmental, business, and political biases that could compromise the mission and educational programs offered is critical. (ie fracking vs water impacts). The RRC will offer exceptional community benefit.  It is anticipated that the extraordinary role and benefit provided will offer a sufficient context to overcome these challenges.  

Interim Funding: Raising substantial funds for construction and facilities programs will require public, private and political support and necessitate the possible funding through federal grants or public bonds. 

What are the key benefits?

Key Benefits:

Increased community connectivity: A stable physical “place” to connect, specifically designed to enhance the experience and collaboration of stakeholders.  A highly visible “bookmark”, presence, and identity in the community.

Increased awareness of stakeholder capacities and roles: - permanent “informational kiosks” with physical and digital materials to create a permanent and ongoing “SHOWCASE” for a multitude  of stakeholder's resources, initiatives and projects.

Better understanding of complex climate change issues: - through enhanced visualization technologies

Greater Public Engagement “Fun” and engaging activities and events to draw the public and tourists to the center.

The RRC will be;

Feasible: The proposal is for creating a "Strategic Implementation and Funding Plan", not the actual funding and construction.  This is well within the scope of similar Studies already facilitated by the applicant, using the Student Competition concept.

Novel/ Unique: The first such "DEDICATED" - COMMUNITY CLIMATE CHANGE COLLABORATION CENTER in the Country.  The problem topic of the Boulder Competition is universal.  The solutions is not more Climate-Solutions, Organizations or Social Infrastructure, it is the "PLACEMAKING" for Collaboration.

High Impact: Can provide a "PLACE" to inclusively support the implementation of ALL other CoLab proposals.

Demographicly diverse:  Embraces a full spectrum of stakeholders and regional jurisdictions.

Sustainable: Both the facility itself, and its management, and operations  will be vetted for feasibility as a sustainable enterprise before any development commences. The core non-profit group should be able to find support for operations among the 100's and 1,000's of local stakeholders, and businesses that would benefit.

Applicable to Other Communities/ Ability to Scale Nationally: Once feasibility studies are completed, they can be shared with regions throughout the US.  Economies of scale for program materials and technolgy is huge.


What are the proposal’s costs?

Short Term: Co-working office and meeting space acquisition, Meetup accounts, website development, marketing materials, internet, lines, signage, and misc. overhead costs. (90% volunteer staffing, and using personally owned computers). $4,500-$5,500

Medium Term:  Staging the “College Competition” for design development, with cash awards to the winners. Forming a “B”/non-profit, expanding the stakeholder base, creating mobile exhibits for community outreach.  Ongoing office, internet, accounting and legal.  Initial fundraising and sponsorships, affiliations. Print materials for design development and marketing.  (Marginal compensation for staffing and internships).  $7,500-$15,000  

Long Term: (Funding sources to be determined) Site selection and professional architectural, engineering, and program design. Technologies research and development.  Fundraising, grant-writing, marketing.  Site option expenses. Economic and business operations feasibility studies and consultants.  Ongoing  business operations.   $145,000- $350,000 

Beyond:  Land acquisition, RRC Facility Construction and Commissioning. Opening and startup operational expenses to stabilization.  Programs/ Technology implementation.  The RRC is intended to become financially self-sufficient within 2-3 years of commissioning.   $4 to 11 Million.


NOTE: The “Costs” of the program need to be framed in a context of the economic “Benefits” of the RRC facility. The 2013 flood event “cost” the state of Colorado in excess of $3 billion dollars, as well as untold personal, emotional, and “ripple effect” costs. Tens to hundreds of millions could have been prevented if pro-active mitigation policies were in place BEFORE the disaster.  Natural disasters are the “New Normal”.

The RRC’s mission is to pro-actively institute climate change mitigation and resilience strategies that could save amounts that are exponentialy greater than any capital costs and operating expenses, offering a hundredfold return on investment!

Time line

(See also Action: Stage of Implementation)

Short Term, 3-5 months: Institute a community outreach campaign (utilizing MeetUp, Facebook, Twitter, the Boulder "Impact Hub" co-working space, and similar social marketing outreach opportunities), to create a formative group with a critical mass sufficient to build momentum for a sustainable non-profit group. Create a clear Mission, Vision statement and Goals and Policies for the group and its long term engagement with the operations of the RRC.

Medium Term,  6 to 18 mos.: Expand the reach and network of supporting and affiliate organizations. Acquire non-profit status, raise funding for future goals and actions. Institute the Graduate School of Architecture and Planning “College Competition” to develop more advanced design concepts, and engage a broader stakeholder base. Engage local Universities and Colleges in the business, financial and economic feasibility plans for the project.  Finalize project design award winners, and refine the project concept and program materials.  Institute initial traveling exhibits, “pop-ups” and programs for community outreach.

Long Term, 18 mos. to 3 years:  Pursue selection of possible sites (or integration into other existing initiatives, such as the local Civic Center proposal).  Pursue grants and other fundraising strategies to option the property and hire professional consultants to develop site-specific proposals, architectural design, and facilities programing materials and technologies.  Institute public-private partnerships for the construction and operations of the Regional Resilience Center.

Beyond: (Beyond the current project scope).  Subject to feasibility, support and financing, timeframes for physical construction of the RRC and development of its technologies and programs will be mapped out.  The possibility of other RRC’s being pursued nationally will also be explored, and other projects may be brought on line in parallel, or even in advance of completion of the Boulder RRC.  


Related proposals

Visualizing Climate Change With Virtual Reality at Climate Resilience Centers.


TERMS/ ACRONYMS: The terms RRC (For Regional Resilience Center), and ARC (For Area Resilience Center) may be utilized interchangeably in this Proposal, pending the core group deciding on a final name.


*(a) Find inspirational images, links to resources, discussions of "Collaborative Visualization Technologies" and much, much more -  with regards to the Area Resilience Center Concept, -  on Pinterest at the links following. 

A NOTE re PINTEREST: In an effort to build greater online dialogue and visibility, a substantial number of reference materials and visual images to communicate the “Climate ARC” concept have been permanently posted on a Pinterest account.  They are referred to by links to “Boards” and “Pins”.

Viewers do not need to have a Pinterest account to view the links.  After clicking on them, simply scroll down, and/or double click on the image displayed.   (It will be far easier to view the Boards and Pins however, with a Pinterest account.)  If unfamiliar with Pinterest, it is free, and takes only about two minutes to set up an account.  Subsequent log-ins can be made through Facebook. Key topics of interest can include Climate Change, Collaboration, Virtual Reality, etc.  As an application, Pinterest follows only behind Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In as a leading social sharing site, and is well worth learning about.  


ARCs AS A BUSINESS SERVICES AND PRODUCTS SHOWCASE:  Businesses serve an important role in adapting to Climate Change. Climate ARCs will serve to connect with these local businesses, and the sustainability products and services they offer through our ongoing visual display and mapping technologies.  Here users/ visitors can click on a subject of interest (solar panels, sustainability consultants, green-builders, etc.) to see a map and resource depiction of local providers.







Climate ARC  TEAM MEMBER LINKS (in Development)

See also: BOCO Strong / Boulder County Flood Recovery resources