Ponderosa Mobile Home Architecture Studio

Research Questions
During the spring of 2018, more than 40 CU Boulder students and faculty with varied expertise sought solutions for the preservation of Ponderosa Mobile Home Park as it transitioned to a more resilient model of affordable housing. Students and faculty analyzed and explored key research questions around affordable housing topics, such as urban ecology, modular building design, community engagement and sustainable social development.  

ENVD 3300: Ponderosa Interdisciplinary Praxis Studio
Urban Ecology, Neighborhood Architecture and Community Engagement

This praxis studio explored how best to address Ponderosa community’s future ecological, infrastructure and housing challenges. During this studio, students researched and designed ecological landscapes and resilient homes for this neighborhood at scales that are well-suited to tackling these issues. Students informed their design work through the study of literature pertaining to urban and landscape ecology, small/modular homes, sustainable design and community resilience as well as from practice, precedent studies and other resources.  

Ponderosa Twins

by Isabella Josephine  Kyster

Desiging the unit's orientation and including large windows and overhangs will allow residents to maximize the use of solar access. Also, creating a clear threshold between private and public spaces through a small outdoor area on the exterior of each unit, concludes where the private space is tunring into public space. The sidewalk marks where the large open space is and addresses the storm-water management through rain gardens and where habitat rehabilitation is possible through forming the landscape. 

Ponderosa Integrated Vision

by Rykley Landen Lynch

Virtually establishing North Boulder, the community of Ponderosa has been around for more than half a century, and is a cornerstone to the history of our beloved city of Boulder. Throughout the years the community of NoBo have experienced many changes from our built environment to our natural environment, and as a team we set out to create a more sustainable, cohesive, resilient community. 


The ecological conditions of Ponderosa are unique compared to many North Boulder communities, and as a result, they present both design challenges but also opportunities for this phase of the project. Ecological factors that these projects primarily revolve around include the 100-year old plain, subjecting residents to the negative eects of sheet ooding, as was the case in the 2013 Boulder ood, as well as developing more vegetation to encourage resiliency.

Connection: Ponderosa Community Design 

by Jonah Alexander

The Ponderosa Community is a unique and resiliant neighborhood. While they are near Four Mile Canyon Creek, there is a lack of interaction with the residents and users This Design integrates ecological factors that affect Ponderosa such as Flood Water Protection, Vegetation Enhancment, and Habitat Corridor Connections. The Ponderosa Crescent Park Design wants to create a space for Ponderosa and also the North Boulder Community.

The Pocket Home

by Sara Taketatsu

The pocket homes at Ponderosa began with the concept of a duplex that would serve to maintain the housing density of the neighborhood. Private versus shared spaces, equity, and access to the outdoors guided the final design, which embraces equity with a core staircase that brings residents in contact with southern sun regardless of which side of the unit they occupy.