Planner Profile: Ignacio Correa-Ortiz

NAME: Ignacio Correa-Ortiz

TITLE: Sr. Architect/Urban Designer


Tells us a little about yourself professionally.

I am a planner, urban designer and architect with Denver’s Regional Transportation District. I have experience as a project manager, design consultant, sustainability specialist and as a community planner, including transit, comprehensive planning and urban design projects in the Americas, Africa and Asia. I am responsible for reviewing, coordinating and giving direction to FasTracks and RTD’s base system on urban design, architectural, landscape and development needs; I support RTD staff in promoting Transit-Oriented Communities and coordinate joint development related to planning, design and construction.

Tell us how and why you got into planning.

My first year of college was at a school of fine arts; from there to here was an arduous but linear process. In short, I wanted to be useful to society and desired that my work would benefit others in a significant way. Although artists can have that effect on society, the search for recognition can eclipse their careers more easily. Then, at my next stop in architectural college, I discovered urban design and made the rationalization that architecture contributes more to society as buildings are more civic, and that there is no greater civic architecture than the architecture of the city. Subsequently, I was looking for a graduate degree in urban design, but there were not too many in the 1980s, so I enrolled in a joint masters’ program of architecture and urban planning. There I discovered advocacy and community planning. My career since graduation has been an amalgamation of planning, advocating, designing, but most of all, interpreting the aspirations of the communities I choose to serve.

Tell us a little about yourself outside of planning.

I am a father, husband, artist, outdoorsman, skier, public speaker, volunteer and soccer referee.

Who is your planning hero or role model?

The many unsung and dedicated community volunteers that make communities thrive.

What makes planning special/interesting/difficult/fun in Colorado?

As Colorado transforms and continues to grow in population, the gaps between opposites increase. As a result, affordability decreases and homelessness increases. The need for public transit increases while its ridership decreases. The urban footprint increases while the appetite for densification and agricultural land decreases. These and many more contradictions make of Colorado an excellent planning laboratory. However, there is hope, this year Colorado opens a new State Park. In addition, now we are aware of the benefits of combatting global warming, and despite detractors, as a State community, we are giving steps toward a more inclusive and just society.

What’s one place in Colorado you would recommend everyone visit or experience at least once?

Mesa Verde. It is one of those special places where you can travel back in time and imagine how the first peoples of the Americas may have lived, but watch out because when you came back to the present time it is going to be a shock.



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