Gretel Follingstad is currently a PhD candidate in Geography Planning and Design at the University of Colorado, Denver. Gretel is also an instructor for CU Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning as well as CU Boulder’s Masters of the Environment Program. Her research focuses on building water resilience for drought prone, rapidly growing communities under the pressures of climate change. Gretel examines water resilience at three scales: individual water use determinants, spatial design and land use planning adaptations and collaborative policy solutions.
Gretel comes to this level of study with extensive experience in land use and water planning. As an early adopter of resilience thinking, her professional praxis, scholarly research, and publications focus on the necessities and practicality of an equitable and resilience focused approach to natural resource and community health and sustainability. One of the key elements of her tenure as a professional resilience planner is an emphasis on linking natural resource sustainability with the community planning process, through land use tools. Gretel has broad experience working with and for government agencies and private organizations in project management, public outreach, public speaking (and professional facilitation) and is a senior level GIS specialist. Gretel has specialized experience in water resource planning, watershed restoration and management, as well as land use and open space planning. In addition to her PhD, Gretel holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in International Management and Latin American Studies, a Masters degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude, and a Certificate in Science and Technology Policy from the University of Colorado, Boulder.