Immersed in Urbanism: Going face-to-face with designers, developers, and residents at Stapleton

CNU17 Experience participants explore emerging infill neighborhoods and rate them against the CNU Charter

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With its commitment to holistic design, New Urbanism strives to overcome the common problems of independent specialization — engineers and DOTs handling roads, architects handling buildings, zoning officials handling codes, bankers handling financing, and too much of the work clashing, none of it adding up to a livable, sustainable community.

The CNU 17 Experiences take this interactivity to the next level, bringing teams of urbanists into contact with the designers, developers, business owners, and residents behind three major examples of Denver New Urbanism — Stapleton, Belmar and Highlands Garden Village. Hearing from residents and kicking the tires of these developments really helps to determine whether their community form is performing as planned. And the teams are taking this seriously, using a scorecard to determine how well the projects reflect the goals of their developers and the guiding principles of the Charter of the New URbanism.

CNU caught up with some of these teams, captured some video footage form the field and had some revealing short conversations. These first videos were shot this morning at Stapleton, the 5000-acre site of Denver's former commercial airport now in the process of becoming a set of walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods. Another clip, shot yesterday with Highlands Garden Village developer Chuck Perry, is having technical problems. We hope to get it up shortly.

In the meantime, start experiencing Stapleton. The clips may start out with a bit of choppiness as we get the camera in place, but hang in there. These are some worthwhile slices of life in neighborhoods that are changing the paradigm for how and where to create new housing, shops, schools, and workplaces.

Rating Neighborhoods and Talking Schools and Pools with Mayor Dave Cieslewicz of Madison, WI

Stapleton Experience: Elizabeth Gay on Healthy Living

At one of three neighborhood pools at Stapleton, participants hear from Stapleton resident Eliazabeth Gay, former director of Prevention at Kaiser Permanente and current neighborhood healthy living advocate. After six years as a resident interested in making exercise part of daily life (through such things as walking trips to the grocery store), she says, "It's easier here."

At Stapleton: Parents talk about life in the neighborhood

The CNU Experiences put urbanists in touch with project teams and residents. In that spirit, Steve Filmanowicz of CNU talks with a Stapleton resident named Kelly at a popular tot lot about how well Stapleton works for her and her family. Although questions about schools made her consider moving elsewhere, she finds Stapleton extremely convenient and conducive to connecting with neighbors and friends. "You can walk everywhere," she says. "It's such a smart community, super smart."