"Blueprint Denver" embraces the benefits of New Urbanism

For New Urbanists, it’s a principle that has been evident for quite some time: low-density, suburban development simply doesn’t make sense anymore.

For this reason, Denver city planning officials just announced “Blueprint Denver,” which, according to its drafters, “aims to reinvent the city in a way that increases density and efficiency while and fostering the kind of collaborative activity that will nurture the region’s economy for the future.”

With a population that is growing exponentially over time, current zoning requirements were outdated and failed to support such growth. The solution? Mixed-use development.

“We’re talking about integrated land use as opposed to the old model, where you had separate use, where you lived in one place and worked in another and shopped in another,” according to project manager Peter Park in a recent interview with The Colorado Independent. “That’s a model that may have worked for a while, but it also had dramatic [negative] effects.”

According to Park, who is hosting CNU 17, the process of passing the plan through City Council isn’t made easy by its ambitious objective of rewriting a number of current ordinances. But if all goes as hoped, the new code will be given the green light by August.

“We’re being deliberate,” said Park. “You have to be incremental. You address questions and edit the document based on responses. You have to do outreach, assemble people who know what they’re talking about — developers, architects, brokers, residents … because the fact is everyone has a stake in it.”

You won’t want to miss out on Park’s commentary at the Seventeenth Congress for the New Urbanism, June 10-14 in Denver, Colorado. He will be speaking at a number of sessions, including “A City-wide Form-Based Code for Denver,” which will delve further into his experience with “Blueprint Denver” and the conclusions that can be drawn from projects of this type.

To learn more about the program, and to register, visit cnu17.org.

Photo (Courtesy of Ryan Ludwig, Flickr): “Denver is updating its 50-year-old zoning code to further stem suburban sprawl, like this scene in Colorado Springs.”

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