Tag Archives: Stapleton

Urbanism, Suburbs and Families: They Can All Go Together

Michael Lewyn posted this article on Planetizen about what is perceived as an “anti-family” orientation in urban areas.  He first addresses a variety of New Urbanist developments in Dallas and Stapleton in Denver.  The developments ranged from downtown, to outer urban area, to suburbs.  He first of all makes the point that New Urbanist developments should and usually do have a mix of housing types, including single-family homes.  Stapleton in particular is an extremely family-friendly area, with lots of park space and good schools.  He then goes back to families in old urban areas, such as the original streetcar suburbs and the Hasidic neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

It is my opinion that part of the reason people don’t want to raise their kids in urban settings is because urban schools are terrible.  They have suffered from poor investment, a lack of qualified teachers, and from the fact that those who live in the community and are able to donate time and money often aren’t willing to stay in these neighborhoods when they move up in society.  The Congress for the New Urbanism has put out a variety of publications on school choice, including charter schools and vouchers, as ways to improve urban schools.  Despite the fact that these systems have practically had universally positive results, they are often hard to implement, partially due to political inertia and in a large part due to opposition from the teacher’s union.  Normally I’m all about unions, but in this case, the union is hurting our kids and our cities, and they need to wake up and stop it.  I hope that those who read this will be willing to work to improve school choice in their cities so as to invite families back to urban areas.

New Urbanism, Old Urbanism and “Creative Destruction”

Sarah Goodyear of Streetsblog brings us this story on how New Urbanism can change cities.  It includes a story about Sam Newberg’s revelation at Stapleton.  When he and a bunch of “planning geeks” were on a tour, they noticed a mother with her young child and dog, walking out of their house and heading to the park.  He came to the conclusion that the people who live in these communities don’t care that it’s New Urbanism.  They care that it’s close to parks, schools and shopping, that it’s safe, and that it’s attractive.  Instead of shoving jargon in people’s faces and telling them it’s good, we need to give them a vision of why New Urbanism is right for them.  She also includes an except from an article on The Urbanophile by Aaron Renn about “creative destruction” in the Midwest.  What’s true for Midwestern industries is often true for their settlements; they have reached a point of near meaninglessness, and if they don’t find a way to reinvent themselves soon, they will wither away.  He cites Mayor Daley of Chicago as a great example of an impetus for change that has turned a city in a better direction.  Compare him to Detroit‘s Kwame Kilpatrick.  Some communities, such as Flint, are taking drastic measures such as tearing down their abandoned neighborhoods in an effort to save the city money.  The Midwest is at a crossroads, and the decisions their municipalities make could lead them to a better future or to a state of obsolecence.

Not-So-New Urbanism

This site is how Latest Word chose to celebrate CNU making it’s visit to Denver.  They took the chance to analyze the various new Urban developments that have gone up since CNU last came to town.  So far they’ve done Stapleton, Belmar and Bradburn Village.  Their perspective is certainly that of true urbanists, and not the suburbanites that sometimes think New Urbanism is just small lots.  It’s good to see an outside view of these developments, and I look forward to future updates.

Touting new urbanism

Gene Davis brings us this article from the Denver Daily News about the beginning of CNU 17.  According to CNU spokesman Steve Filmanowicz, Denver will better weather this economic crisis because it’s embrace of New Urbanism allows it to better attract young urbanites as demographics continue to shift, and it will be more cost-effective and environmentally friendly for everyone involved.  Denver is the only city to host CNU’s annual conference twice, and it’s multiple examples of New Urbanist developments (Larimer Square, Highlands’ Garden Village, Stapleton, Belmar and Prospect are cited in this article) are complimented by the fact that seven of the area’s 13 malls are being renovated into more walkable forms.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see more reports like this as CNU 17 continues.

Vintage Colors Part One: An Introduction

This article by Jaime Brunner describes a characteristic of New Urbanism that is often overlooked: color.  She describes the flourishes of color characteristic of Art Deco and Victorian architecture, and how we have moved towards a great variety of beiges in our color pallet.  She compliments Stapelton and Prospect (again with the Denver compliments) for bringing back color, as well as integrating different architectural styles.  Many New Urbanist communities do have a wider variety of colors than more conventional neighborhoods (Utah’s most prominent New Urbanist community, Daybreak, has a street that has been nicknamed Crayola Street).  They stand out, they have personality, and in a straight affront to the idea that neutrals help resale value, they have been better weathering the recent economic turmoil than their beige counterparts.

Stapleton, LoDo, Belmar redefine “community”

Denver seems to be outdoing itself to prove PBS wrong in their portrayal of the city in Blueprint America.  Norman Gerrick brings us this article describing some of the characteristics of Denver’s New Urbanist developments.  According to his article, California neighborhoods built before 1950 have one third the traffic fatalities of newer neighborhoods, because the new ones are car based and the old ones are not.  He says that the sprawl model, which we expected to make us safer, has failed to do so.  Some areas, such as Denver’s Stapleton, LoDo and Belmar, are giving up on the sprawl model and returning to urbanism in what we now call New Urbanism.  But as many in the development community know, there are significant hurdles to this form of development, from single-use zoning codes to complicated financing.  He, along with practically all New Urbanists, calls for an end to these hurdles.

New Urbanism

This article, by Susan Barnes-Gelt, is a great summary of New Urbanism in Denver and in some ways a great reply to PBS’ Blueprint America.  Denver is, of course, hosting CNU‘s annual conference this year, but it also hosted it back in 1998.  In the 11 years since then, Denver has switched from the Highlands Ranch sprawl model to focusing on redevelopment and urban landscapes.  Stapleton, Belmar, Central Platte Valley and Lowry are all cites that the writer mentions as examples of this change.  Denver has truly made some large strides, and we can expect it to be a leader in New Urbanism in the West for a long time.