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Planetizen takes stock of Denver placemaking

Dean Saitta of University of Denver cast a critical and analytical eye in a piece on Denver placemaking at Planetizen.


I was struck by the silence at both events regarding Denver’s status as an income-segregated city. According to the research of Richard Florida and colleagues (see here and here), Denver ranks #9 in income segregation among large American metros. It's running neck-and-neck with Dallas for last place among major American cities with the smallest percentage of homes available for purchase (around 15 percent) in the least expensive tier of housing. Denver’s cost of rental housing is also among the highest in the nation. Given Denver’s income-segregated landscape, it's curious that only passing reference was made in the Confluence Denver discussion to a project that has great potential to both socially de-segregate and spatially re-connect the city: the site of the former University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (UCHSC) campus in east-central Denver. Jesse Adkins of Shears Adkins Rockmore Architects had this to say about the challenge of developing the former Health Sciences campus:
"That's a tough one to solve…"Lots of issues and big problems. These buildings have been there for 100 years. The street grid exists. There are ingredients you can pull into it. It's one of those nodal opportunities what could continue to fill in gaps around the city."
Adkins is right, especially his point about the campus site presenting a "nodal" opportunity. The site is located at the nexus of multiple neighborhoods (around 9th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard) that, according to the most recent census data, are sharply divided by class and culture. In fact, the site is pretty much smack dab in the middle of Trent Gillaspie’s cheeky "Judgmental Map of Denver" pictured below. This means it presents a great opportunity to address multiple citizen needs.

Read the rest here.


Read more articles by Eric Peterson.

Eric is a Denver-based tech writer and guidebook wiz. Contact him here.
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