The Urban Land Institute
took a look at the Healthy Places
program, sponsored by the Colorado Health Foundation
, in Denver's Westwood neighborhood.
The neighborhood started out under adverse conditions. "Westwood developed during the depression when times became hard; cheap land was the only land people could afford," according to a 1944 newspaper article. "[Westwood] became a shack town, trailer town and tent town."
In a 1986 neighborhood plan by Denver Planning and Community Development, Westwood was described as an "endangered" neighborhood that has been "neglected by the city of Denver (in terms of long-range planning, services, zoning, etc.) and suffers from several major areas of concern." Among the problems cited in the plan were a poor neighborhood identity, poor housing stock and high turnover, inappropriate zoning, a prevalence of undesirable businesses, deterioration of business areas, and a lack of open space.
Little has changed in the 27 years since that report was completed, or for that matter, since Westwood was annexed by the city in 1947, according to Paul Lopez, the energetic and charismatic Denver City Council member who represents the district that includes Westwood.
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