Urban Master Plan

Denver, Colorado

2016

 

Introduction

 

The City of Denver has seen historic growth in recent years. With this growth has been the increase of lack of housing affordability and the infill of industrial landscapes near the CityCenter. This study was commissioned to explore the possibilities of redeveloping a prime industrial parcel to create a sustainable “attainable” housing and mixed-use community. The City of Denver sees this site as an emerging gateway to the City Center.

 

The site is complex in all dimensions. The90,000sf landmark Denver Coliseum structure sits at grade, Interstate 70crosses over the northern portion of the site 30-50 feet above grade and the Platte River defining the western edge approximately 25-30’ below grade.Subsurface, the site also serves as the confluence for storm drainage for several square miles of the surrounding areas.

 

General Planning Goals

 

The proposed plan embraces the complexities of the site and surrounding context. The proposal reclaims land from transitional/industrial uses while re-establishing connections to adjacent neighborhoods and businesses that have been separated since the 1950’s.

 

Specific Planning Goals

 

  • Develop a community that is a synapse; a connector on many levels both physically, digitally and virtually

  • Reestablish an affordable living environment for Denver residents

  • Reinforce the values and qualities that enrich a city. Specifically, the arts.

  • Bring together the Past and the Future of Denver and the West Conserve and enhance the agricultural traditions and reconcile these with Urban traditions

  • Develop a productive, high performing urban environment:1) Clean-technology, information business, and manufacturing at all scales. 2) Clean energy generated through PV in a community network. 3)Baseline production to cover additional load on the City grid imposed by the development

 

Food production and distribution.

 

  • Use the immediate environment to enhance the quality of water through construction of swales and wetlands.Minimize waste through aggressive community recycling

  • Use the development as a connector to enhance the quality of and re-establish the value all the adjacent neighborhoods

 

Use these Specific Planning Goals to create a high performing urban environment. Create a regional center to share knowledge and generate ideas for raising the performance of urban development in the West.The development creates an opportunity for the community to address and redefine the environment within the context of preservation and responsible resource use as well as address growth, urbanization and the changing environment of the American West.

 

 

Living

The concept of the 21st Century Homestead: ready-made to self- constructed living environments.

 

The development will provide a framework for the inhabitant to “plug in” at whatever level is comfortable.

Build a community that is connected on many levels; both digital and analog.  Digital resource and people resource- build a community that can give back more than it would receive on virtually all levels.

 

Provide the framework and resources for self-realization of personal and professional goals. Success will be measured by development that balances a high quality of life with a high standard of living for all residents.

 

 

 

 

 

Transportation- The Last Mile

 

A new commuter rail line is under construction along the west edge of the development. Its planned stop is ¾ of a mile away. The location of this development provides an opportunity to explore “the last mile” alternatives to transportation.

 

To that end, the development of a multimodal satellite station with a connection running parallel to the rail corridor will provide an opportunity to explore a fine-grained transit concept. The proposal pairs electric vehicles with the driverless vehicle technology, in this case, confined to a fixed guideway and using a smartphone-based app to control the schedule of the transit option raising the performance and utility of the line. This is consistent with the Clean technology/information concepts proposed throughout the development.

 

Food Production and Distribution

 

By developing a high economic performance threshold throughout the development food production is not marginalized to small garden plots or parcels that are unsuited for development. Food production is throughout the entire development. It is on open rooftops, enclosed rooftops, internal stacked growing floors of purpose design and built structures.

 

Production is managed by computerized and robotic maintenance and irrigation systems. By creating a business where innovation can be funded by food production revenues, the ultimate sustainable business can be derived.

Packaging, cleaning, and sales can also be developed on site in both retail and wholesale models. A green grocery sales network will be established throughout the development reviving the corner grocery tradition.

 

Housing Options

 

The concept of affordability drives the housing concept offers. The housing will range from completely prescriptive; built out with rooms, storage, and utility for immediate move-in, to non-prescriptive options where space contains only the “wet” components of bath and kitchen, and the rest of the unit can be configured as required by the user.

 

Traditional Mixed Use

 

In this proposal, a much finer-grained approach is suggested by integrating the uses throughout each structure and not by floor or building. This concept allows for immediate response to the market for each use in a way that keeps cost down and building performance high.

 

Clean/Industrial/Housing/Retail

 

The concept of creating loft type semi-enclosed spaces for art, tech and other light (cleantech) manufacturing is explored. The development of these high bay structures for making and limited production are integrated within housing blocks with housing “saddle-bagged” onto the perimeter of the larger buildings below. The roof space not open to below would be allocated to garden environments.

 

Some of these spaces also can be used for a traditional live/work function while other have adjacent retail uses.These spaces would be naturally daylit and using the energy derived from PV.