The voices behind a remarkably inclusive green neighborhood-in-progress
Posted December 28, 2012
If you can find a better process of community engagement for a city-sponsored housing initiative than the one undertaken by the Denver Housing Authority for Mariposa, I'd like to see it. Mariposa is the the new mixed-income, mixed-use, transit-rich community growing up on the site of the city's outdated South Lincoln Homes not far from downtown. (The other greatest examples of community involvement that I know - Melrose Commons in the South Bronx, Old North Saint Louis, and Boston's Dudley Street - have been not so much public projects as broader homegrown planning initiatives whose momentum has come from within the neighborhood.)
It has long been my view that inner-city revitalization - especially if done with inclusion and walkability - is inherently green, even if there is nothing more deliberately "environmental" about it. The research backs me up on that. But Mariposa has plenty of green features, as I have written at some length in a previous article. And it has done an incredible job of connecting and collaborating with the community's residents, none of whom will be involuntarily displaced by the upgrade.
Mariposa was recently honored by the federal EPA with a national award for smart growth achievement. Watch and hear some of the story directly from the locals in this video (produced in superb HD):
- Impressive Denver study on equity & transit should become national model (May 4, 2012)
- EPA honors seven outstanding community sustainability projects (November 28, 2012)
- Bank of America supports affordable green neighborhoods with grant program (June 1, 2012)
- The spectacular 'green way' to build affordable housing (October 13, 2011)
- Urban revitalization is green. Let's make it greener, greater, and more inclusive. (August 10, 2011)
- A close look at a smart growth icon: Denver's Highlands' Garden Village (conclusion) (July 21, 2010)
- Principles of sustainable housing, from the Smart Growth Network (June 9, 2010)
- Taking revitalization to the next level: Denver’s Living City Block (March 11, 2010)
- New report: how city parks can support affordable housing (May 28, 2009)
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Kaid Benfield writes about community, development, and the environment on Switchboard and in other national media. For more posts, see his blog's home page. Please also visit NRDC’s Sustainable Communities Video Channels.