Date: May 6-10, 2013
Location: Westwood neighborhood of Denver, CO
Sponsor: Colorado Health Foundation
Chair: Ed McMahon, ULI Senior Resident Fellow for Sustainable Development
The ULI Advisory Services panel was ask to consider how Westwood could foster a built environment that would make it easier to walk, bike, play and engage in daily activities that encourage movement and connection. The panel was also asked to recommend specific infrastructure investments that promote walking, biking, and access to open space and recreational facilities.
As part of the Colorado Healthy Communities panel series, sponsored by the Colorado Health Foundation, a panel of eight ULI members visited Denver, Colorado’s Westwood neighborhood to make recommendations around encouraging physical activity and healthy lifestyles in an urban environment. Westwood is a close-in Denver neighborhood with a predominately Latino population that has a complex network of alleyways.
The panel toured the neighborhood with Denver City Councilman Paul Lopez along with representatives from the Colorado Health Foundation, LiveWell Westwood, and the Morrison Road Business Association. Their immediate findings indicated there was a need for a better sidewalk network, places for school children to play sports, and gathering places/public spaces that could be used by all ages.
After interviewing over 90 community members, city officials, and other stakeholders, the panel developed a series of specific recommendations based around promoting healthy physical activity through a focus on the Latino cultural traditions that can be found in urban environments. These included adjusting the zoning code to allow murals on buildings that can create a more welcoming pedestrian environment, creating a mercado-like public space on Morrison Road, working with the Denver School Board to allow community activities to take place in school facilities after-hours, and focusing the efforts of the many community groups working in Westwood around strategic development opportunities along Morrison.