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DENVER (March 14, 2013) – Three panels of nationally renowned land use and community development experts convened by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) will be recommending strategies for creating healthy living environments in three Colorado communities this spring, starting with an assignment next week in Arvada.
Conducted through ULI’s advisory services program, the panels, all sponsored by the Colorado Health Foundation, will focus on the principles of design and its impact on human health and well-being.
The three Colorado assignments signify the first time ULI advisory panels have concentrated specifically the connection between health and land use. The panels, each of which is being chaired by ULI Senior Resident Fellow for Sustainable Development Edward McMahon, will look at three different communities with different typologies: urban, suburban, and rural.
The initial panel, set for March 18-22, will address a suburban typology in Arvada, a community northwest of Denver. Panelists will explore ways to enhance access and connectivity to open space from neighborhoods, with a particular emphasis on improving walkability and bikeability. Panelists will begin the five-day process by conducting a site tour and interviewing up to 50 local stakeholders. After carefully analyzing the area, the panel will then spend a day framing their recommendations and drafting a report that will be presented to the public at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, March 22, in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
The Colorado Health Foundation posed specific questions to the panel for helping Arvada move forward on these efforts. Some of their questions include:
- What opportunities are created by the new commuter rail stations to employ infrastructure and policy improvements for promoting healthy lifestyles?
- How can benchmarks be defined in order to measure the behavioral, economic and policy impacts of improvements?
- What strategies can be used for prioritizing and activating development plans, programs and initiatives?
- How can Arvada’s citizens and policy makers be motivated to achieve greater levels of walkability and biking in similar communities?
- What are the best communication strategies for both peer-to-peer and community education?
The other two Colorado panels will take place in April and May 2013. The second panel will examine the rural city of Lamar and its need to invest in infrastructure that promotes connectivity to open space and recreational sites. The urban neighborhood of Westwood, located in southwest Denver, will be the site of the final panel. The panel will study Westwood’s sidewalk networks, pedestrian safety, graffiti control, as well as the community’s lack of transit access and bike paths. In each case, the ULI panels will focus on the principles and practices that can be most useful for each typology in encouraging healthy lifestyles and fostering vibrant, prosperous communities.
“ULI is excited about bringing the expertise of its members to Colorado,” McMahon said. “Colorado is well-known as a state that promotes active, healthy lifestyles. We are aiming to draw from our experiences there to demonstrate how communities can be designed to encourage physical activity, and improve their economic, environmental and social well-being in the process.”
In addition to Panel Chair McMahon, other members of the Arvada panel are: Richard Albrecht, principal, Lattice Properties, Park City, Utah; Suzanne Nienaber, partnerships director, Center for Active Design, New York, N.Y.; Klaus Philipsen, president, ArchPlan, Inc., Baltimore, Md.; Bob Taunton, president, Taunton Group, LLC, Boise, Idaho; Ross Tilghman, director, Tilghman Group, Seattle, Wash.; Waverly Wood, coordinator, Center for Design & Health, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.; and Tamara Zahn, president, Zahn Associates, Indianapolis, Ind.
Now in its 66th year, ULI advisory services panel program assembles experts in the fields of real estate and land use planning to participate on panels worldwide, offering recommendations for complex planning and development projects, programs and policies. Panels have developed more than 600 studies for a broad range of land uses, ranging from retail and entertainment development to military base reuse.
According to Tom Eitler, vice president of advisory services, the strength of the program lies in ULI’s unique ability to draw on the knowledge and experience of its nearly 30,000 members, including land developers, public officials, academics, lenders, architects, planners and urban designers.
Past sponsors of ULI advisory services panels include: federal, state and local government agencies; regional councils of government; chambers of commerce; redevelopment authorities; private developers and property owners; community development corporations; lenders; historic preservation groups; non-profit community groups; environmental organizations; and economic development agencies. Over the years, the program has been a leader in offering redevelopment advice for challenges across the country.
For more information on the Colorado Health Foundation’s “Healthy Place: Designing an Active Colorado” initiative, visit: http://www.coloradohealth.org/healthyplaces.aspx
About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute (uli.org) is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.