For more than 15 years, Denver’s comprehensive plan, “Blueprint Denver,” has taken a binary view of neighborhood change—either a neighborhood should expect to change, or it shouldn’t—but it’s looking as though that practice might soon end. The current system, under which every City lot lies within an “area of stability” or an “area of change,” now seems likely to disappear in favor of a four-tiered categorization developing as part of the “Denveright” long-range planning process.
A bit of background: under Blueprint Denver, the City aims to funnel development into “areas of change” that comprise roughly one fifth of Denver’s land area. The plan’s complementary goal is in turn to limit growth in “areas of stability” that cover the balance. Denver development pressure has to some extent followed that vision crafted in 2002, especially as new projects have advanced along the RiNo’s twin corridors of Larimer Street and Brighton Boulevard, but other neighborhoods like Jefferson Park, Sunnyside and Berkeley have experienced demand at odds with turn-of-the-millennium thinking.
Perhaps as a result of that changing demand, City leaders and residents alike have seen a need for added shades between Blueprint Denver’s black and white categories—and the City itself says the binary approach cannot answer residents’ call “for a more inclusive city with strong and authentic neighborhoods.”
Local news outlet Denverite, which spoke with both a planning spokeswoman and members of city council, reports that the Denveright process will discard Blueprint Denver’s classifications in favor of a mix of the following four identifying qualities:
- Transform: places expected to experience significant redevelopment
- Connect: areas requiring better “access to opportunity,” including transit connections and jobs
- Integrate: areas facing gentrification and displacement
- Enrich: places, like existing single-family neighborhoods, that could still “diversify” by allowing some new uses
Notably, unlike the current “areas of stability” classification, none of these qualities appears to exclude the possibility of change.
In the coming months, the City will host a series of meetings to discuss and further shape the Denveright planning process. You can find a schedule on the City’s website here.