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Westwood neighborhood, Denver, Colorado, ULI Advisory Services Panel report

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Westwood neighborhood, Denver, Colorado, ULI Advisory Services Panel report
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Full Text
A ULI Advisory Services Panel Report
Westwood Neighborhood
Denver. Colorado
May 5-10, 2013
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May 5-10, 2013

Urban Land
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The Colorado Health Foundation'


About the Urban Land Institute
THE MISSION OF THE URBAN LAND INSTITUTE is
to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in
creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.
ULI is committed to
Bringing together leaders from across the fields of real
estate and land use policy to exchange best practices
and serve community needs;
Fostering collaboration within and beyond ULIs
membership through mentoring, dialogue, and problem
solving;
Exploring issues of urbanization, conservation, regen-
eration, land use, capital formation, and sustainable
development;
Advancing land use policies and design practices that
respect the uniqueness of both the built and natural
environments;
Sharing knowledge through education, applied research,
publishing, and electronic media; and
Sustaining a diverse global network of local practice
and advisory efforts that address current and future
challenges.
Established in 1936, the Institute today has nearly 30,000
members worldwide, representing the entire spectrum of
the land use and development disciplines. Professionals
represented include developers, builders, property owners,
investors, architects, public officials, planners, real estate
brokers, appraisers, attorneys, engineers, financiers,
academics, students, and librarians.
ULI relies heavily on the experience of its members. It is
through member involvement and information resources
that ULI has been able to set standards of excellence in
development practice. The Institute has long been rec-
ognized as one of the worlds most respected and widely
quoted sources of objective information on urban planning,
growth, and development.
2013 by the Urban Land Institute
1025 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW
Suite 500 West
Washington, DC 20007-5201
All rights reserved. Reproduction of use of the whole or
any part of the contents without written permission of the
copyright holder is prohibited
An Advisory Services Panel Report


About ULI Advisory Services
THE GOAL OF THE ULI ADVISORY SERVICES pro
gram is to bring the finest expertise in the real estate field
to bear on complex land use planning and development
projects, programs, and policies. Since 1947, this program
has assembled well over 400 ULI-member teams to help
sponsors find creative, practical solutions for issues such
as downtown redevelopment, land management strategies,
evaluation of development potential, growth manage-
ment, community revitalization, brownfield redevelopment,
military base reuse, provision of low-cost and affordable
housing, and asset management strategies, among other
matters. A wide variety of public, private, and nonprofit
organizations have contracted for ULIs advisory services.
Each panel team is composed of highly qualified profession-
als who volunteer their time to ULI. They are chosen for their
knowledge of the panel topic and screened to ensure their
objectivity. ULIs interdisciplinary panel teams provide a holis-
tic look at development problems. A respected ULI member
who has previous panel experience chairs each panel.
The agenda for a five-day panel assignment is intensive.
It includes an in-depth briefing day composed of a tour of
the site and meetings with sponsor representatives; a day
or hour-long interviews of typically 50 to 75 key commu-
nity representatives; and two days of formulating recom-
mendations. Long nights of discussion precede the panels
conclusions. On the final day on site, the panel makes an
oral presentation of its findings and conclusions to the
sponsor. A written report is prepared and published.
Because the sponsoring entities are responsible for signifi-
cant preparation before the panels visit, including sending
extensive briefing materials to each member and arranging
for the panel to meet with key local community members
and stakeholders in the project under consideration,
participants in ULIs five-day panel assignments are able to
make accurate assessments of a sponsors issues and to
provide recommendations in a compressed amount of time.
A major strength of the program is ULIs unique ability
to draw on the knowledge and expertise of its members,
including land developers and owners, public officials,
academics, representatives of financial institutions, and
others. In fulfillment of the mission of the Urban Land
Institute, this Advisory Services panel report is intended to
provide objective advice that will promote the responsible
use of land to enhance the environment.
ULI Program Staff
Gayle Berens
Senior Vice President, Education and Advisory Group
Thomas W. Eitler
Vice President, Advisory Services
Annie Finkenbinder Best
Director, Education and Advisory Group
Daniel Lobo
Manager, Awards and Publications
Caroline Dietrich
Logistics Manager, Education and Advisory Group
Kathryn Craig
Associate, Education and Advisory Group
James A. Mulligan
Senior Editor
David James Rose
Managing Editor/Manuscript Editor
Betsy VanBuskirk
Creative Director
John Flail Design Group
Graphic Designer
Craig Chapman
Senior Director, Publishing Operations
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
3


Acknowledgments
THE PANELISTS WISH TO THANK the Westwood
neighborhood of Denver for acting as host to this impor-
tant panel. Partners in this effort included BuCu West,
Westwood Unidos, LiveWell Westwood, Revision, Urban
Land Conservancy, and councilman Paul Lopez and his
staff. The panel especially thanks Rachel Cleaves, Jose
Esparza, Jesus Orrantia, and Anna Jones, whose prepara-
tions and attention to details on briefing documents and
on-site coordination made this panel possible.
The panel also wishes to thank the Colorado Health
Foundation for sponsoring this series of panels regarding
designing healthy communities, especially Anne Warhover,
Note to Readers
This publication contains recommendations by the Urban
Land Institute Advisory Services panel that convened in
Westwood, Colorado, the week of May 5-10, 2013. A
complete listing of recommendations has been created
to provide a comprehensive report of the Healthy Places:
Designing an Active Colorado initiative for the community
Khanh Nguyen, and Hillary Fulton. The panel also thanks
Progressive Urban Management Associates for helping
prepare the communities for the panels arrival, providing
the background briefing materials, and coordinating so
closely with ULI and the host cities for this very important
work.
Finally, the panelists acknowledge and thank the more
than 80 individuals who were interviewed. Representing
city and county agencies, the business community, and the
citizenry, these stakeholders provided valuable information
and perspectives through their passion and understanding
of the issues, greatly aiding the panel in its analysis.
of Westwood. The Healthy Places initiative was designed
to incorporate physical activity into land development and
land use. While the Colorado Health Foundation contracted
with ULI to conduct a panel process, the complete recom-
mendations do not signify key funding opportunities or
commitments of the foundation.
4
An Advisory Services Panel Report


Contents
UU Panel and Project Staff.............................................................................6
Background and the Panels Assignment..................................................................7
Economic and Market Overview..........................................................................10
Understanding and Designing a Healthy, Active Community...............................................12
Planning and Design...................................................................................14
Implementation and Development Strategies.............................................................26
Programming...........................................................................................33
Conclusion ...........................................................................................39
About the Panel.......................................................................................40
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
5


ULI Panel and Project Staff
Panel Chair
Edward McMahon
Senior Resident Fellow, Chair for
Sustainable Development
Urban Land Institute
Washington, D.C.
Panel Members
Kamuron Gurol
Director of Community Development
City of Sammamish
Sammamish, Washington
Deborah Lou
Program Analyst
Active Living Research, University of California
San Diego, California
James A. Moore
Director of International Urban Planning
HDRInc.
Tampa, Florida
James Rojas
Cofounder
Latino Urban Forum
Alhambra, California
David Scheuer
President
The Retrovest Companies
Burlington, Vermont
Elizabeth Shreeve
Principal
SWA Group
Sausalito, California
ULI Project Staff
Annie Finkenbinder Best
Director, Education and Advisory Group
Caroline Dietrich
Logistics Manager, Education and Advisory Group
Ralph L. Nunez
President/Design Principal
Design Team Plus LLC
Birmingham, Michigan
6
An Advisory Services Panel Report


Background and the Panels Assignment
TODAY, COMMUNITIES ACROSS the United States are
facing obesity and chronic disease rates of epic propor-
tions. Emerging research indicates that built environment
and community programming interventions can play a
vital role in transforming communities to promote public
health and increase active living. In 2012, the Urban
Land Institute (ULI) was contacted by the Colorado Health
Foundation to provide advice on these public health issues
through the Healthy Places: Designing an Active Colorado
initiative. The foundation contracted with ULI for a series of
three Advisory Services panels representing three different
community typologies: urban, suburban, and rural.
large degree, taken the place of manual labor, driving
has mostly replaced walking and biking, elevators and
escalators have supplanted stair climbing, and televisions
and computer games have displaced outdoor recreation,
especially among children. The design of buildings and
neighborhoods often makes physical activity unnatural, dif-
ficult, or dangerous, especially for children and the elderly,
those with disabilities, and low-income individuals. Rather
than telling people to go to the gym, the Colorado Healthy
Places initiative was designed to encourage Colorado
communities to create opportunities for building physical
activity into citizens daily routines.
Through the Advisory Services program, ULI provided
land use, transportation, real estate, architectural, and
public health experts for these three assignments, which
represent the first time that ULI advisory panels have con-
centrated specifically on the connection between health
and land use. The Colorado Health Foundation wanted
a replicable program, so evaluating the three typologies
produces a body of work that can be applied to other com
munities in Colorado.
The foundation received 26 requests from Colorado
communities that wanted to participate in this initiative.
Through a competitive request-for-proposals process,
communities were asked to demonstrate their readiness
and ability to engage stakeholders in identifying and
addressing improvements to their built environments to
encourage active living and to take part in the ULI panel
program. Three communities were selected: Arvada,
Lamar, and the Westwood neighborhood of Denver.
Major Concepts in Designing
Healthy Communities
Once part of peoples normal lives, physical activity has
been designed out of daily living. Desk jobs have, to a
Study Area
The study area that was the subject of this panel is
the Westwood neighborhood of Denver. It is a diverse,
lower-income neighborhood with approximately 15,500
residents. Westwood, which is generally considered to be
bounded by Alameda Avenue on the north, Federal Bou-
levard on the east, Mississippi Avenue on the south, and
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
7


Z3L03ia&'
An aaaal of the Westwood Sheridan on the west, is about 1.5 square miles in area. It
neighborhood.
predominantly comprises single-family homes, with many
containing multigenerational families.
Westwoods demographics are notable for a variety of
reasons. The percentage of residents under the age of 18
is 36.6 percentover 15 percent more than Denver as
a whole. The average household income is $37,961 per
year, which is about $20,000 less than the average for
the entire city. Most critical, the neighborhood is over 80
percent Latino and 25 percent do not speak English, giving
it a unique cultural identity that can be built upon when
the best strategies for promoting healthy living through the
built environment are being considered.
plete sidewalk network and pedestrian safety, bikability,
and the lack of community gathering spaces. The panel
was charged with considering these concerns with an eye
toward the following goals:
Framing and promoting a strong emphasis on commu-
nity health issues through this initiative.
Defining strategies for prioritizing and activating plans,
programs, and initiatives with clearly delineated time
frames, financing, and organizational strategies.
Developing benchmarks that can measure behavioral,
health, economic, and policy impacts of improvements
that arise from this process.
The Panels Assignment
The Piton Foundation rated Westwood as Denvers
second-most-vulnerable neighborhood in terms of be-
ing prepared to help children thrive. Local community
stakeholders have worked to identify the major issues
that create obstacles to healthy living in Westwood. These
include walkability with a special emphasis on the incom-
Inspiring policy makers and residents around "best prac-
tices for achieving greater levels of walking and biking
in similar communities.
Developing communication strategies for community
education and peer-to-peer outreach.
8
An Advisory Services Panel Report


Summary of Recommendations
While Westwood faces many challenges and barriers to
active living and better health, it also has many assets and
strengths. First of all, it has great people who have incredible
energy and determination. It has a strong belief in education
and learning. It has a distinctive multicultural history and
identity. It is a multigenerational neighborhood that values
family and children. It has a diverse group of dedicated
nonprofit organizations all working to improve the neighbor-
hood in one way or another, including LiveWell Westwood,
BuCu West, and Westwood Unidos. Finally, it has a talented
and dynamic city council member who has worked tirelessly
for the betterment of Westwood and its residents. In short,
the neighborhood has great energy and spirit, great people
and organizations, and great culture and tradition.
Flowever, it is clear to the ULI panel that Westwood has
been ignored and neglected. It is also clear to the panelists
that it lacks the facilities and resources that many other
Denver neighborhoods have. It is underserved with parks,
walking paths, bike trails, sidewalks, and recreation and
other facilities. Flowever, what Westwood lacks most is a
focus, both physical and programmatic. The panel believes
that Westwood needs a targeted and strategic focus
to better harness the resources and attention of all the
various groups and organizations working independently
for the betterment of the neighborhood. The lack of focus
means that energy and resources are dispersed among
many groups and in many geographically diverse locations.
The panel believes that Morrison Road should be enhanced
to become the cultural and physical focus of Westwood,
with a community mercado and plaza where people can
gather for conversation and interaction, where community
festivals and events can be held, and where vendors can
sell their wares. To make all this work, the city will have
to slow down and calm the traffic along Morrison Road. It
also will have to encourage art and infuse culture into the
built and social environment in a way that authentically
represents Westwoods multicultural heritage. In addition,
it will have to encourage the relocation of the auto-oriented
uses that currently make Morrison Road unappealing for
pedestrians and small businesses.
To achieve this vision, Westwood should establish itself
as an open and receptive location for painters, sculptors,
muralists, and other working artists of Latino and Native
American heritage. The neighborhood includes a number
of structurally sound but vacant or underused buildings.
In some instances, the interiors could become studios for
working artists. In other instances, the exterior walls of
these buildings could become blank canvases upon which
artists can work with the local community to create vibrant
and culturally representative murals or business signs.
Already a tradition is emerging within the neighborhood for
this type of collaboration, and Westwood should seek to
build on it. These activities will reinvigorate the appear-
ance of Morrison Road, build a brand for the Westwood
neighborhood, and make the street a much better place
for walking and biking.
In addition to repurposing Morrison Road, Westwood should
focus on building a new recreation and wellness center
and attracting a small grocery store to the neighborhood.
It should also make better use of its existing facilities by
extending their hours; developing multiuse agreements
with schools, churches, and nonprofit organizations; and
strengthening the park and recreation system by adding
new park facilities and making strategic interventions to ren-
der existing parks more usable, accessible, and animated.

During the site tour and briefing
session, the panelists heard
from community stakeholders
like Norma Brambila, from
Westwood Unidos, and city
councilman Paul Lopez.
The panelists, pictured in the lower lefthand corner of the image,
toured the Morrison Road corridor and believe that its role as the
heart of the neighborhood should be enhanced through strategic
interventions.
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
9


Economic and Market Overview
THK ASSOCIATES INC. PROVIDED THE PANEL with
a market overview of metropolitan Denver. In 2013, metro-
politan Denver is a seven-county region that includes more
than 2.9 million people in almost 1.2 million households,
of which 1.9 million people are employed. Since 1980,
metro Denver has grown annually by almost 28,000 jobs
per year, which has stimulated annual population growth
of nearly 40,000 people in 17,000 households. Over the
next ten years, the metro areas economy is projected to
grow by an additional 29,000 jobs per year, which will
fuel annual population growth to 46,000 people in 18,000
households.
The Westwood neighborhood is part of Denver County and
the central submarket of metro Denver. Denver County
today has 634,000 people living in 278,000 households.
Since 1980, Denver County has captured 10.9 percent of
metro Denvers population growth. Since 1980, the West-
wood neighborhood has been growing by 164 people in
30 households; and since 1990, annual population growth
has been at a rate of 35 people in 29 households. Over
the next decade, assuming land is available for redevelop-
ment, Westwood is projected to grow annually by 310
people in 60 households. By 2023, Westwood is expected
to have 24,540 people living in 5,255 households.
Office
The Seven-County Denver Consolidated Metropolitan Sta-
tistical Area (CMSA) office market is profiled as nine major
submarkets. Westwood is located in the west submarket.
As of the fourth quarter of 2012, there were approximately
107 million square feet of office space in the Seven-
County Denver CMSA, of which 7,094,005 square feet or
6.6 percent was located within the west submarket. The
Westwood neighborhood office market includes a minimal
12,000 square feet, mostly located along the Morrison
Road corridor. The majority of office space is composed of
converted homes and small buildings.
Since 1970, the Denver CMSA has averaged 3,938,408
square feet of new office space construction per year,
of which 422,043 square feet or 10.7 percent has been
located within the northwest suburban submarket. In the
last five years, the Denver CMSA average office construc-
tion has decreased to 977,085 square feet per year, while
the northwest suburban submarket average has decreased
to 270,559 square feet or 27.7 percent of the total.
Westwood, through the redevelopment of the Morrison
Road corridor, should be able to support an additional
4,841 square feet of office space per year over the coming
decade. Westwood can expect 53,246 square feet of new
office space cumulatively over the next ten years.
Industrial/Flex
The Seven-County Denver CMSA industrial market is char-
acterized as five major industrial submarkets. Westwood
is located within the southwest submarket. As of the first
quarter of 2013, there were 174,816,5 9 5 square feet of
industrial space in the entire market, with 17,448,848
square feet within the southwest submarket. The overall
Denver CMSA industrial market has a vacancy rate of 6.89
percent, with the southwest submarket at 5.32 percent.
The industrial employment sector in the Denver CMSA
is expected to increase from 410,247 jobs in 2013 to
471,761 jobs by 2023, averaging 6,151 new jobs per year
over the next decade. Based on an industrial average of
450 square feet of space per person, there will be an aver-
age annual demand for 3,340,027 square feet of occupied
industrial space over the next decade to accommodate
the industrial employment growth. As employment growth
will remain steady in 2013, there will be a demand for
2,737,319 square feet of occupied space by year-end.
10
An Advisory Services Panel Report


Given the location of Westwood and the lack of available
land, THK Associates has determined that there is no
industrial or flex demand currently, and that there likely will
be little to no demand over the coming decade.
Retail
The Seven-County Denver CMSA retail market is divided
into 12 major submarkets. Westwood is located in the
west submarket. As of the first quarter of 2013, there
were 88,935,673 square feet of retail space in the entire
Denver CMSA, with 8,541,912 square feet or 9.6 percent
located within the west submarket. Overall, the current
vacancy rate is 8.21 percent in the Denver CMSA retail
market, while the west submarket retail vacancy rate
stands at 6.68 percent. Westwood has 169,000 square
feet of retail space, of which 12,000 square feet are
vacant (1.9 percent).
The median gross family income in the Westwood
neighborhood is $29,506. Given the nature of business in
the area, THK believes there is considerable unreported
income within the neighborhood. After accounting for
taxes, housing, savings, and other typical household
expenditures, $5,416 is left over for retail uses. Westwood
is expected to add 60 new households annually over the
next decade. At present, the neighborhood can support
227,244 square feet of retail space, which will rise to
257,747 square feet by 2023. It is estimated that the
market for retail space in Westwood will grow by 7,485
square feet per year.
Residential
Historically, construction in metro Denver has averaged
11,700 single-family units and 5,450 multifamily units
annually since 1980. In the last five years, these numbers
have fallen to 4,850 single-family units and 3,470 multi-
family units per year.
Over the next decade, construction in the Denver met-
ropolitan area will average 18,480 residential units per
annum, of which 10,785 will be detached single-family
houses, 2,723 will be townhouses and condominiums, and
4,972 will be apartments.
Westwood has not experienced any residential develop-
ment since 2004, the year when the low-income Paloma
Villa Apartments were developed. At present, there is a
proposed project comprising 16 townhouses on the corner
of South Utica and Mississippi. No residential development
has occurred within a two-mile (3.22 km) radius of the
neighborhood since 2011. The last projects to be built out
were in Belmar. Belmar and the surrounding area have wit-
nessed the addition of 563 occupied residential units since
2001. If land were available for new residential projects,
Westwood should look to bleed into the newly redeveloped
Belmar subdivision.
Assuming that land is available, Westwood will experi-
ence an annual average demand for 71 units, including 19
single-family units, 22 townhomes and condominiums, and
42 apartment units. Most of the multifamily development is
expectedand recommendedto occur at the entrances
to the Morrison Road corridor to create anchors for the
redevelopment of the corridor as a whole.
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
11


Understanding and Designing a
Healthy, Active Community
HISTORY INDICATES THAT CHANGES to the built
environment can have a tremendous impact on the health
of a population. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries,
many cities faced severe epidemics of infectious disease,
including tuberculosis, cholera, and yellow fever. These
epidemics were effectively mitigated through a variety of
changes in public infrastructure and design. For example,
aqueducts were built to pipe in fresh water, parks were es-
tablished to allow for access to fresh air and open space,
rail lines offered a reliable mode of transportation that al-
lowed people to commute to work and helped relieve urban
overcrowding, and development regulations set minimum
standards for what constituted a healthy living environment
(e.gthe New York State Tenement blouse Act of 1901).
Today, communities across the United States are facing
obesity and chronic disease rates of epic proportions.
Emerging research indicates once again that built-
environment interventions can play a role in transform-
ing communities to promote public health. This section
provides background on todays health concerns from both
Children who are able to engage
in at least 60 minutes of
physical activity each day will
be healthier.
national and local perspectives. It also outlines a series of
best-practice guidelines for shaping a built environment
that supports community health.
Understanding Todays Obesity and
Chronic Illness Epidemic
People who are overweight or obese are at higher risk for
many chronic illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, Type
2 diabetes, and some forms of cancers. Today, approxi-
mately two-thirds of U.S. adults and one-third of U.S. youth
are obese or overweight, with rates expected to continue
to increase dramatically. Since 1980, obesity rates have
doubled among U.S. adults and tripled among U.S. children.
The costs of this epidemic are staggering. In 2008, the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated
that medical costs attributable to obesity were approxi-
mately $147 billion per year. If trends continue along these
lines, by 2030, 86 percent of adults will be overweight
or obese, and total attributable health care costs will be
$860 billion to $956 billion per year.
Colorado is experiencing even higher obesity rates in its
children. In 2004, 28.4 percent of the children in the
state were overweight or obese; in 2011, that percentage
climbed to 31.4. The childhood obesity rates are even
greater among Colorados ethnic and minority children:
33 percent of Latino children were overweight or obese
between 2008 and 2010. These data are important for the
Westwood neighborhood, where approximately one-third
(32.9 percent) of the population is under 18 years of age.
Benefits of Physical Activity
Physical activity is a critical part of weight control and
chronic disease prevention, but research shows that
less than half of U.S. adults and youth report meeting
recommended levels of physical activity. The U.S. surgeon
general calls for adults to have at least 150 minutes of
moderate physical activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous
physical activity) every week. Children and adolescents
12
An Advisory Services Panel Report


should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity every
day. However, in Colorado, only 49 percent of Colorado
children five to 14 years of age get 60 minutes of physical
activity each day (2011 Community Health Survey), and
only 29 percent of Colorado adolescents get 60 minutes
of physical activity each day (2011 Youth Risk Behavior
Survey). Clearly, Colorados children are in need of more
physical activity.
The benefits of physical activity extend far beyond weight
management, and include the following:
Lowered risk for cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabe-
tes, and colon and breast cancers;
Reduced stress levels and improved mental health;
Improved academic performance in children;
Stronger bones;
Improved balance; and
Increased life expectancy.
Health Disparities
Given these benefits, physical activity is truly the best
medicine for promoting health and preventing illness. In
line with this, the World Health Organization has called for
"health and health equity to be at the heart of city plan-
ning and governance. Communities should strive to create
environments that are supportive of healthy lifestyles and
maximize opportunities for all residents to get the daily
physical activity they need to stay healthy. Although some
residents may have the money to join a gym and the time to
visit it regularly, the Healthy Places initiative study area has
many low-income residents who may not have this luxury.
An association often exists between lower economic status
and poor health outcomes. Improvements to health-
supporting community infrastructure such as pedestrian
paths, bikeways, recreational facilities, and accessible,
healthy food options can go a long way toward ensuring
that all members of the community can live healthier lives.
The Westwood study area is home to many low-income
residents with high health needs. According to the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development, the me-
dian household income in the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield
Metropolitan Statistical Area median is $73,900, but 24
percent of Westwoods residents live in poverty. A large
percentage of children (over 87 percent) in the study area
qualify for free and reduced-price lunch programs. In
addition, Kaiser Permanente released sobering statistics
regarding obesity in 2008. Among Kaiser members in
Westwood, 41 percent of women and 24 percent of men
are overweight or obese, and 38 percent of all patients
over the age of 30 are overweight or obese.
Research shows a current trend in communities of focus-
ing on the importance of the built environment when pro-
moting and improving health. In the words of the ancient
Greek philosopher Aristotle, "We ought to plan the ideal
of our city with an eye to four considerations. The first, as
being the most indispensable, is health (Politics, ca. 350
B.C.). In todays trend of concentrating on the connec-
tion between built environment and health, communities
are offering both deliberate and incidental opportunities
for physical activity, with the goal of the healthier choice
being the easier choice. Successes in improving health
through altering the built environment are seen through
Portland, Oregons extensive bike infrastructure system.
Portlands bike system is comprehensive, connected, and
user-friendly.
Investment in robust bicycle
infrastructure will encourage
increased physical activity
in everyday transportation,
exemplified by this combination
bus stop/bike rack in Portland,
Oregon.
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
13


Planning and Design
THE WESTWOOD NEIGHBORHOOD sits only a few
miles from downtown Denver, the heart of the metropoli-
tan region. Morrison Road was the first route into the city
from the south, and visible reminders of the connection
between the neighborhood and the city center remain.
However, it is primarily auto-oriented, with limited op-
portunities for safe outdoor walking and other types of
recreation.
Physical Characteristics
The panel noted the following defining physical character-
istics of the neighborhood.
Morrison Road, the primary
commercial corridor in
Westwood, lacks pedestrian
amenities like crosswalks and
wide sidewalks that play a
role in ensuring the safety of
walkers.
Morrison Road
Residents consistently identify Morrison Road as the
center of the community, yet the roadways high vehicular
speeds and lack of traffic controls also make it a barrier.
In addition, Morrison Roads diagonal alignment relative to
the neighborhood street grid creates awkward intersec-
tions that are unsafe and uncomfortable for pedestrians.
The sidewalk network in Westwood is inconsistent in quality and
often too narrow for even two pedestrians to walk abreast.
Roads and Sidewalks
These conditions add to Westwoods overall lack of
pedestrian features, including narrow or absent sidewalks,
a dearth of street trees, and large-scale commercial uses
with little relationship to the street frontage. Not surpris-
ingly, Westwoods "walk score is an underperforming 48
of 100, and the community rates 68 out of 78 neighbor-
hoods measured in Denver. At present, the city is planning
paving upgrades to streets and alleys.
Parks
The Westwood neighborhood includes only a nominal
amount of formal public open space, including Westwood
Park and the recently started Cuatro Vientos Park. Many
Westwood Park does have some recreational facilities, but not nearly
enough to meet the needs of the neighborhood.
14
An Advisory Services Panel Report


opportunities exist, however, to create a range of formal
civic and recreational spaces within the neighborhood.
Weir Gulch runs through the northwestern corner of the
neighborhood and represents a unique opportunity to add
to the functional open space within the neighborhood, as
has been done in adjacent neighborhoods. A new concrete
trail along Weir Gulch from Sheridan to Alameda is cur-
rently 95 percent complete.
Alleys
Westwood originally developed as an unincorporated
community, resulting in some physical conditions that do
not meet city standards. For example, many portions of
Westwood include alleys that are poorly lit and serve as
locations for Dumpsters, attracting "tagging (graffiti label-
ing), illegal dumping, and unsanitary conditions. Of the 113
neighborhood alleys, 92 are owned and maintained by the
city and 21 are privately owned; some alleys also include
sanitary sewer easements. The city is currently engaged in
paving all the alleys, regardless of ownership. In general,
the alleys exhibit a generally disheveled physical character,
which makes them less desirable as places to walk or bike.

Alleys in the Westwood neighborhood are in varying conditions. Some
have been paved by the city and are part of a program allowing
residents to decorate them. Others, like the one pictured, are in
disrepair and often subject to illegal dumping and graffiti.
The pattern of alleys also represents potential for providing
much-needed open space. In other communities, alleys
are paved and function not only for walking and biking but
also as a vibrant form of communal space. Programs have
been established to allow residents to decorate the alleys,
further enhancing their appearance and creating a greater
sense of communal ownership. A 2013 report by two
University of Colorado at Denver students, Ryann Anderson
and Matthew Lamendola, titled Report on Neighborhood
Alleys: Westwood, Denver, CO, provides useful information
on existing conditions and potential uses for alleys in the
Westwood neighborhood.
Walls
The external appearance and physical presence of many
buildings could be enhanced by repainting the facades or
using them as a base for public murals.
The forthcoming Cuatro Vientos
Park will add capacity to
Westwoods public recreational
opportunities.
Many walls in Westwood are
blank with few windows, making
them uninviting to walk past
but also prime canvases for
vibrant murals that reflect the
neighborhoods culture.
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
15


.x;
The cultural tradition of painting buildings with bright colors is present
on some structures in Westwood. This practice should be encouraged
as it adds to neighborhood character and enhances the pedestrian
environment.
a "Mercado Westwood should be explored. These should
be supported and additional such entities encouraged.
The Westwood neighborhood also contains a wide variety
of active automotive uses. Viable commercial enterprises
should be maintained, and encouraged to match the de-
sign standards that are starting to emerge along the length
of the Morrison Road corridor.
Several buildings in the neighborhood include colorful and
unique wall murals. These enhance the sense of identity
for both the buildings and the neighborhood. Murals can
be used to enhance any vertical surface, including fences.
They also help enhance the overall neighborhood character
and serve as an opportunity to create a unique and vibrant
identity as well as to tell stories, display history, and con-
vey relevant messages to residents and visitors.
Color and Scale
Many cultures have a tradition of painting their buildings
with vibrant and eye-catching colors. The Westwood
neighborhood has examples of this, and such practices
should be encouraged as a way of enhancing the identity
of both the individual establishment and the community as
a whole.
Along certain parts of Morrison Road, the street section
is relatively well defined with multistory buildings adjacent
to the sidewalks and across from one another, making a
clearly defined urban space. Along most of the corridor,
however, buildings are smaller and set back from the street,
often at an angle, creating a less desirable condition.
Civic and Commercial Uses
The Westwood neighborhood contains a number of formal
spaces where residents and community members can
gather for a range of social situations. The development
of both public and quasi-public civic spaces should be
encouraged throughout the neighborhood.
While the Westwood neighborhood is underserved by
neighborhood-scale commercial uses, there are several
sections along Morrison Road in which groups of viable
shops, stores, and restaurants have established them-
selves. Expanding these uses with the idea of establishing
Opportunity Sites
While the vast majority of the neighborhood is built out
with viable structures and uses, there are a number of
key sites that are ideally poised for redevelopment. These
areas are described in more detail in the Implementation
and Development Strategies section of this report.
Proposals for Healthy Design
The panels design proposals for Westwoods built envi-
ronment focus on fostering a healthy community for all
residents by:
Creating a lively, pedestrian-oriented spine along
Morrison Road, with specific recommendations for
new cultural and food- and arts-oriented destinations,
outdoor gathering areas, pedestrian promenades, and
mixed-use development;
Expanding opportunities for recreational facilities that
encourage exercise, active lifestyles, locally grown food,
and beneficial use of neighborhood alleyways; and
Identifying safe and continuous pedestrian and bicycle
connections that link schools, parks, homes, and
services.
These proposals speak to the factors that have been
shown worldwide to promote physical activity in urban
environments: a diverse mix of land uses with walkable
destinations; convenient proximity to parks, trails, and rec-
reation facilities; access to beauty and nature; and facilities
that serve both utilitarian (such as bicycle commuting) and
recreational forms of activities. In addition, the proposals
described on the pages that follow are intended to build on
positive features in the community by targeting facilities
16
An Advisory Services Panel Report


that are most critical to serving Westwoods residents.
Proposals are intended to make the best use of current
programs and initiatives to "grow from within and support
a framework for increased health and well-being.
Morrison Road Corridor: Transform from
Divider to Healthy Community Connector
Residents consistently identify Morrison Road as the
center of the community, yet the roadways high vehicular
speeds and lack of traffic controls also make it a barrier.
In addition, Morrison Roads diagonal alignment relative to
the neighborhood street grid creates awkward intersec-
tions that are unsafe and inhospitable for pedestrians.
These conditions add to Westwoods pedestrian-unfriendly
features, which include narrow or absent sidewalks, a
dearth of street trees, and large-scale commercial uses
with little relationship to the street frontage. In line with
this, Westwoods "walk score is an underperforming 48
out of 100, and the community ranks 68 out of 78 neigh-
borhoods measured in Denver.
At the same time, new and continuing uses and activities
along Morrison Road have begun to reveal potential for
improvement. These uses include new three-story apart-
ment buildings, the BuCu West mixed-use development,
murals, civic facilities, and a variety of local, authentic
cafes and bakeries. The thoroughfare also offers excellent
views southward to the foothills and northward to Denvers
downtown.
To address these deficiencies and opportunities, a variety
of physical changes should be focused along the length of
Morrison Road to transform the street from a barrier into a
dynamic and attractive pedestrian spine that encourages
movement and fosters a healthy food culture. Key objec-
tives are:
Redeveloping Morrison Road as a community spine acti-
vated with shopping, restaurants, services, businesses,
community theater, and urban housing, with comfort-
able, tree-shaded sidewalks and plazas offering art and
music venues, seating, lighting, and murals.
Illustrative diagram of
interventions in the Westwood
neighborhood proposed by the
panel.
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
17


Neighborhood gateways, like
this sign welcoming visitors
and residents to San Diegos
Hillcrest neighborhood, reflect a
sense of community identity and
accessibility.
Mid-block pedestrian crossings
with bump-outs would create
safer pedestrian crossings and
contribute to traffic calming
along Morrison Road
Reinventing Morrison Road as a "place to be rather
than continuing to let it serve as a shortcut for those
who live outside the community. To do this, traffic-calm-
ing features should be introduced along the entire cor-
ridor, with traffic controls (e.g., stops or signals) for safe
pedestrian crossings at Virginia Avenue and Exposition
Avenue and a possible additional stop at Perry Street.
Concentrating improvements on a pedestrian-friendly
core area between the intersection with Kentucky
Avenue in the south and the Virginia/Newton intersection
in the north.
Establishing community gateways into Westwood at
Alameda Avenue in the north and Mississippi Avenue in
the south using entry monuments, larger-scale plant-
ings, and color, vertical elements, and design features
that express community identity.
Prioritizing development of a central node at the inter-
section of Morrison and Exposition, with a new mercado,
grocery store, and commercial/residential mixed use.
Creating a "food hub node at the Virginia crossing and
a "recreation/wellness center node at the Kentucky
crossing.
Streetscape Design. To establish Morrison Road as a
healthy community connector, infill or new development
must be coupled with design upgrades that define the
street edge, attract pedestrians, and reinforce community
life. Key design elements include a consistent, continuous
street section that favors pedestrians instead of cars, with
features to include:
A narrower vehicular width (see graphic below).
Wider sidewalks.
Continuous lighting and planting of shade trees in tree
wells.
t
-/ / *- / s
Proposed street section design for Morrison Road.
18
An Advisory Services Panel Report


This proposal for a central node at the intersection of Morrison Road
and Exposition Avenue would take advantage of opportunities offered
by sites such as the Thriftway parcel to create a mercado and other
features.
Buildings and building entrances oriented to the street.
Use of awkward intersections to make places for art,
murals, music, and performances; this could include
some minor street closures, such as at West Custer
Place, to create small gathering areas and destinations
along the street.
Use of existing triangular intersections to create small
plazas with seating and shade trees.
ways, as shown, and may be designed to take advantage
of available properties such as the Thriftway parcel. Fea-
tures should include:
Incorporation of murals on building walls to enliven the
street and display public art.
Traffic control for safe crossings (e.g., traffic signal or
traffic stop, to prioritize pedestrian crossing);
Additional design options that may be appropriate, based
on more detailed studies and community input, include
reduced speed limits, traffic circles, chicanes, bulb-outs,
crosswalks, pavement markings, colored pavement,
commemorative brass plaques or dance steps installed on
sidewalks, and painted footprints and mileage markers.
Sidewalk upgrades are especially key; sidewalks should
be improved and in some areas even doubled in width,
and street trees should be installed to provide shade and
enhance aesthetics. These efforts will drastically improve
pedestrian and bicycle safety, as well as the perception of
safety, and will promote a healthy tradition of "promenad-
ing along Morrison Road.
Central Node and Secondary Nodes. Given the central
location, current activities, and property configurations at
the intersection of Morrison Road and Exposition Avenue,
this area should be prioritized as a "central node that initi-
ates healthy community improvements within Westwood.
The multifaceted project could be configured in various
New mercado, plaza, grocery, and homes located over re-
tail space, or possible clinic or other community services;
Street closures for major events; and
Flexible space for food and art markets, street vendors,
temporary stalls and installations, and food carts.
Other recommended Morrison Road sites at which to focus
healthy community improvements are:
These sketches propose
different urban design concepts
for the central node, each
incorporating a plaza, a
mercado, features to enhance
pedestrian safety and calm
traffic, and flexible space for art
markets, food carts, and events.
A new recreation/wellness center on approximately 5.4
acres at Morrison Road and Kentucky Avenue. This
would provide indoor and outdoor facilities (see below
for more details) and could repurpose existing buildings
on Morrison and/or include new buildings.
A new Westwood food hub, reinforcing current work by
Revision, located at Morrison Road and Virginia Avenue,
with traffic control for safe pedestrian crossings and
food-related facilities such as urban farms and gardens,
kitchens, education, and resources.
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
19


Parks and Recreational Facilities
Recreational industry standards typically require a
minimum of ten acres of neighborhood and community
park space per 1,000 residents within a community. Given
Westwoods population of approximately 15,500 residents,
this would mean 155 acres of parkland. Also, the city aims
to provide park space within a half mile of all residents.
Westwoods existing park facilities fall far short of achiev-
ing this standard. At present, most residents are not within
walking distance of active recreation facilities and there
are only 18 acres of parkland within the community, yield-
ing a ratio of 1.2 acres per 1,000 residents. Even with the
addition of open areas located within utility easements,
the ratio of park space to residents is only 1.6 acres per
1,000 residents, as shown below. This contrasts sharply
with conditions within many Denver neighborhoods, where
park space is available at a ratio of about ten to 15 acres
per 1,000 residents. The lack of pedestrian crossings
along Morrison Road and Mississippi Avenue further limits
access to Westwood Park or Garfield Park to the south.
Additional recreational facilities are located at Westwoods
four schools (Knapp Elementary, Castro Elementary,
Monroe Elementary, and Kepner Middle School), at the
Southwest Improvement Council (SWIC) Community Cen-
Park and Open Space Acreage
Park/open space Approximate size (acres) Acres per 1,000 residents
Westwood Park 5.1
Knox Court Park 0.3
New Park (Alameda/Newton) 1.5
Weir Gulch 11.1
Subtotal 18.0
Utility easements 6.2
Total parks + gulch + easement 24.2 1.6
The map of Westwood on the
left shows existing parks and
recreational spaces in green.
The map on the right shows how
far the neighborhood is from
meeting the city of Denvers
standard often acres of park
space per 1,000 residents. The
green sguare represents all
of Westwoods park acreage
consolidated, with the larger
dashed sguare representing the
park area needed to meet the
municipal standard.
ter, and at the Boys & Girls Club. These facilities are well
used and fully subscribed for their respective purposes;
in addition, SWICs limited range of services and hours
(8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during weekdays) makes it inaccessible
to many residents, especially schoolchildren. Weir Gulch
provides recently built trails that offer connections within
the community and to the Platt River to the northeast.
Outside the community, the nearest park facilities include
Garfield Lake Park to the south, Huston Lake Park to
the east, and Barnum Park and Recreation Center to the
north. Access to these off-site recreational sites, however,
requires crossing of the major arterials that define the
boundaries of the Westwood community.
These factors point to a severe insufficiency of recreational
facilities within Westwood. Children are especially vulner-
able to problems associated with the lack of adequate
park space, including unsafe conditions that discourage
active play, walking, and healthy activities; these problems
underlie the communitys high rates of crime, obesity, and
other health issues. The situation calls for both increased
amounts of recreational facilities and better use of existing
resources, both physical and programmatic, proposals for
which are described later in this report.
Interviews with the citys parks and recreation department
revealed that it is aware of the relative lack of recreational
facilities within Westwood and is interested in identifying
possible acquisitions for additional parks. This awareness
led to the development of the new park at Alameda and
Newton, which is slated to begin construction in Septem-
ber 2013 after considerable input from residents. In ad-
dition, while cost-cutting measures are currently resulting
in a trend toward larger recreation centers that are farther
away, the city may also be studying opportunities for an
additional recreation center on the west side of Denver.
20
An Advisory Services Panel Report


The panel proposes expansions of and upgrades to Westwood Park,
including lighting to improve safety, more space, and eguipment and
programming specifically designed to increase fitness levels.
To augment the existing park facilities in Westwood, this
study proposes to:
Add park acreage by making the best use of vacant and
underused parcels as they become available;
Look for opportunities to expand existing parks and open
corridors; and
Focus on facilities that are likely to be well used by
residents, including continuous trails, futsal (a variant of
association football that is played on a smaller pitch and
mainly played indoors), multipurpose or soccer fields,
and a recreation/wellness center that supports indoor
and outdoor uses.
Park and recreational facilities are proposed as follows.
Additional measures for Morrison Road are discussed
separately on previous pages.
Westwood Park Expansion and Improvements
Westwood Park will benefit from expansion and upgrades
to make it safer, more visible, and better used. This
process should incorporate input from the entire West-
wood community and could be spearheaded by LiveWell
Westwood or Westwood Unidos in coordination with the
city. The focus of this process should be to accomplish:
Increased frontage along Kentucky to improve safety
and visibility;
Improvements to lighting for safety and evening use
(lighting to be designed to not affect neighbors);
Improvements to trails for surfacing suited to skating;
Recreation/Wellness Center and Community Park
As described above, this study proposes a new recreation/
wellness center and adjacent active open space at Mor-
rison and Kentucky. This 5.4-acre site is located approxi-
mately halfway between Barnum Recreation Center to the
north and Harvey Park Recreation Center to the south,
making it an appropriate location for the city to construct
a new facility on the west side of Denver. In addition, the
existing mobile-home park along Kentucky Avenue is
proposed for conversion to active community recreational
space. The facility could include:
Indoor recreational space to support popular activities
such as futsal/indoor soccer, dance/Zumba, basketball,
and weight training. This indoor space could be created
through the conversion of existing structures and/or new
buildings.
Outdoor facilities such as multipurpose fields, play-
ground/splash pad, parking, trails, fitness equipment,
and seating. The use of artificial turf is recommended to
support high levels of active use throughout the year.
Additional trails;
Increased acreage and upgrades to playgrounds, fields,
seating, and other features; and
Incorporation of "fitness zone equipment for outdoor
cardiovascular exercise, sited within view of childrens
play areas.
The panels proposed layout
for a new recreation/wellness
center at the intersection of
Morrison and Kentucky includes
space that can be programmed
flexibly.
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
21


Classrooms for tutoring, education, and meetings.
Kitchens for nutrition/healthy eating education and
events.
Drop-in clinic for family health care including eye care,
dental care, and other key issues as identified by com-
munity caregivers and school principals.
Trail and greenway linkages connecting to Morrison
Road, Westwood Park, and destinations to the east.
Weir Gulch
As part of its Flood Hazard Area delineation to be prepared
this coming year as part of the Drainage Master Plan, the
city anticipates the need for additional acreage along Weir
Gulch. To provide expanded park space within Westwood,
the panelists recommend that future improvements to
urban drainage infrastructure be considered as part of the
overall park system, including the following steps:
Acquisition of acreage along the corridor to allow Weir
Gulch to become a "linear park instead of a steep and
narrow corridor;
Addition of activities along the park including play-
grounds/tot lots, "fitness zone equipment, seating,
picnic shelters, and other features;
Lighting to increase safety and usability; and
Conversion of the drainage facility from a concrete chan-
nel, which attracts tagging and littering, into an earthen
drainage with habitat enhancement and planting, similar
to that seen in the Lakewood/Dry Gulch area.
Urban Agriculture
The community benefits of urban agriculture are numer-
ous. Beyond the obvious encouragement of healthy eating,
community or "civic agriculture has other benefits,
including:
Enhanced civic engagement through cooperative agri-
cultural labor;
Enhanced community pride;
Augmented income through the sale of produce and
reduced grocery bills;
Improvements should be made
to Weir Gulch to allow it to
become a linear park with
opportunities for fitness activities
and other programming.
22
An Advisory Services Panel Report


Beautified vacant parcels of land; and
Economic development promoted through the marketing
and sale of raw, semiprocessed, and processed food
products, as well as the marketing of local food events
and festivals.
Revision, a local nonprofit group based on Morrison Road
in Westwood, provides material and instructional support
for families and organizations interested in growing food.
At present, Revision has 203 backyard gardens in south-
west Denver neighborhoods, with the heaviest concentra-
tion (approximately 90 gardens) in Westwood, and reports
a waiting list of about 50 more families. The majority of
homegrown food is consumed by the family and shared
with friends, neighbors, and relatives. Revisions co-op,
currently under development, will be aggregating some of
the surplus this year and selling it on behalf of the families.
Revision reports that Westwoods Hispanic families tend
to prefer maintaining gardens in their own backyards
rather than as collective community gardens. However,
Revision also operates two urban farms within Westwood,
including a 0.75-acre farm at Kepner Middle School that
is transitioning to an educational farm for the school and
surrounding neighborhood. A second farm focused on food
production is used by 40 Somali Bantu refugee families
who retain about 25 percent of the produce; the rest will
be sold through Revisions co-op. To be viable, additional
urban farms require at least an acre of vacant land.
Encouraging and expanding these activities supports the
vision of a healthy community as well as other commu-
nity goalsnotably, establishing a vibrant neighborhood
identity and "brand identity for ethnic food. A robust
promotion of and support for urban agricultural could
include the following:
Expanding the backyard gardening program to include
support of all interested residents;
Coordinating Revisions programs with other groups and
resources to enhance outreach, funding, and common
marketing and distribution efforts;
Enhancing farm-to-table activities with neighborhood
schools, especially those that engage students in food
growing;
Supporting the development of community-supported
agriculture (CSA);
Creating additional urban farms where sites of one acre
or more can be found;
Developing a "Westwood food hub in a central location
to provide a consolidation of resources, training, distri-
bution, and information exchange for both neighborhood
and nearby food producers;
Developing a community kitchen for the cooking and
processing of locally grown foods, such as canning and
preparation of jellies, salsas, and meals; and
Establishing a regular farmers market in a central loca-
tion (either at Virginia Avenue or at a new central mer-
cado at Exposition Avenue) for the sale of homegrown
produce and prepared goods, exchange of information,
and celebration of Westwoods food culture.
Substantial organizational resources are already engaged
in Westwood promoting urban agriculture; these organiza-
tions should be supported and enhanced with additional
nonprofit funding sources, and urban agriculture should be
incorporated into neighborhood-wide efforts focused on
both personal health and economic development.
Connectivity and Destinations
Connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists is critical to
achieving healthy communities through increased mobility,
access to recreational and civic destinations, relief of
stress, and enhanced social interaction. Connections serve
two basic purposes: utilitarian activities such as shop-
ping and commuting to work or school, and recreational
activities such as athletics and sports, childrens play,
and family strolls and promenades. Both utilitarian and
recreational activities benefit from common elements of
mixed use, walkability and bikability, discouragement of
driving, accommodation of different population groups,
and proximity. Recreational activities also benefit strongly
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
23


from access to nature and beauty, while utilitarian activi-
ties require a strong framework of street connections and
adequate urban densities.
To strengthen these elements at Westwood, the panel
proposes the following elements.
Continuous Green Connections. Mobility through
Westwood is currently impeded by a lack of safe roadway
crossings, the limited amount of parkland, insufficient
lighting, narrow sidewalks, high vehicular speeds, and
insufficient traffic-calming.
A series of neighborhood-wide loops linking parks, retail,
and civic and school destinations can improve this situ-
ation and encourage healthy modes of travel by foot and
bicycle. These links will focus on Morrison Road, Virginia
Avenue, Knox Court, Wolff Street, and the east-west utility
corridor as the primary loop, with associated upgrades to
streets, bikeways, parks, and sidewalks as follows:
Morrison Road should be redesigned as a pedestrian-
friendly corridor with wide, shaded sidewalks and
traffic-calming.
Virginia Avenue and Knox Court should serve as "bicycle
boulevards, with bicycles sharing the roadway and
appropriate improvements for traffic-calming, street
tree planting, sidewalks, signage, and lighting. Knox
Court has already been identified as a bicycle boulevard
providing a route from Westwood to the light-rail station
located in Barnum to the north. While the design of this
route is currently under study, the panelists recommend
that it include traffic-calming that places a priority on
bicyclists and pedestrians; this may include bicycles
sharing the vehicular path in a "sharrow. This will allow
Knox Court to fill a critical role as a north-south bicycle
and pedestrian corridor linking schools, transit, and
community services located at SWIC, the Boys & Girls
Club, and Kepner Middle School.
Weir Gulch and Westwood Park as well as Wolff Street
should be expanded and improved to provide additional
linkages that integrate them into the overall open space
framework.
The areas within the east-west transmission line utility
easement can provide locations for active uses that pro-
mote physical health. For example, the half-acre parcels
between Kentucky Avenue and Mississippi Avenue (near
Perry Street) could accommodate a series of tot lots,
community gardens, or public art installations connected
by a continuous trail linking from the new recreation/
wellness center along Morrison Road and the Kepner
Middle School to the east.
Additional north-south and east-west neighborhood
streets should be prioritized for streetscape improve-
ments, including street tree planting and sidewalk
repair; these include Exposition Avenue, Stuart Street,
Perry Street, and Irving Street.
Streetscape improvements to the arterial roadways that
border Westwood (Sheridan, Alameda, Federal, and
Mississippi), including consistent street tree planting
and narrowed vehicular lanes, will raise the image of
the community, bring these corridors up to the standard
of other major Denver boulevards, and encourage
pedestrian movement to destinations such as shopping
facilities or the new city park at Newton Street.
Alley Upgrades. In addition to providing informal circula-
tion routes, Westwoods many backyard alleys offer
potential for active recreation in proximity to family living
spaces. Given that the parks and recreational projects
described above are concentrated in the western areas,
the panel proposes that an alley improvement pilot project
be initiated within the eastern portion of the Westwood
community. This project could then be extended to other
portions of the community. Recommended improvements
and interventions include the following:
The conversion from Dumpster-based trash pickup to
automated barrel pickup should be expedited, allowing
alleys to be free of Dumpsters and associated dumping,
tagging, and fire-setting. This could be implemented on
a per-truck basis covering approximately 2,500 to 3,000
homes and costing $300,000 for conversion of track
collection method. Dumpsters could be consolidated for
efficient pickup routes.
24
An Advisory Services Panel Report


Westwoods successful alley improvement program should be
expanded upon to include conversion of Dumpster-based trash
pickup to automated barrel pickup.

M
The communitys growing mural/art program should be
built upon by painting fences and creating ground-level
art and games such as hopscotch, four square, and
mini-dodgeball.
Circulator Shuttle. Denvers light-rail system provides
excellent access to work, educational, and other destina-
tions within the urban area. However, the nearest station to
Westwood is located in Barnum to the north, approximate-
ly 3.2 miles from the intersection of Mississippi Avenue
and Morrison Road. This distance is too far for residents
to walk or bicycle. Combined with the lack of bus service
within Westwood, this situation limits residents access to
I public transit.
Iu.7 -
The paving projects that are underway should be
completed.
The active use of alleys should be encouraged through
signage, cleanup programs, and basic landscape and
planting upgrades.
Where alleys are not required for private garage access,
the installation of bollards should be considered to re-
strict vehicles and create safe places for kids to play and
circulate. Bollards could be removed for utility access
when required.
| To address this problem, a nine-mile "circulator shuttle
65 system should be initiated to loop between Westwood
and the Barnum light-rail station. From the station, the
circulator would head south on Perry Street and follow the
route described in the righthand graphic below to serve
civic facilities within Westwood as well the proposed new
central node and Morrison Road; it would then return to
the light-rail station via Morrison Road and Knox Court.
The map on the left shows
the walking route from the
intersection of Mississippi and
Morrison. The light rail is 3.2
miles away. The panel proposes
implementing a circulator shuttle
system with the nine-mile route
outlined on the right serving
many major points, including the
light rail.
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
25


Implementation and
Development Strategies
A key theme that emerged from the
stakeholder interviews was: Weve done the
planning; now we need to follow through!
ALL OF THE CITIZENS LIVING IN WESTWOOD and
the organizations that work there agree that the neighbor-
hood and, more specifically, Morrison Road need help to
become a walkable place where families feel comfortable
and safe living. All stakeholdersincluding the neighbor-
hood, the city of Denver, and local institutionsmust be
involved in the process in order to ensure success. The
panel has recommended a series of opportunity sites that
could serve as catalysts for revitalization, and provided
specific details of both policy and physical interventions.
A Main Street for the Community
Sidewalk features such as dance
steps and colored pavement
will add to the Main Street
character of Morrison Road.
If Westwood is to be successful, and local residents
healthier, then Morrison Road must be truly transformed.
It needs to be designed for people, not cars, so that it
can act as a vibrant "main street to serve the needs of
neighborhood residents and businesses. As a key public
asset, the street would have a wholly different look, feel,
and purpose than that which exist today. Through a variety
of physical improvements to reduce speeds, lower accident
rates and severity, and diminish commuter traffic, the
improved street will elevate the pedestrian experience and
raise the potential for community health and well-being.
While such changes may result in some diversion of cur-
rent pass-through traffic to other commuter arterials, this
is a major must-do item.
Another important action will be to change the name
of Morrison Road to Avenida Cesar Chavez. This name
change will highlight the importance of the Latino com-
munity and it is consistent with other strategies suggested
by the panel outlined later in this document, specifically
the creation of a Latino cultural district.
The city has made substantial investments to develop in-
novative plans to improve health and mobility such as Den-
ver Moves and the LiveWell Colorado partnership. Studies
conducted since the mid-1980s have shown the need
for transportation improvements to support pedestrians
and promote new business. For the Westwood area, the
Morrison Road Improvement Plan made recommendations
to add bicycle lanes as well as medians and crosswalks at
selected locations, and these changes have been partially
implemented. Ironically, these improvements may have ac-
tually made it easier for Morrison Road to continue to serve
as a significant commuter corridor, frustrating the goals
for improved walkability and connections. Now, mothers
and children must stressfully race across the street and
risk injury daily. A redesigned street would prioritize people
and culture over cars, and cars would not move as quickly.
What is actually needed is "healthy congestion for this
street to serve its highest and best purpose.
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Creating a Latino cultural district along Morrison Road would enhance
Westwoods identity and make it a destination for people across the
region.
To address this challenge, a variety of physical changes
should be focused along the length of the street between
the intersection at Kentucky in the south and the intersec-
tion at the West Virginia and Newton in the north. With use
of community input, many techniques such as reduced
speed limits, new signals, traffic circles, chicanes, bulb-
outs, crosswalks, pavement markings, and others should
be considered, designed, and built. Sidewalks should
be improved and in some areas even doubled in width,
and street trees should be installed to provide shade and
enhance aesthetics. Techniques like colored pavement to
give intersections, medians, or other areas a distinct color
and/or pattern; commemorative brass plaques or dance
steps installed on sidewalks; or painted footprints and
mileage markers will heighten interest in the area. These
efforts will result in dramatically improved pedestrian and
bicycle safety, safe walking routes for students, and the
perception of safety, and will promote a healthy walking
lifestyle.
Cars will still be able to enter and exit the neighbor-
hood, but it will be more tempting to park, walk, and
shop, and to experience the unique neighborhood vitality
of Westwood. In addition to on-street parking, two or
three central car parking lots could be developed at key
locations in advance of or as a part of new development,
especially at the current locations of incompatible busi-
nesses. The new avenida would be a preferred location
for informal gatherings and evening strolls, and could
be enlivened by "pop-up businesses or planned street
closings for events.
Westwood residents and businesses also would benefit
from transit services, but those have been curtailed or
eliminated in recent years. Some bus stops that exist
along arterials like Sheridan lack amenities such as seats,
weather protection, and transit information. If bus stops
are made a friendly and comfortable environment, they can
become mini-hubs of community activity by allowing street
vendors to sell, drawing in people and potentially boosting
ridership. Operational strategies such as street closures
should also be considered and implemented to start im-
mediately using existing facilities to create a better sense
of place. While allowing for local vehicle access, street
closures could be rotated and would encourage walking
and visiting among neighbors.
Latino Culture District
Westwood has unique and valuable assetslocal culture,
great food, and an engaged community wanting to improve
the quality of life. Creating a Latino culture district in
Westwood will maintain and enhance the cultural fabric
while helping local businesses grow and thrive. A district
designation would attract new visitors and new businesses
and could help transform Westwood into a destination for
vibrant arts, great shopping, and delicious food.
Techniques such as street signage that reflects the design
character and Latino culture would likely be helpful, and
the district could lead a branding study that could help fur-
ther enhance and showcase Westwoods identity. Leaders
can get guidance from the city and perhaps communicate
with an existing district that could advise on specific "les-
sons learned. Another idea is to develop "sister neighbor-
hood relationships with other Denver neighborhoods to
promote Westwood as a destination and increase its sense
of inclusion into the Greater Denver region.
Farmers markets are a common feature of such districts
and could allow Westwood residents to sell healthful food
grown in their gardens. The district will also highlight an
existing feature of the Westwood communitylospatte-
rnsto thrive in the district with improved rules for better
business for small-scale vendors. Culture, food, and arts
districts drive business and visitors and increase vibrancy
and identity with events such as streetfairs and festivals.
A community development corporation (CDC) to serve as
a community coordinator for "soft implementation items
will help to coordinate programs and ensure that priorities
are met.
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
27


Murals on storefronts and walls
add character and vibrancy to a
neighborhood main street.
Vibrant Color and Images:
Murals and Signs
Unlike thoroughfares in other Denver neighborhoods,
Westwoods Morrison Road does not currently have
chain-type businesses. Instead, small, individually owned
panaderias, carnecerfas, mom-and-pop stores, local
restaurants, and one-of-a-kind businesses exist today, and
more could easily fit in. Signage and wayfinding are key to
success for these local businesses, and the use of color
and images is especially important. In many cases, the
owners of these businesses pay a sign painter to make a
distinctive sign. With the forgoing of more expensive and
resource-intensive materials such as illuminated plastic,
neon, or metal, the medium of choice on Morrison is most
often paint, which helps the business owners to express
themselves inexpensively. These signs also contribute to
community identity and color.
In Mexico, murals and graphics are an important commu-
nication tool historically used to educate and lend a strong
visual element to the urban form. These strong visual
elements become community wayfinding mechanisms.
The murals and signage can be of a political, religious, or
commercial nature, but they always add a certain kinetic,
do-it-yourself type of energy to the place. The panelists
encourage the continued use of murals and store signs
along Morrison Road to liven up a built environment,
especially on blank walls and tall fences. To welcome pe-
destrians from the adjacent residential streets, any blank
walls on commercial buildings should be painted. The odd-
shaped angles that intersect with Morrison are an asset
in that they provide interesting perspectives from which to
enjoy the artwork.
More murals that reflect and depict the culture, history,
and vision of Westwood and Latino culture should be
painted and maintained through collaborations with local
businesses, community members, youth, and professional
artists. The mural design process can serve as a tool for
community engagement, blight remediation, neighborhood
beautification, and demonstration of civic pride.
Land Use, Zoning, and Permitting:
Its All about Context
Denver has undertaken a number of planning, zoning, and
regulatory efforts over many years, and a number of plans
have addressed Westwood specifically.
While specific recommendations have been implemented
in other Denver neighborhoods, there has not been consis-
tent and complete follow-through in Westwood:
28
An Advisory Services Panel Report


Change zoning to Main Street (MS) instead of Urban
Edge Mixed Use Three-Story Maximum (E-MX 3):
Kentucky to West Virginia
Review allowed uses to ensure mercado and arts
district types
Disallow drive-through uses
Increase height limits as incentive
Review building form standards to allow for varying style
to reflect Latino-style facades, etc.
Review sign code to liberalize standards and allow for
mural-type business signage
Review parking standards, cap or low minimum
Complete zoning process where left over from 2010
Review zoning for Capitol City Mobile Elome Park (now
Urban Edge-Two-Unit [E-TU-C])
Review zoning code to
Encourage small-scale agriculture and food produc-
tion
Allow small-size "apodments or microhousing if
market demand is demonstrated
Create infill/affordable dwelling units, especially
those that would face alleyways
Confirm fence height and transparency requirements
Consistency finding for comprehensive plan and intent
statements in permitting decisions
City-initiated General Development Plan (GDP)
Allows for master site planning and tailored develop-
ment standards
Requires community involvement and is adopted
administratively
Finds private or nonprofit developer partner(s) for
acquisition, site design, and building
Incorporates easier rules for "pioneer develop-
ments, allowances for catalyst projects
Reduce incompatible uses and associated impacts
Create strategy for legacy noncompatible businesses
(larger open-air car repair and junk) that includes reloca-
tion and collocation
Contains strategy for nightclubs to include local music
and become neighborhood assets instead of liabilities.
For city plans, policies, and regulations to be fully imple-
mented, designating a lead department to coordinate
efforts is needed. The police, parks, planning, and public
works departments have each made diligent efforts to
engage residents and businesses in city projects, but the
panel found that the number of respondents was modest
and information was not always shared. This can lead
to uncertainty and inconsistency, and will not help lead
to positive outcomes. Also, the panel heard that internal
decision-making structures and less finger-pointing are
neededespecially between the public works and plan-
ning departmentsso that limited resources and time are
used efficiently and effectively.
Communication and Enforcement:
Safety, Trash, and Graffiti
The panel heard of the need for improved communication
mechanisms between neighborhood residents and city
staff and police. Interactions often involve agency response
to crime and graffitia priority for everyone. As a key
element for a healthy neighborhood, the city of Denver
should continue and expand its response to "tagging by
improving coordination among the police, public works,
and parks departments to identify and rapidly remove new
tags. Spots subjected to repeated tagging could even be
considered for new murals painted by local artists.
There are also a number of mechanisms that can be used
to improve the sense of safety in Westwood, such as
community policing with patrol officers on foot or bicycle
instead of in vehicles, identifying key locations to improve
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
29


street lighting, and neighborhood block watches. Walkers
and runners are discouraged and deterred by stray or
barking dogs, and sometimes there is no better option
than to focus on prompt, fair, and meaningful enforcement
to see real change.
As in other areas in Denver, solid waste in Westwood is
collected by several methods, including the use of alley
Dumpsters, which invite illegal dumping and are often a
fire hazard. While real progress can be seen in the pilot ar-
eas where modern purple and black plastic bin-type trash
and recycling containers are used, the ongoing use of
Dumpsters creates and exacerbates a negative perception
among residents and visitors. While this situation exists
in a number of Denver neighborhoods, it makes sense to
designate Westwood as a priority area for full deployment
of bin-type trash containers.
Residents want more aggressive action against code
violations, and such steps would have direct and indirect
health and wellness benefits for residents and businesses
alike. For example, unhealthful conditions have persisted
in the trailer parks along Morrison Road and should be
addressed to improve safety for residents and neighbors.
Such efforts may also encourage earlier conversion of sites
and buildings that are well past their useful life.
There may be code compliance issues and operational im-
pacts for some current auto repair businesses and night-
clubs along Morrison. A proactive effort to address noise
and traffic impacts will help improve residents health and
the perception of safety for the neighborhood. If Westwood
is to serve the needs of families and be a healthy place
in which to raise children, the impacts associated with
temporary occupants must be addressed, perhaps through
a partnership between municipal agencies and a business
improvement district (BID).
Other issues of importance:
Dedicated funding for parks and open space (citywide
issue)
A return-on-investment study to show how costs pay for
themselves
Health impact assessment in city policy decisions and
capital programs
Microlending to encourage business expansion and
recruitment (e.g., a small restaurant)
Opportunity Sites
A successful redevelopment plan for Westwood will require
a disciplined community focus and investment strategy.
While there are competing community aspirations and
needs, it will be critical to deploy initial investmentsin-
cluding public, nonprofit, and privatein a targeted and
strategic manner. These investments should be focused
within the "core area of the Morrison Road corridor, build-
ing on recent development investments there.
This core area is identified as Morrison Road from the
intersection of Kentucky Avenue at the southwest end to
West Virginia Avenue at the northeast end. This repre-
sents a distance of just under one mile. Recent mixed-use
investments are optimally positioned at the midpoint of the
corridor. Kentucky and West Virginia avenues represent
logical and definable "book ends to the corridor plan.
This strategy is based on two principles: First, that com-
munity redevelopment should start at the neighborhoods
already recognized core, where investment will contribute
to a community-wide place-making strategy and com-
munity identity; and second, that it is critical that each
stage of investment occur in a manner that will encourage
subsequent phases. To summarize, the way to rebuild
the Westwood neighborhood and the corridor is from the
"epicenter outward.
To this end, four opportunity areas have been identified
and prioritized. Two of these sites should be programmed
for redevelopment; the other two should be programmed
for park space.
Area No. 1: Core Area
The first and most critical of these four opportunity areas
is the Thriftway site. While complex ownership and envi-
ronmental considerations complicate its redevelopment,
30
An Advisory Services Panel Report


1
--------.
* r <&-
"
this should be the number-one redevelopment priority, and
the site should be programmed for public commercial and
community uses. This is among the most visible sites in
the corridor, and the successful redevelopment of this site
for community-serving uses will serve as a first marker of
success in building community resources.
Integral to this acquisition is the two mobile-home parks,
under common ownership, that flank Morrison Road
between the intersections of West Ohio and West Walsh
Place. In several prior studies, these parks were identified
as critical to revitalizing the corridor. These properties also
have complex redevelopment constraints, primarily due
to their tenant population, which is legally and financially
vulnerable. Nevertheless, these sites represent significant
blight and substandard living conditions at a highly visible
and strategically valuable location. That this land use
has been allowed to remain is a reflection of immobilized
municipal code compliance enforcement, due in part to
sensitivity to the vulnerable residents.
It is time for the city and other agencies to intervene in a
proactive effort to relocate the tenants and decommission
the mobile-home parks. Finally, the car-wash site should
be included to give this core area critical mass.
While the undertaking would
be complex, the Thriftway site
should be redeveloped for
commercial and community
uses.
opportunity to augment the park and open space assets of
the neighborhood. In addition, this acquisition is critical in
linking current neighborhood open space into a coherent
and functional linear pattern, both to the east paralleling
West Kentucky Avenue and to the existing Westwood Park,
just west of this site. Finally, by virtue of its size, this site
could accommodate a community recreation and wellness
center with adjacent outdoor recreation space.
Area No. 3: Additions to Westwood Park
The current Westwood Park suffers from an irregular
configuration and limited visibility. It has only 120 feet
of frontage on the north side of West Kentucky Avenue.
Modest acquisition and enhancement investments could
leverage this existing asset into a more functional park.
Specifically, the recommendation is, at a minimum, to
acquire the property immediately to the east of the parks
frontage, which alone would double the frontage, together
Area No. 2: New Neighborhood Park
A second opportunity area is the mobile-home park at
Kentucky Avenue, just east of the intersection with Mor-
rison. This site, while just off Morrison Road, effectively
anchors the south end of the corridor; it is a large site,
measuring nearly four acres. By virtue of its location, size,
and rectilinear configuration, this site represents an ideal
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
31


with the property to the west, which would bring the
total frontage to about 300 feet. A more robust acquisi-
tion plan would include three additional properties to the
west, which would add a total of 370 feet of south-facing
frontage and provide many options for a comprehensive
redesign of the park.
While acquisition of these sites is critical to the future
success of the park, and has long-term neighborhood
value, this program should not require demolition of the
homes themselves. It is believed that vacant lots could be
found nearby to which these homes could be moved, if the
owners so chose.
In summary, the recommendation for land acquisition
encompasses a little over ten acres of land, with about 5.5
acres for development of a public plaza as well as com-
mercial and residential space, and five acres for additional
park space.
Resources to Be Used
While the Westwood neighborhood is resource-deprived,
the larger urban region is not. It is clear that Denver is
blessed with a broad array of public, nonprofit, and private
funding sources. Several of these organizations have al-
ready shown substantial interest in investing in Westwood
for a variety of purposes. There needs to be a coherent
alignment of these organizations and to the opportunity
sites discussed above. Second, an implementation plan
that allows for these organizations to effectively collaborate
and coordinate investments is needed. Specifically:
A collaboration of all relevant city agencies and other
entities must address a reasonable and humane reloca-
tion plan for the three mobile-home sites.
Public/private partnerships with both private and
nonprofit developers should be explored for the re-
development of mixed use and housing in the core area,
including some or all of the mobile-home sites.
Other nonprofit organizations should be identified to
assist with the acquisition of land for the central plaza,
the large park on West Kentucky, and the enlargement
of Westwood Park.
There is a clear role for the Denver Urban Renewal
Authority, which has indicated both interest in and a
capacity for assisting local redevelopment efforts. While
tax increment financing may have limited financial
benefits, especially in the short term, it needs to be
considered in the overall and longer-term development
program.
The neighborhood should establish a Morrison Road
business improvement district. This BID should be
intended ultimately to run the full length of the corridor
from the intersection of West Mississippi and Sheridan
Avenue at its southeast terminus to West Alameda at its
northeast terminus. The BID could have a central func-
tion of operating the public improvements recommended
for the Thriftway site.
Other financial resources include the Denver Founda-
tion and the Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund; they
should be approached and brought into the resource mix
for both capital and noncapital programs.
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An Advisory Services Panel Report


Programming
DESPITE ITS MANY CHALLENGES, Westwood does
have a number of strengths and resources that can be bet-
ter harnessed and used to promote physical activity and
healthy eating. Programs and events can provide powerful
activities that produce several cobenefits in addition to
physical health, including community-building, improv-
ing safety, and economic development. There are many
possible types of events and programs that could benefit
Westwood, and the biggest challenge will be to prioritize
and determine which ones have the best potential for
success.
The panel recommends that the community identify funds
to create a position of "community coordinator who can
oversee the planning, organizing, and fundraising for
programming and events. There are many existing arts,
culture, and health initiatives already in Denver, and this
coordinator can work with them to develop partnerships or
collaborations to bring programs and activities into West-
wood. Also, with so many youth living in the community,
there is tremendous potential to identify, train, and mentor
youth leaders who can act as neighborhood "champions.
These champions can advocate for health, wellness, and
overall community improvement.
By focusing on active living and healthy eating, West-
wood will join a broader movement across Colorado and
throughout the nation. The places where we live, work,
learn, and play all affect our health. If the environment
is characterized by crime, stray dogs, narrow or broken
sidewalks, or a lack of trees and nice scenery, people will
not feel safe or comfortable walking in the neighborhood.
When there are no markets nearby that sell fresh and af-
fordable fruits and vegetables, it will be difficult to eat well.
By improving opportunities for active living and healthy
eating, the community can begin remedying the health
disparities among Westwoods population.
Programs that promote opportunities for walking, biking, Access to healthy food, whether
at a farmers market, produce
and playing, and that enable access to healthy food, marketi or traditional grocery
will benefit Westwood in many ways. Peoples individual storeis critical t0 ensurin9 a
communitys overall wellness
health ultimately affects a communitys overall vitality and level.
well-being. Physical activity can reduce stress and prevent
diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Children who
are physically active do better in school and have fewer
behavioral problems. Opportunities to play sports and to
play together can foster positive social behavior and give
youth alternatives to joining gangs and other problematic
activities. When more people and kids are out walking and
playing in the neighborhood, the environment feels safer
and more vibrant, and will become less attractive to graf-
fiti, vandalism, and criminal activity.
Having access to healthy food is as important as physical
activity in promoting overall health and well-being. Pro-
grams and activities such as community gardens, farmers
markets, and cooking classes will not only help people eat
more healthily, but also foster civic engagement, social in-
teraction, self-reliance, and community pride. Being able to
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
33


buy fresh, healthy, and affordable food is a matter of social
justice. In the absence of a local market, programs and
events can enable residents to either grow or purchase
produce in the community.
Schools
As mentioned previously, children and adolescents need to
be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day. Kids
can achieve a significant amount of this recommended
time during the school day. Recess, physical education
(P.E.) classes, and walking or biking to and from school
all have the potential to get kids moving. Schools can also
provide a significant portion of a childs daily recom-
mended nutrition.
The panel recognizes that schools in Westwood are doing
the best they can. Some schools have been able to hire
new P.E. instructors, hold dance classes and jogging
clubs, install fruit/salad bars, and put in gardens. But like
many schools across the nation, Westwoods schools face
a number of challenges making it difficult for students
overall to be active and eat well. For example, although
school lunches might be healthy, they are not culturally
responsive, leading many children to throw them away. Or
parents bring fast food and sodas to their children during
the school day. Also, community gardens have suffered
from vandalism and a lack of irrigation.
In general, Westwoods schools are functioning over ca-
pacity and lack the time, resources, and support required
to ensure that all students are sufficiently active or eating
healthily.
Recommendations to Increase Active Living and
Healthy Eating in Schools
Playworks. Playworks is a nonprofit program that brings
trained activity leaders into underresourced schools to
teach kids how to play; to develop team, leadership, and
other social skills; and to grow physically and emotionally.
Instant Recess. This is a simple and quick way to bring
physical activity into the classroom, and it is also appropriate
for other settings (e.g., workplaces, professional meetings,
religious institutions). Instant recess provides a ten-minute,
structured, fun, and low-impact way to get kids or adults
moving and can be easily integrated into class time.
Joint (Shared) Use of Schools. Agreements can be
developed whereby schools open their grounds after hours
for community use.
Active transportation to and
from school in the form of bike
trains will raise activity levels
of children, and teach them
about bicycle safety in a safe
environment.
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An Advisory Services Panel Report


Active Transportation to School. School staff and
parents can work together to start "walking school bus
or bike train programs to promote active transportation
to school. This will not require a lot of money, but will
require dedicated staff and parent volunteers who can
lead children from home to school via foot or bicycle. This
can be part of a more overarching program that teaches
children pedestrian and biking safety skills with a tie-in
with healthy, active living.
Family Education Classes. These classes teach
childrearing skills to new parents during the first few criti-
cal years of a childs physical and mental development.
These could take place in an existing community center, or
become part of a new community recreation and wellness
center.
Coordinated Approach To Child Health (CATCH). This
is a coordinated school health program that builds an alli-
ance of parents, teachers, child nutrition personnel, school
staff, and community partners to teach children and their
families how to be healthy for a lifetime.
Coordinated School Health Program. This model
promotes youth well-being through eight interactive com-
ponents covering nutrition services, health services, health
education, physical education, staff wellness, counseling
and social services, and family and community involve-
ment. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease
Control and Preventions Coordinated School Health
Program.
Healthy Schools Program. This program sets stan-
dards for schools, helps them meet those standards,
and recognizes and rewards those schools that meet the
standards. The program provides individual consultation to
schools and school districts to support their efforts to meet
goals of the program. It also provides tools and materials
on good nutrition, appropriate physical activity for children,
and staff wellness. While any school is eligible to apply for
the recognition program, the program places special em-
phasis on reaching schools that have limited resources and
serve students of disadvantaged socioeconomic status.
Leveraging Existing Facilities and
Programs
Healthy school lunches are an
important part of any program
promoting wellness in a
community.
Westwood youth are in dire need of things to do to keep
them busy, active, and out of trouble. A community-wide
partnership with local nonprofit groups, churches, busi-
nesses, and existing youth-serving organizations can help
stretch limited resources to after-school and summer
programs. The Boys & Girls Club provides great program-
ing, but it is functioning over capacity. One strategy could
involve having Boys & Girls Club programming held off site,
at other community places such as school grounds, Weir
Gulch, or public streets and alleys.
Also, SWIC is an important community resource with
space for Zumba classes and basketball courts. However,
only a small portion of residents are using the facility. Pro-
grams and activities can encourage more equitable access
and use. SWIC needs to revise its policies and practices to
enable a more affordable and welcoming atmosphere for
Latino residents. Another resource that may be under-
used is the Denver Indian Center on Morrison Road. It
has a basketball court and playground that are open to
the public, but the wider community is not aware of this
fact. Programming can increase community awareness by
connecting the Native American community with the Latino
community.
While it is apparent that Westwood does not have suf-
ficient park space, there are some recreation facilities
and spaces where children and adults can be active, but
these places are being underused. The school grounds
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
35


may be open to the public, with additional programing to
encourage kids and adults to use them. Weir Gulch could
serve as a place for childrens nature tours, and selected
residential streets could be closed at certain times to cre-
ate play areas.
Events
Neighborhood events are an effective way to promote a
sense of community, and to draw people from all over the
Denver region to Westwood to boost the areas profile as
a center of Latino culture. Events with a distinct focus on
healthy living will further promote Westwood as a vibrant
neighborhood. The community should come together in
determining what these events should be, but the panel
has made a number of recommendations in this section.
Ciclovia
This event is named after a Spanish termciclovia
meaning "bike parkway, but which has been adopted
recently by cities across the world to describe one-day
street closure events to foster physical activity and civic
pride. The ciclovia event originated in Bogota, Colombia,
as a way to address traffic congestion. Denver has its own
cicloviathe Viva Streets event sponsored by LiveWell
Colorado. Westwood could bring a Viva Streets event to
Avenida Cesar Chavez to showcase the power of closing a
major thoroughfare for pedestrian and bicycle activity. This
will create a dynamic, vibrant, colorful sense of place and
serve as a citywide attraction.
Street festivals, such as Austin,
Texass Viva Streets event
(pictured here), can enhance
Westwoods sense of community
and promote physical activity.
Other Events to Consider
The panelists encourage the Westwood community to
consider holding the following events:
Community safety/neighborhood watch (increasing
safety will encourage people to walk; more people walk-
ing will make the community feel safer)
Health-focused contests (e.g., like the one depicted in
Biggest Loser)
Bike/pedestrian safety events (e.g., bike rodeos)
Family walking clubs
Urban nature outings.
The Need for and Creation of Social
Space: Mercado Westwood
There is no other venue in Latin American settlements
where life is more celebrated than in la plaza. The Spanish
Laws of the Indies regulated social, political, economic
life, andmost importanttown planning, which called
for a space where the people could go for recreation.
Many Westwood residents come from Latin American
settlements, where plazas are used heavily for social and
cultural activities.
Most American post-World War II residential develop-
ments like Westwood do not have squares or plazas.
However, the cultural behavior patterns of Westwoods
residents lead them to create their own plazas in their
frontyards by enclosing them with fences. These fences
physically separate the private yard from the public realm
of the sidewalk and street. Many of these fences function
as structures to lean on while people chat with a neighbor
passing by, a place to hang wet laundry, or as low walls
against which to sell items and wares.
In addition, by boxing in the frontyard space, fences serve
to transform the open, rather undefined suburban Ameri-
can frontyard into something more akin to an urban court-
yard. Enclosed frontyards then help transform the street
into a plaza. While this new plaza is not the typical one
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An Advisory Services Panel Report


seen in Latin American or European cities with strong de-
fining street walls, the effect is very much the same, with
much social activity occurring in the street, and residents
being able to participate in this activity from the comfort
and security of their enclosed frontyard. In this way, fences
serve as a practical and permeable thresholdnot a bar-
rierbetween the private yard and the public street, and
can end up bringing residents together.
Depending on the practical needs of the owners, the use
and design of the frontyard vary from elaborate courtyard
gardens with fountains reminiscent of Mexico to their
childrens playground. The design of the fences can be a
simple chain link or elaborate brick and wrought iron. The
frontyards reflect Mexican cultural values applied to U.S.
suburban form.
Westwood residents are transforming the use of their
neighborhood streets where many children play. Among
residents, concerns regarding pedestrian/vehicle conflicts
are growing. Residential street infrastructure design and
policy need to emphasize decreasing traffic speeds,
narrowing roadway widths, and reducing traffic volumes
through residential areas so children can play safely. One
option would be to close a neighborhood street off during
the day where children can play safely. In addition, more
comprehensive design interventions need to be explored
and pursued, such as transforming streets into Dutch-style
woonerfs, or "living streets. The woonerf model effectively
eliminates the division between sidewalk and street alto-
gether by making the entire roadspace a single grade. It
then incorporates other design elements and structures to
significantly reduce the potential speed of motorists driving
down these streets. The result is a space for living and not
simply driving.
If these programs, policies, and designs are pursued by
municipalities and transit agencies, the result can really
only be a win-win, as enhancing pedestrian safety through
infrastructure can be one way to bring much-needed
investment into Latino neighborhoods.
While Westwood frontyards and residential streets serve
as social gathering spaces or impromptu plazas, there is
an overall need to create a larger permanent gathering
space or plaza in the community. The Mercado Westwood
will provide a space where residents can gather and
socialize comfortably in a landscape reminiscent of Latin
America. The plaza can be programmed for many activities
such as music, dance, and exercise. In addition, Mercado
Westwood can serve as a place for visitors to experience
the community through a cultural wonderland of din-
ing, entertainment, and art. Plazas in Latin America are
typically surrounded by a church, government buildings,
markets, and museums. The Westwood plaza can provide
a focus area for development in the community.
Mercado Westwood will be located in the heart of the
community and will bring together creative and hard-
working entrepreneurs, artists, and musicians as well as
cultural traditions. The Westwood area has historically
suffered from disinvestmentincluding a lack of business
opportunities, high-quality gathering spaces, high-quality
food, and art and cultural opportunities. The mercado will
represent the local version of the bustling markets that
many residents left behind in their home countries. The
mercado also is an experiment in community revitalization
that provides opportunities for local Westwood residents to
showcase their creativity to the broader Denver communi-
ty. The regional foods of Mexico and other Latin American
countries will be sold.
The Mission
Build Local Economies. By providing affordable retail
opportunities, technical assistance, startup capital, and
support, the mercado will create business ownership op-
portunities and offer needed goods and services to resi-
dents.
Provide Services. The mercado will also provide a drop-
by public health center, and an affordable meeting room
that will host a wide range of community meetings, events,
and classes.
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
37


Promote Arts and Culture. The mercado will host art
exhibits, music and dance performances, spoken-word
performances, film showings, and other events that sup-
port and showcase local artists, provide high-quality art
and cultural opportunities for the community, and impart
the unique heritage of the areas residents.
Build Community. The mercado will create a warm and
welcoming gathering space for everyone from all walks of
life. It will provide opportunities for empowerment, and for
strengthening existing social ties and creating new ones.
The mercado will be adjacent to a plaza that serves as the
center of the community. The plaza will feature traditional
landscapes and designs of Latin America that attempt to
capture the behavior patterns of local residents.
Street Vendors
When used as a venue in which to sell goods, streets
serve a vital economic function in Westwood. Through
street vending, Westwood residents have ingeniously
retrofitted automobile-oriented streets and spaces to suit
their economic needs. The result is a daily but temporary
transformation of sidewalks and curbs into small hubs of
commerce and economic activity. These are spaces that
otherwise would remain moribund in the absence of this
kind of enterprising and mobile economic activity. The
community and city can work with the vendors to create
a green cart program where the selling of raw fruits and
vegetables such as carrots, bananas, apples, and berries
is encouraged.
Other Programs and Activities to Promote
Healthy Eating
Community-based (and school-based) gardens
Co-ops in which residents can sell produce grown at
home
Green food carts {palederos) that sell fresh produce
Mobile markets
Ability to use SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program) at farmers markets
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An Advisory Services Panel Report


Full Text
Conclusion
WESTWOOD NEEDS TO USE its existing assets to
distinguish itself from other neighborhoods within the
Denver metropolitan area. The panel also believes that
Westwood needs a catalytic project that can transform
the neighborhood. This project begins by rebranding the
neighborhood as a Latino cultural district focused on arts,
food, and active living. The center of this district is Mor-
rison Road, which should be transformed from a commuter
cut-through street into Westwoods "Main Street.
Experience shows that if a neighborhood is designed
around cars, more cars are what it will get. But if a neigh-
borhood is designed around people, more people are what
it will get. Having more people also means more economic
development, more walking and biking, and more energy
and excitement.
Morrison Roadaka Cesar Chavez Boulevardcan be a
showcase for Latino art, culture, and small business. If this
thoroughfare is made a destination at the heart of West-
wood, more people will have reasons to both shop and
stroll there. Also, by focusing on transforming Morrison
Road into a complete street, rather than a commuter cut-
through, it will become easier and safer for schoolchildren
and their parents to access parks and other facilities on
both sides of this street that now divides the community.
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
39


About the Panel
Edward McMahon
Panel Chair
Washington, D.C.
Ed McMahon holds the Charles Fraser Chair on Sustain-
able Development at the Urban Land Institute in Wash-
ington, D.C. He is an attorney, a community planner, a
lecturer, and an author. As the senior fellow for sustainable
development, McMahon leads ULIs worldwide efforts to
conduct research and educational activities on environ-
mentally sensitive development policies and practices.
Before joining the Institute in 2004, McMahon spent
14 years as the vice president and director of land use
planning for the Conservation Fund in Arlington County,
Virginia. He is also the cofounder and former president of
Scenic America, a national nonprofit organization devoted
to protecting Americas scenic landscapes.
McMahon is the author or coauthor of 15 books and
more than 200 articles. His books include the following:
Developing Sustainable Planned Communities, Green Infra-
structure: Linking Landscapes and Communities, Balancing
Nature and Commerce in Gateway Communities, and Bet-
ter Models for Development in Pennsylvania. He also writes
regularly for Urban Land magazine, Planning Commission-
ers Journal, and other periodicals. Over the past 20 years,
McMahon has drafted numerous local land use plans and
ordinances. He has organized successful efforts to acquire
and protect urban parkland, wilderness areas, and other
conservation properties.
McMahon serves on several boards and commissions,
including the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Pres-
ervation Maryland, the Governors Institute for Community
Design, and the Orton Family Foundation.
McMahon has an MA in urban studies from the University
of Alabama and a JD from Georgetown University Law
School, where he taught law and public policy from 1976
to 1985.
Kamuron Gurol
Sammamish, Washington
Kamuron Gurol has served as assistant city manager and
community development director for the city of Sam-
mamish, Washington, since 2005. Sammamish is a new
city (incorporated 1999) that formed to gain greater control
over local issues, especially growth and development chal-
lenges. Gurols team has successfully navigated an innova-
tive town center plan (using a hybrid of performance and
traditional zoning tools) and a new shoreline master pro-
gram (using an incentive-based strategy to improve habitat
while recognizing property rights) through the rough waters
of public comment, planning commission review, state
agency approval, and city council adoption. Sammamish
also received a 2009 Governors Smart Community award
for its over-the-counter permit approval process.
Prior to that, Gurol worked as a corridor planning manager
for the Washington State Department of Transporta-
tion Urban Planning Office, where he oversaw corridor
improvement plans for several large state highways in the
Greater Seattle area. As director of the Kitsap County De-
partment of Community Development, he was responsible
for all aspects of community development department
(building plan review and inspections, land use permits,
long-range planning, and a community development block
grant program) serving about 250,000 residents. As
manager of the Snohomish County Planning Division, Gurol
was responsible for successful policy development for the
county comprehensive plan and various subarea plans,
for planning policy issues with 20 cities, and for county
geographic information system (GIS) and demographic
work products. He began his work in public administration,
planning, and environmental and natural resources with
40
An Advisory Services Panel Report


King County, where he created a nationally recognized
transfer of development rights program.
Gurol holds a bachelor of science degree in geology
from the University of Washington and a master of public
administration degree from the Kennedy School of Govern-
ment at Harvard University.
Deborah Lou
San Diego, California
Deborah Lou is the program analyst with Active Living
Research (ALR), a national program of the Robert Wood
Johnson Foundation that uses evidence to fight childhood
obesity and create more physically active communities.
Lou translates and disseminates research on how the
social and built environments affect public health.
Lou engages with organizations across the nation to
ensure that research can inform policy and practice to in-
crease opportunities for physical activity, especially among
minority and lower-income communities that are at highest
risk for obesity.
Lou manages ALRs communication initiatives, includ-
ing a bimonthly newsletter, social media outreach, and a
Dialogue for Health Web Forum series in partnership with
the Public Health Institute. She is coauthor of a research
synthesis with Dr. Wendell Taylor titled "Do All Children
Have Places to Be Active? This synthesis shows that
lower-income people and racial and ethnic minorities often
live in communities that discourage active living. She holds
a PhD in sociology from the University of California at
Santa Barbara.
James A. Moore
Tampa, Florida
James Moore has 25 years of technical and managerial
experience and leadership in architecture, community
planning, redevelopment consulting, and urban design.
Since 2000 he has been with HDR, a global architecture,
engineering, and consulting firm, rising to the rank of
senior vice president for his management and operational
leadership and senior professional associate for his techni-
cal expertise and leadership.
Upon joining the company, Moore helped consolidate and
expand its emerging planning and urban design prac-
tices, and developed initiatives in real estate consulting,
transit-oriented design, and sustainability. He led HDRs
community planning and urban design business unit for
six years, averaging over $12 million per year in net new
fees and overseeing up to 100 staff members in a dozen
offices. Moore helped initiate HDRs international urban
planning practice, leading projects and pursuits in China
and the Middle East. Since 2007, he has been a member
of HDRs sustainable solutions leadership team, looking to
integrate sustainability throughout the companys work.
Moore has played a leading technical and managerial role
on many notable HDR projects including the "Destination
Midtown Redevelopment Master Plan and the Downtown
Development Plan, both in Omaha, Nebraska; "Pinellas
by Design, a unified economic development and physical
redevelopment strategy for Pinellas County, Florida; the
Citywide Integrated Sustainability Master Plan for Corpus
Christi, Texas; and the Beijing International Medical Center,
a mixed-use district in China.
Moore has particular expertise in organizing and managing
complex urban redevelopment projects; areas of technical
expertise include community sustainability, the integra-
tion of physical design and economic development, urban
redevelopment, real estate development practices, urban
design, and leading multistakeholder participatory events.
His projects integrate concerns for physical, social, and
economic revitalization and involve intense client interac-
tion and community participation. Recently, he has begun
to focus on the integration of GIS and other IT tools and
techniques into the analysis, planning, and implementation
of urban redevelopment projects.
From 1988 to 2000, Moore taught in the School of
Architecture and Community Design at the University of
South Florida, leaving as a tenured associate professor. In
1999-2000, he served as the interim dean of the school.
Moore also led the Florida Center for Community Design
and Research for five years, providing design services and
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
41


technical assistance to communities and state agencies.
He coauthored elements of Floridas statewide transporta-
tion policy on the integration of land use and transportation
planning, and the role of mobility in developing sustainable
communities. Moore has also taught at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, and
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Moore is active nationally with the Urban Land Institute
(ULI), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the
Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), and the Ameri-
can Planning Association (APA). He served on the AlAs
Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team Task Force for
ten years. A 20-year member of ULI, he is the chair of the
ULI Tampa Bay District Council. Moore has also served
multiple terms on ULIs Inner-City Council and the Public/
Private Partnership Council; also, he is the incoming chair
of the Urban Revitalization Council. A member of the team
that organized and ran "Reality Check Tampa Bay, he now
serves on the board of OneBay, the entity established to
help implement the regional vision generated by Reality
Check. Moore is on the board of the Florida chapter of the
CNU. He lectures and writes regularly on urban redevelop-
ment, community sustainability, urban design, and related
topics.
Moore received his PhD from the University of Pennsyl-
vania, and also holds degrees from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, including an MS in real estate
development.
Ralph L. Nunez
Southfield, Michigan
Ralph Nunez is the principal partner of DesignTeam Plus
LLC, a multidisciplinary design firm offering architecture,
interior design, landscape architecture, and urban plan-
ning. Prior to starting DesignTeam Plus, Nunez was associ-
ate vice president and director of planning and landscape
architecture for PRC Engineering, an international planning,
design, and development company. His most significant
project while in the Houston office was the Enclave, a
$250 million office campus in west Houston.
Nunez has 36 years of experience as a planner and
landscape architect, with particular emphasis on project
design, management, and development strategies.
Projects include master plans and development plans for
residential communities, senior living, commercial uses,
office research campuses, and recreation facilities. He has
been responsible for master-planning more than 210,000
acres, over 100,000 dwelling units, 6.5 million square
feet of office research space, and 18 million square feet
of commercial projects throughout the United States and
internationally.
Nunez has been qualified as an expert witness in planning,
landscape architecture, and design. He is often called
upon to develop plans resolving difficult and stalled proj-
ects before they go to litigation.
His commitment to sustainable design is evidenced by
his teaching and professional activities. Nunez has been
a guest lecturer and also served as an adjunct profes-
sor at Lawrence Technological University for the past 20
years. The Urban Land Institute has had him participate in
numerous advisory design panels throughout the country.
James Rojas
Los Angeles, California
James Rojas is an urban planner and an artist. He is one
of the few nationally recognized urban planners to examine
U.S. Latino cultural influences on urban design. Rojas
holds a master of city planning and a master of science in
architecture studies from the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. His thesis on the Latino built environment has
been widely cited.
Rojas founded the Latino Urban Forum (LUF), a volunteer
advocacy group dedicated to understanding and improv-
ing the built environment of Latino communities in Los
Angeles.
Rojas developed a process that improves community
participation through engagement, creative thinking, and
celebration and thatof greatest importanceraises
peoples consciousness of the built environment around
42
An Advisory Services Panel Report


them and how it affects their experience of place. He has
facilitated more than 250 interactive workshops and cre-
ated over 50 interactive urban dioramas across the country
with thousands of participants. Rojas has collaborated with
municipalities, nonprofit entities, health and educational
institutions, museums, and galleries to educate the public
on urban planning topics ranging from transportation,
economic development, and social justice to health and
many others.
David Scheuer
Burlington, Vermont
David Scheuer is president of the Retrovest Companies.
Scheuer has over 30 years experience developing several
award-winning residential and mixed-use projects. He has
worked on urban projects in Vermont; Washington, D.C.;
Sacramento, California; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle.
Currently, his firm is developing South Village, a 336-unit
conservation-oriented new urbanist mixed-income housing
community in South Burlington, Vermont; the Westlake
Center, a public/private downtown mixed-use project in
Burlington, Vermont; and Harvard Commons, an infill
apartment project in downtown Seattle.
Scheuer attended the University of Colorado, where he
was a three-time All-American skier. From 1972 to 1978,
he was a member of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team. Scheuer
did graduate work at the University of Vermont in resource
and land economics. He is a former national director of
the National Association of Home Builders; a former board
member of the Preservation Trust of Vermont and the Fund
for Vermonts Third Century; and a founding member of
the Congress for the New Urbanism. In 1990, Scheuer was
inducted into Lambda Alpha, the National Land Econo-
mists Society. He is a former trustee of the U.S. Ski Team
Foundation and currently serves on the executive board
of the National Town Builders Association. He also serves
on the Urban Land Institutes Public/Private Partnership
Council.
Scheuer is regarded as a practitioner of smart growth
development. He was appointed by Governor Howard Dean
as the private industry member of Vermonts Municipal
Land Law Review Commission (2001-2003), and serves
as an adviser to Vermonts current governor on land use
issues.
Elizabeth Shreeve
Sausalito, California
Elizabeth Shreeve is principal of SWA, an internationally
recognized landscape architecture, urban design, and
planning firm composed of more than 200 people nurtur-
ing a critical dialogue of design and urbanism for cities
around the world. Since joining SWAs Sausalito office in
1984, Shreeve has focused her practice on urban infill and
revitalization, community and campus master planning,
and public outreach and communications. She is involved
in mixed-use communities and high-tech projects in China,
Ukraine, and California, where she works closely with
multidisciplinary teams and public and private clients to
translate physical and cultural factors, site programming,
and policy into strategies and solutions for physical design.
A strong proponent of education and mentorship, Shreeve
has a role that also includes recruiting, training, direc-
tion of SWAs summer student program, marketing,
and authorship of articles related to urban land use and
sustainable design.
Shreeve received her master of landscape architecture in
1983 from the Harvard University Graduate School of De-
sign and her undergraduate degree from Harvard College.
She serves on the San Francisco District Council Technical
Assistance Panel Committee and is a member of the ULIs
Sustainable Development Council.
Westwood Neighborhood: Denver, Colorado, May 5-10,2013
43


flffl Urban Land
UIU Institute
1025 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW
Suite 500 West
Washington, DC 20007-5201
Printed on recycled paper.
ces Panel Repo



PAGE 1

A ULI Advisory Services Panel Report Westwood Neighborhood Denver, Colorado May 5, 2013

PAGE 2

Westwood NeighborhoodDenver, ColoradoMay 510, 2013 A ULI Advisory Services Panel Report

PAGE 3

2 About the Urban Land InstituteTHE MISSION OF THE URBAN LAND INSTITUTE is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. ULI is committed to Bringing together leaders from across the elds of real estate and land use policy to exchange best practices and serve community needs; Fostering collaboration within and beyond ULIs membership through mentoring, dialogue, and problem solving; Exploring issues of urbanization, conservation, regeneration, land use, capital formation, and sustainable development; Advancing land use policies and design practices that respect the uniqueness of both the built and natural environments; Sharing knowledge through education, applied research, publishing, and electronic media; and Sustaining a diverse global network of local practice and advisory efforts that address current and future challenges. Established in 1936, the Institute today has nearly 30,000 members worldwide, representing the entire spectrum of the land use and development disciplines. Professionals represented include developers, builders, property owners, investors, architects, public ofcials, planners, real estate brokers, appraisers, attorneys, engineers, nanciers, academics, students, and librarians. ULI relies heavily on the experience of its members. It is through member involvement and information resources that ULI has been able to set standards of excellence in development practice. The Institute has long been rec ognized as one of the worlds most respected and widely quoted sources of objective information on urban planning, growth, and development. 2013 by the Urban Land Institute 1025 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW Suite 500 West Washington, DC 20007-5201 All rights reserved. Reproduction of use of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission of the copyright holder is prohibited

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3 About ULI Advisory ServicesTHE GOAL OF THE ULI ADVISORY SERVICES pro gram is to bring the nest expertise in the real estate eld to bear on complex land use planning and development projects, programs, and policies. Since 1947, this program has assembled well over 400 ULI-member teams to help sponsors nd creative, practical solutions for issues such as downtown redevelopment, land management strategies, evaluation of development potential, growth manage ment, community revitalization, browneld redevelopment, military base reuse, provision of low-cost and affordable housing, and asset management strategies, among other matters. A wide variety of public, private, and nonprot organizations have contracted for ULIs advisory services. Each panel team is composed of highly qualied profession als who volunteer their time to ULI. They are chosen for their knowledge of the panel topic and screened to ensure their objectivity. ULIs interdisciplinary panel teams provide a holistic look at development problems. A respected ULI member who has previous panel experience chairs each panel. The agenda for a ve-day panel assignment is intensive. It includes an in-depth brieng day composed of a tour of the site and meetings with sponsor representatives; a day or hour-long interviews of typically 50 to 75 key commu nity representatives; and two days of formulating recom mendations. Long nights of discussion precede the panels conclusions. On the nal day on site, the panel makes an oral presentation of its ndings and conclusions to the sponsor. A written report is prepared and published. Because the sponsoring entities are responsible for signi cant preparation before the panels visit, including sending extensive brieng materials to each member and arranging for the panel to meet with key local community members and stakeholders in the project under consideration, participants in ULIs ve-day panel assignments are able to make accurate assessments of a sponsors issues and to provide recommendations in a compressed amount of time. A major strength of the program is ULIs unique ability to draw on the knowledge and expertise of its members, including land developers and owners, public ofcials, academics, representatives of nancial institutions, and others. In fulllment of the mission of the Urban Land Institute, this Advisory Services panel report is intended to provide objective advice that will promote the responsible use of land to enhance the environment.ULI Program StaffGayle Berens Senior Vice President, Education and Advisory Group Thomas W. Eitler Vice President, Advisory Services Annie Finkenbinder Best Director, Education and Advisory Group Daniel Lobo Manager, Awards and Publications Caroline Dietrich Logistics Manager, Education and Advisory Group Kathryn Craig Associate, Education and Advisory Group James A. Mulligan Senior Editor David James Rose Managing Editor/Manuscript Editor Betsy VanBuskirk Creative Director John Hall Design Group Graphic Designer Craig Chapman Senior Director, Publishing Operations

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4 AcknowledgmentsTHE PANELISTS WISH TO THANK the Westwood neighborhood of Denver for acting as host to this impor tant panel. Partners in this effort included BuCu West, Westwood Unidos, LiveWell Westwood, Revision, Urban Land Conservancy, and councilman Paul Lpez and his staff. The panel especially thanks Rachel Cleaves, Jose Esparza, Jess Orrantia, and Anna Jones, whose prepara tions and attention to details on brieng documents and on-site coordination made this panel possible. The panel also wishes to thank the Colorado Health Foundation for sponsoring this series of panels regarding designing healthy communities, especially Anne Warhover, Khanh Nguyen, and Hillary Fulton. The panel also thanks Progressive Urban Management Associates for helping prepare the communities for the panels arrival, providing the background brieng materials, and coordinating so closely with ULI and the host cities for this very important work. Finally, the panelists acknowledge and thank the more than 80 individuals who were interviewed. Representing city and county agencies, the business community, and the citizenry, these stakeholders provided valuable information and perspectives through their passion and understanding of the issues, greatly aiding the panel in its analysis. This publication contains recommendations by the Urban Land Institute Advisory Services panel that convened in Westwood, Colorado, the week of May 510, 2013. A complete listing of recommendations has been created to provide a comprehensive report of the Healthy Places: Designing an Active Colorado initiative for the community of Westwood. The Healthy Places initiative was designed to incorporate physical activity into land development and land use. While the Colorado Health Foundation contracted with ULI to conduct a panel process, the complete recom mendations do not signify key funding opportunities or commitments of the foundation.Note to Readers

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5 ContentsULI Panel and Project Staff ................................................................ 6 Background and the Panels Assignment ..................................................... 7 Economic and Market Overview ........................................................... 10 Understanding and Designing a Healthy, Active Community ....................................... 12 Planning and Design ................................................................... 14 Implementation and Development Strategies .................................................. 26 Programming ......................................................................... 33 Conclusion .......................................................................... 39 About the Panel ....................................................................... 40

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6 ULI Panel and Project StaffPanel ChairEdward McMahon Senior Resident Fellow, Chair for Sustainable Development Urban Land Institute Washington, D.C.Panel MembersKamuron Gurol Director of Community Development City of Sammamish Sammamish, Washington Deborah Lou Program Analyst Active Living Research, University of California San Diego, California James A. Moore Director of International Urban Planning HDR Inc. Tampa, Florida Ralph L. Nez President/Design Principal Design Team Plus LLC Birmingham, Michigan James Rojas Cofounder Latino Urban Forum Alhambra, California David Scheuer President The Retrovest Companies Burlington, Vermont Elizabeth Shreeve Principal SWA Group Sausalito, CaliforniaULI Project StaffAnnie Finkenbinder Best Director, Education and Advisory Group Caroline Dietrich Logistics Manager, Education and Advisory Group

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7 TODAY, COMMUNITIES ACROSS the United States are facing obesity and chronic disease rates of epic propor tions. Emerging research indicates that built environment and community programming interventions can play a vital role in transforming communities to promote public health and increase active living. In 2012, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) was contacted by the Colorado Health Foundation to provide advice on these public health issues through the Healthy Places: Designing an Active Colorado initiative. The foundation contracted with ULI for a series of three Advisory Services panels representing three different community typologies: urban, suburban, and rural. Through the Advisory Services program, ULI provided land use, transportation, real estate, architectural, and public health experts for these three assignments, which represent the rst time that ULI advisory panels have con centrated specically on the connection between health and land use. The Colorado Health Foundation wanted a replicable program, so evaluating the three typologies produces a body of work that can be applied to other com munities in Colorado. The foundation received 26 requests from Colorado communities that wanted to participate in this initiative. Through a competitive request-for-proposals process, communities were asked to demonstrate their readiness and ability to engage stakeholders in identifying and addressing improvements to their built environments to encourage active living and to take part in the ULI panel program. Three communities were selected: Arvada, Lamar, and the Westwood neighborhood of Denver. Major Concepts in Designing Healthy Communities Once part of peoples normal lives, physical activity has been designed out of daily living. Desk jobs have, to a Background and the Panels Assignmentlarge degree, taken the place of manual labor, driving has mostly replaced walking and biking, elevators and escalators have supplanted stair climbing, and televisions and computer games have displaced outdoor recreation, especially among children. The design of buildings and neighborhoods often makes physical activity unnatural, dif cult, or dangerous, especially for children and the elderly, those with disabilities, and low-income individuals. Rather than telling people to go to the gym, the Colorado Healthy Places initiative was designed to encourage Colorado communities to create opportunities for building physical activity into citizens daily routines.Study AreaThe study area that was the subject of this panel is the Westwood neighborhood of Denver. It is a diverse, lower-income neighborhood with approximately 15,500 residents. Westwood, which is generally considered to be bounded by Alameda Avenue on the north, Federal Bou levard on the east, Mississippi Avenue on the south, and 138 160 160 24 285 287 287 34 34 350 36 36 385 385 385 40 50 85 56 64 64 64 160 24 36 40 50 56 30 34 6 287 385 54 87 25 25 70 70 76 70 80Arkansas RiverPurgatoire RiverCimmaron RiverCanadian RiverCorrizo CreekCanadian River South Platte R. SOUTH PLATTERFrenchman CreekArkansas R. ADAMS ARAPAHOE BACA BENT BOULDER CHEYENNE COSTILLA CROWLEY CUSTER DOUGLAS ELBERT EL PASO FREMONT GILPIN HUERFANO JEFFERSON KIOWA KIT CARSON LARIMER LAS ANIMAS LINCOLN LOGAN MORGAN OTERO PHILLIPS PROWERS PUEBLO SEDGWICK TELLER WASHINGTON WELD YUMA COLFAX HARDING MORA TAOS UNION CIMARRON TEXAS CHEYENNE GRANT GREELEY HAMILTON KEARNY LOGAN MORTON RAWLINS SHERMAN STANTON STEVENS THOMAS WALLACE WICHITA CHASE DUNDY HAYES KIMBALL PERKINS DALLAM HANSFORD SHERMANBrush Burlington Castle Rock Fort Lupton Holyoke Las Animas Manitou Springs Rocky Ford Walsenburg Wray Yuma Cimarron Hills La JuntaLamarTrinidad Clayton Taos Raton Guymon Elkhart Hugoton Ulysses Goodland Sidney Spearman Dalhart Longmont Southglenn Brighton Canon City Security-Widefield Sterling Aurora Lakewood Pueblo Arvada Boulder Fort Collins Greeley WestminsterW es t w o od Denver Kansas Oklahoma TexasCOLORADO Area map.

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8Sheridan on the west, is about 1.5 square miles in area. It predominantly comprises single-family homes, with many containing multigenerational families. Westwoods demographics are notable for a variety of reasons. The percentage of residents under the age of 18 is 36.6 percentover 15 percent more than Denver as a whole. The average household income is $37,961 per year, which is about $20,000 less than the average for the entire city. Most critical, the neighborhood is over 80 percent Latino and 25 percent do not speak English, giving it a unique cultural identity that can be built upon when the best strategies for promoting healthy living through the built environment are being considered. The Panels Assignment The Piton Foundation rated Westwood as Denvers second-most-vulnerable neighborhood in terms of be ing prepared to help children thrive. Local community stakeholders have worked to identify the major issues that create obstacles to healthy living in Westwood. These include walkability with a special emphasis on the incom plete sidewalk network and pedestrian safety, bikability, and the lack of community gathering spaces. The panel was charged with considering these concerns with an eye toward the following goals: Framing and promoting a strong emphasis on community health issues through this initiative. Dening strategies for prioritizing and activating plans, programs, and initiatives with clearly delineated time frames, nancing, and organizational strategies. Developing benchmarks that can measure behavioral, health, economic, and policy impacts of improvements that arise from this process. Inspiring policy makers and residents around best practices for achieving greater levels of walking and biking in similar communities. Developing communication strategies for community education and peer-to-peer outreach. An aerial view of the Westwood neighborhood.

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9Summary of RecommendationsWhile Westwood faces many challenges and barriers to active living and better health, it also has many assets and strengths. First of all, it has great people who have incredible energy and determination. It has a strong belief in education and learning. It has a distinctive multicultural history and identity. It is a multigenerational neighborhood that values family and children. It has a diverse group of dedicated nonprot organizations all working to improve the neighbor hood in one way or another, including LiveWell Westwood, BuCu West, and Westwood Unidos. Finally, it has a talented and dynamic city council member who has worked tirelessly for the betterment of Westwood and its residents. In short, the neighborhood has great energy and spirit, great people and organizations, and great culture and tradition. However, it is clear to the ULI panel that Westwood has been ignored and neglected. It is also clear to the panelists that it lacks the facilities and resources that many other Denver neighborhoods have. It is underserved with parks, walking paths, bike trails, sidewalks, and recreation and other facilities. However, what Westwood lacks most is a focus, both physical and programmatic. The panel believes that Westwood needs a targeted and strategic focus to better harness the resources and attention of all the various groups and organizations working independently for the betterment of the neighborhood. The lack of focus means that energy and resources are dispersed among many groups and in many geographically diverse locations. The panel believes that Morrison Road should be enhanced to become the cultural and physical focus of Westwood, with a community mercado and plaza where people can gather for conversation and interaction, where community festivals and events can be held, and where vendors can sell their wares. To make all this work, the city will have to slow down and calm the trafc along Morrison Road. It also will have to encourage art and infuse culture into the built and social environment in a way that authentically represents Westwoods multicultural heritage. In addition, it will have to encourage the relocation of the auto-oriented uses that currently make Morrison Road unappealing for pedestrians and small businesses. To achieve this vision, Westwood should establish itself as an open and receptive location for painters, sculptors, muralists, and other working artists of Latino and Native American heritage. The neighborhood includes a number of structurally sound but vacant or underused buildings. In some instances, the interiors could become studios for working artists. In other instances, the exterior walls of these buildings could become blank canvases upon which artists can work with the local community to create vibrant and culturally representative murals or business signs. Already a tradition is emerging within the neighborhood for this type of collaboration, and Westwood should seek to build on it. These activities will reinvigorate the appear ance of Morrison Road, build a brand for the Westwood neighborhood, and make the street a much better place for walking and biking. In addition to repurposing Morrison Road, Westwood should focus on building a new recreation and wellness center and attracting a small grocery store to the neighborhood. It should also make better use of its existing facilities by extending their hours; developing multiuse agreements with schools, churches, and nonprot organizations; and strengthening the park and recreation system by adding new park facilities and making strategic interventions to ren der existing parks more usable, accessible, and animated. During the site tour and briefing session, the panelists heard from community stakeholders like Norma Brambila, from Westwood Unidos, and city councilman Paul Lpez.STEPHANIE WHITEHILL STEPHANIE WHITEHILL STEPHANIE WHITEHILL The panelists, pictured in the lower lefthand corner of the image, toured the Morrison Road corridor and believe that its role as the heart of the neighborhood should be enhanced through strategic interventions.

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10 THK ASSOCIATES INC. PROVIDED THE PANEL with a market overview of metropolitan Denver. In 2013, metro politan Denver is a seven-county region that includes more than 2.9 million people in almost 1.2 million households, of which 1.9 million people are employed. Since 1980, metro Denver has grown annually by almost 28,000 jobs per year, which has stimulated annual population growth of nearly 40,000 people in 17,000 households. Over the next ten years, the metro areas economy is projected to grow by an additional 29,000 jobs per year, which will fuel annual population growth to 46,000 people in 18,000 households. The Westwood neighborhood is part of Denver County and the central submarket of metro Denver. Denver County today has 634,000 people living in 278,000 households. Since 1980, Denver County has captured 10.9 percent of metro Denvers population growth. Since 1980, the West wood neighborhood has been growing by 164 people in 30 households; and since 1990, annual population growth has been at a rate of 35 people in 29 households. Over the next decade, assuming land is available for redevelop ment, Westwood is projected to grow annually by 310 people in 60 households. By 2023, Westwood is expected to have 24,540 people living in 5,255 households.OfficeThe Seven-County Denver Consolidated Metropolitan Sta tistical Area (CMSA) ofce market is proled as nine major submarkets. Westwood is located in the west submarket. As of the fourth quarter of 2012, there were approximately 107 million square feet of ofce space in the SevenCounty Denver CMSA, of which 7,094,005 square feet or 6.6 percent was located within the west submarket. The Westwood neighborhood ofce market includes a minimal 12,000 square feet, mostly located along the Morrison Road corridor. The majority of ofce space is composed of converted homes and small buildings. Economic and Market OverviewSince 1970, the Denver CMSA has averaged 3,938,408 square feet of new ofce space construction per year, of which 422,043 square feet or 10.7 percent has been located within the northwest suburban submarket. In the last ve years, the Denver CMSA average ofce construc tion has decreased to 977,085 square feet per year, while the northwest suburban submarket average has decreased to 270,559 square feet or 27.7 percent of the total. Westwood, through the redevelopment of the Morrison Road corridor, should be able to support an additional 4,841 square feet of ofce space per year over the coming decade. Westwood can expect 53,246 square feet of new ofce space cumulatively over the next ten years.Industrial/FlexThe Seven-County Denver CMSA industrial market is char acterized as ve major industrial submarkets. Westwood is located within the southwest submarket. As of the rst quarter of 2013, there were 174,816,595 square feet of industrial space in the entire market, with 17,448,848 square feet within the southwest submarket. The overall Denver CMSA industrial market has a vacancy rate of 6.89 percent, with the southwest submarket at 5.32 percent. The industrial employment sector in the Denver CMSA is expected to increase from 410,247 jobs in 2013 to 471,761 jobs by 2023, averaging 6,151 new jobs per year over the next decade. Based on an industrial average of 450 square feet of space per person, there will be an aver age annual demand for 3,340,027 square feet of occupied industrial space over the next decade to accommodate the industrial employment growth. As employment growth will remain steady in 2013, there will be a demand for 2,737,319 square feet of occupied space by year-end.

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11 Given the location of Westwood and the lack of available land, THK Associates has determined that there is no industrial or ex demand currently, and that there likely will be little to no demand over the coming decade.RetailThe Seven-County Denver CMSA retail market is divided into 12 major submarkets. Westwood is located in the west submarket. As of the rst quarter of 2013, there were 88,935,673 square feet of retail space in the entire Denver CMSA, with 8,541,912 square feet or 9.6 percent located within the west submarket. Overall, the current vacancy rate is 8.21 percent in the Denver CMSA retail market, while the west submarket retail vacancy rate stands at 6.68 percent. Westwood has 169,000 square feet of retail space, of which 12,000 square feet are vacant (1.9 percent). The median gross family income in the Westwood neighborhood is $29,506. Given the nature of business in the area, THK believes there is considerable unreported income within the neighborhood. After accounting for taxes, housing, savings, and other typical household expenditures, $5,416 is left over for retail uses. Westwood is expected to add 60 new households annually over the next decade. At present, the neighborhood can support 227,244 square feet of retail space, which will rise to 257,747 square feet by 2023. It is estimated that the market for retail space in Westwood will grow by 7,485 square feet per year.ResidentialHistorically, construction in metro Denver has averaged 11,700 single-family units and 5,450 multifamily units annually since 1980. In the last ve years, these numbers have fallen to 4,850 single-family units and 3,470 multi family units per year. Over the next decade, construction in the Denver met ropolitan area will average 18,480 residential units per annum, of which 10,785 will be detached single-family houses, 2,723 will be townhouses and condominiums, and 4,972 will be apartments. Westwood has not experienced any residential develop ment since 2004, the year when the low-income Paloma Villa Apartments were developed. At present, there is a proposed project comprising 16 townhouses on the corner of South Utica and Mississippi. No residential development has occurred within a two-mile (3.22 km) radius of the neighborhood since 2011. The last projects to be built out were in Belmar. Belmar and the surrounding area have wit nessed the addition of 563 occupied residential units since 2001. If land were available for new residential projects, Westwood should look to bleed into the newly redeveloped Belmar subdivision. Assuming that land is available, Westwood will experi ence an annual average demand for 71 units, including 19 single-family units, 22 townhomes and condominiums, and 42 apartment units. Most of the multifamily development is expectedand recommendedto occur at the entrances to the Morrison Road corridor to create anchors for the redevelopment of the corridor as a whole.

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12 HISTORY INDICATES THAT CHANGES to the built environment can have a tremendous impact on the health of a population. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many cities faced severe epidemics of infectious disease, including tuberculosis, cholera, and yellow fever. These epidemics were effectively mitigated through a variety of changes in public infrastructure and design. For example, aqueducts were built to pipe in fresh water, parks were established to allow for access to fresh air and open space, rail lines offered a reliable mode of transportation that al lowed people to commute to work and helped relieve urban overcrowding, and development regulations set minimum standards for what constituted a healthy living environment (e.g., the New York State Tenement House Act of 1901). Today, communities across the United States are facing obesity and chronic disease rates of epic proportions. Emerging research indicates once again that builtenvironment interventions can play a role in transform ing communities to promote public health. This section provides background on todays health concerns from both national and local perspectives. It also outlines a series of best-practice guidelines for shaping a built environment that supports community health. Understanding and Designing a Healthy, Active CommunityUnderstanding Todays Obesity and Chronic Illness Epidemic People who are overweight or obese are at higher risk for many chronic illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancers. Today, approxi mately two-thirds of U.S. adults and one-third of U.S. youth are obese or overweight, with rates expected to continue to increase dramatically. Since 1980, obesity rates have doubled among U.S. adults and tripled among U.S. children. The costs of this epidemic are staggering. In 2008, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that medical costs attributable to obesity were approxi mately $147 billion per year. If trends continue along these lines, by 2030, 86 percent of adults will be overweight or obese, and total attributable health care costs will be $860 billion to $956 billion per year. Colorado is experiencing even higher obesity rates in its children. In 2004, 28.4 percent of the children in the state were overweight or obese; in 2011, that percentage climbed to 31.4. The childhood obesity rates are even greater among Colorados ethnic and minority children: 33 percent of Latino children were overweight or obese between 2008 and 2010. These data are important for the Westwood neighborhood, where approximately one-third (32.9 percent) of the population is under 18 years of age. Benefits of Physical ActivityPhysical activity is a critical part of weight control and chronic disease prevention, but research shows that less than half of U.S. adults and youth report meeting recommended levels of physical activity. The U.S. surgeon general calls for adults to have at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity) every week. Children and adolescents Children who are able to engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day will be healthier.MARK STEVENS

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13 should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. However, in Colorado, only 49 percent of Colorado children ve to 14 years of age get 60 minutes of physical activity each day (2011 Community Health Survey), and only 29 percent of Colorado adolescents get 60 minutes of physical activity each day (2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey). Clearly, Colorados children are in need of more physical activity. The benets of physical activity extend far beyond weight management, and include the following: Lowered risk for cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and colon and breast cancers; Reduced stress levels and improved mental health; Improved academic performance in children; Stronger bones; Improved balance; and Increased life expectancy.Health DisparitiesGiven these benets, physical activity is truly the best medicine for promoting health and preventing illness. In line with this, the World Health Organization has called for health and health equity to be at the heart of city plan ning and governance. Communities should strive to create environments that are supportive of healthy lifestyles and maximize opportunities for all residents to get the daily physical activity they need to stay healthy. Although some residents may have the money to join a gym and the time to visit it regularly, the Healthy Places initiative study area has many low-income residents who may not have this luxury. An association often exists between lower economic status and poor health outcomes. Improvements to healthsupporting community infrastructure such as pedestrian paths, bikeways, recreational facilities, and accessible, healthy food options can go a long way toward ensuring that all members of the community can live healthier lives. The Westwood study area is home to many low-income residents with high health needs. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the me dian household income in the Denver-Aurora-Broomeld Metropolitan Statistical Area median is $73,900, but 24 percent of Westwoods residents live in poverty. A large percentage of children (over 87 percent) in the study area qualify for free and reduced-price lunch programs. In addition, Kaiser Permanente released sobering statistics regarding obesity in 2008. Among Kaiser members in Westwood, 41 percent of women and 24 percent of men are overweight or obese, and 38 percent of all patients over the age of 30 are overweight or obese. Research shows a current trend in communities of focusing on the importance of the built environment when pro moting and improving health. In the words of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, We ought to plan the ideal of our city with an eye to four considerations. The rst, as being the most indispensable, is health ( Politics ca. 350 B.C.). In todays trend of concentrating on the connec tion between built environment and health, communities are offering both deliberate and incidental opportunities for physical activity, with the goal of the healthier choice being the easier choice. Successes in improving health through altering the built environment are seen through Portland, Oregons extensive bike infrastructure system. Portlands bike system is comprehensive, connected, and user-friendly. Investment in robust bicycle infrastructure will encourage increased physical activity in everyday transportation, exemplified by this combination bus stop/bike rack in Portland, Oregon.MARK STOSBERG

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14 THE WESTWOOD NEIGHBORHOOD sits only a few miles from downtown Denver, the heart of the metropoli tan region. Morrison Road was the rst route into the city from the south, and visible reminders of the connection between the neighborhood and the city center remain. However, it is primarily auto-oriented, with limited op portunities for safe outdoor walking and other types of recreation. Physical CharacteristicsThe panel noted the following dening physical character istics of the neighborhood.Morrison RoadResidents consistently identify Morrison Road as the center of the community, yet the roadways high vehicular speeds and lack of trafc controls also make it a barrier. In addition, Morrison Roads diagonal alignment relative to the neighborhood street grid creates awkward intersec tions that are unsafe and uncomfortable for pedestrians. Planning and DesignRoads and SidewalksThese conditions add to Westwoods overall lack of pedestrian features, including narrow or absent sidewalks, a dearth of street trees, and large-scale commercial uses with little relationship to the street frontage. Not surprisingly, Westwoods walk score is an underperforming 48 of 100, and the community rates 68 out of 78 neighbor hoods measured in Denver. At present, the city is planning paving upgrades to streets and alleys.ParksThe Westwood neighborhood includes only a nominal amount of formal public open space, including Westwood Park and the recently started Cuatro Vientos Park. Many Morrison Road, the primary commercial corridor in Westwood, lacks pedestrian amenities like crosswalks and wide sidewalks that play a role in ensuring the safety of walkers. The sidewalk network in Westwood is inconsistent in quality and often too narrow for even two pedestrians to walk abreast. Westwood Park does have some recreational facilities, but not nearly enough to meet the needs of the neighborhood.STEPHANIE WHITEHILL

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15 opportunities exist, however, to create a range of formal civic and recreational spaces within the neighborhood. Weir Gulch runs through the northwestern corner of the neighborhood and represents a unique opportunity to add to the functional open space within the neighborhood, as has been done in adjacent neighborhoods. A new concrete trail along Weir Gulch from Sheridan to Alameda is cur rently 95 percent complete.AlleysWestwood originally developed as an unincorporated community, resulting in some physical conditions that do not meet city standards. For example, many portions of Westwood include alleys that are poorly lit and serve as locations for Dumpsters, attracting tagging (grafti label ing), illegal dumping, and unsanitary conditions. Of the 113 neighborhood alleys, 92 are owned and maintained by the city and 21 are privately owned; some alleys also include sanitary sewer easements. The city is currently engaged in paving all the alleys, regardless of ownership. In general, the alleys exhibit a generally disheveled physical character, which makes them less desirable as places to walk or bike. The pattern of alleys also represents potential for providing much-needed open space. In other communities, alleys are paved and function not only for walking and biking but also as a vibrant form of communal space. Programs have been established to allow residents to decorate the alleys, further enhancing their appearance and creating a greater sense of communal ownership. A 2013 report by two University of Colorado at Denver students, Ryann Anderson and Matthew Lamendola, titled Report on Neighborhood Alleys: Westwood, Denver, CO provides useful information on existing conditions and potential uses for alleys in the Westwood neighborhood.WallsThe external appearance and physical presence of many buildings could be enhanced by repainting the facades or using them as a base for public murals. The forthcoming Cuatro Vientos Park will add capacity to Westwoods public recreational opportunities. Alleys in the Westwood neighborhood are in varying conditions. Some have been paved by the city and are part of a program allowing residents to decorate them. Others, like the one pictured, are in disrepair and often subject to illegal dumping and graffiti. Many walls in Westwood are blank with few windows, making them uninviting to walk past but also prime canvases for vibrant murals that reflect the neighborhoods culture.

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16Several buildings in the neighborhood include colorful and unique wall murals. These enhance the sense of identity for both the buildings and the neighborhood. Murals can be used to enhance any vertical surface, including fences. They also help enhance the overall neighborhood character and serve as an opportunity to create a unique and vibrant identity as well as to tell stories, display history, and con vey relevant messages to residents and visitors. Color and ScaleMany cultures have a tradition of painting their buildings with vibrant and eye-catching colors. The Westwood neighborhood has examples of this, and such practices should be encouraged as a way of enhancing the identity of both the individual establishment and the community as a whole. Along certain parts of Morrison Road, the street section is relatively well dened with multistory buildings adjacent to the sidewalks and across from one another, making a clearly dened urban space. Along most of the corridor, however, buildings are smaller and set back from the street, often at an angle, creating a less desirable condition.Civic and Commercial UsesThe Westwood neighborhood contains a number of formal spaces where residents and community members can gather for a range of social situations. The development of both public and quasi-public civic spaces should be encouraged throughout the neighborhood. While the Westwood neighborhood is underserved by neighborhood-scale commercial uses, there are several sections along Morrison Road in which groups of viable shops, stores, and restaurants have established them selves. Expanding these uses with the idea of establishing a Mercado Westwood should be explored. These should be supported and additional such entities encouraged. The Westwood neighborhood also contains a wide variety of active automotive uses. Viable commercial enterprises should be maintained, and encouraged to match the de sign standards that are starting to emerge along the length of the Morrison Road corridor.Opportunity SitesWhile the vast majority of the neighborhood is built out with viable structures and uses, there are a number of key sites that are ideally poised for redevelopment. These areas are described in more detail in the Implementation and Development Strategies section of this report.Proposals for Healthy DesignThe panels design proposals for Westwoods built envi ronment focus on fostering a healthy community for all residents by: Creating a lively, pedestrian-oriented spine along Morrison Road, with specic recommendations for new cultural and foodand arts-oriented destinations, outdoor gathering areas, pedestrian promenades, and mixed-use development; Expanding opportunities for recreational facilities that encourage exercise, active lifestyles, locally grown food, and benecial use of neighborhood alleyways; and Identifying safe and continuous pedestrian and bicycle connections that link schools, parks, homes, and services. These proposals speak to the factors that have been shown worldwide to promote physical activity in urban environments: a diverse mix of land uses with walkable destinations; convenient proximity to parks, trails, and rec reation facilities; access to beauty and nature; and facilities that serve both utilitarian (such as bicycle commuting) and recreational forms of activities. In addition, the proposals described on the pages that follow are intended to build on positive features in the community by targeting facilities The cultural tradition of painting buildings with bright colors is present on some structures in Westwood. This practice should be encouraged as it adds to neighborhood character and enhances the pedestrian environment.

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17that are most critical to serving Westwoods residents. Proposals are intended to make the best use of current programs and initiatives to grow from within and support a framework for increased health and well-being. Morrison Road Corridor: Transform from Divider to Healthy Community ConnectorResidents consistently identify Morrison Road as the center of the community, yet the roadways high vehicular speeds and lack of trafc controls also make it a barrier. In addition, Morrison Roads diagonal alignment relative to the neighborhood street grid creates awkward intersec tions that are unsafe and inhospitable for pedestrians. These conditions add to Westwoods pedestrian-unfriendly features, which include narrow or absent sidewalks, a dearth of street trees, and large-scale commercial uses with little relationship to the street frontage. In line with this, Westwoods walk score is an underperforming 48 out of 100, and the community ranks 68 out of 78 neigh borhoods measured in Denver. At the same time, new and continuing uses and activities along Morrison Road have begun to reveal potential for improvement. These uses include new three-story apart ment buildings, the BuCu West mixed-use development, murals, civic facilities, and a variety of local, authentic cafs and bakeries. The thoroughfare also offers excellent views southward to the foothills and northward to Denvers downtown. To address these deciencies and opportunities, a variety of physical changes should be focused along the length of Morrison Road to transform the street from a barrier into a dynamic and attractive pedestrian spine that encourages movement and fosters a healthy food culture. Key objec tives are: Redeveloping Morrison Road as a community spine activated with shopping, restaurants, services, businesses, community theater, and urban housing, with comfortable, tree-shaded sidewalks and plazas offering art and music venues, seating, lighting, and murals. Illustrative diagram of interventions in the Westwood neighborhood proposed by the panel.

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18 Reinventing Morrison Road as a place to be rather than continuing to let it serve as a shortcut for those who live outside the community. To do this, trafc-calming features should be introduced along the entire corridor, with trafc controls (e.g., stops or signals) for safe pedestrian crossings at Virginia Avenue and Exposition Avenue and a possible additional stop at Perry Street. Concentrating improvements on a pedestrian-friendly core area between the intersection with Kentucky Avenue in the south and the Virginia/Newton intersection in the north. Establishing community gateways into Westwood at Alameda Avenue in the north and Mississippi Avenue in the south using entry monuments, larger-scale plantings, and color, vertical elements, and design features that express community identity. Prioritizing development of a central node at the intersection of Morrison and Exposition, with a new mercado, grocery store, and commercial/residential mixed use. Creating a food hub node at the Virginia crossing and a recreation/wellness center node at the Kentucky crossing. Streetscape Design. To establish Morrison Road as a healthy community connector, inll or new development must be coupled with design upgrades that dene the street edge, attract pedestrians, and reinforce community life. Key design elements include a consistent, continuous street section that favors pedestrians instead of cars, with features to include: A narrower vehicular width (see graphic below). Wider sidewalks. Continuous lighting and planting of shade trees in tree wells. Mid-block pedestrian crossings with bump-outs would create safer pedestrian crossings and contribute to traffic calming along Morrison Road. Neighborhood gateways, like this sign welcoming visitors and residents to San Diegos Hillcrest neighborhood, reflect a sense of community identity and accessibility.JOEL WOLF RICHARD DRDULProposed street section design for Morrison Road.

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19 Buildings and building entrances oriented to the street. Use of awkward intersections to make places for art, murals, music, and performances; this could include some minor street closures, such as at West Custer Place, to create small gathering areas and destinations along the street. Use of existing triangular intersections to create small plazas with seating and shade trees. Incorporation of murals on building walls to enliven the street and display public art. Additional design options that may be appropriate, based on more detailed studies and community input, include reduced speed limits, trafc circles, chicanes, bulb-outs, crosswalks, pavement markings, colored pavement, commemorative brass plaques or dance steps installed on sidewalks, and painted footprints and mileage markers. Sidewalk upgrades are especially key; sidewalks should be improved and in some areas even doubled in width, and street trees should be installed to provide shade and enhance aesthetics. These efforts will drastically improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, as well as the perception of safety, and will promote a healthy tradition of promenad ing along Morrison Road. Central Node and Secondary Nodes. Given the central location, current activities, and property congurations at the intersection of Morrison Road and Exposition Avenue, this area should be prioritized as a central node that initi ates healthy community improvements within Westwood. The multifaceted project could be congured in various ways, as shown, and may be designed to take advantage of available properties such as the Thriftway parcel. Fea tures should include: Trafc control for safe crossings (e.g., trafc signal or trafc stop, to prioritize pedestrian crossing); New mercado, plaza, grocery, and homes located over retail space, or possible clinic or other community services; Street closures for major events; and Flexible space for food and art markets, street vendors, temporary stalls and installations, and food carts. Other recommended Morrison Road sites at which to focus healthy community improvements are: A new recreation/wellness center on approximately 5.4 acres at Morrison Road and Kentucky Avenue. This would provide indoor and outdoor facilities (see below for more details) and could repurpose existing buildings on Morrison and/or include new buildings. A new Westwood food hub, reinforcing current work by Revision, located at Morrison Road and Virginia Avenue, with trafc control for safe pedestrian crossings and food-related facilities such as urban farms and gardens, kitchens, education, and resources. This proposal for a central node at the intersection of Morrison Road and Exposition Avenue would take advantage of opportunities offered by sites such as the Thriftway parcel to create a mercado and other features. These sketches propose different urban design concepts for the central node, each incorporating a plaza, a mercado, features to enhance pedestrian safety and calm traffic, and flexible space for art markets, food carts, and events.

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20Parks and Recreational FacilitiesRecreational industry standards typically require a minimum of ten acres of neighborhood and community park space per 1,000 residents within a community. Given Westwoods population of approximately 15,500 residents, this would mean 155 acres of parkland. Also, the city aims to provide park space within a half mile of all residents. Westwoods existing park facilities fall far short of achiev ing this standard. At present, most residents are not within walking distance of active recreation facilities and there are only 18 acres of parkland within the community, yield ing a ratio of 1.2 acres per 1,000 residents. Even with the addition of open areas located within utility easements, the ratio of park space to residents is only 1.6 acres per 1,000 residents, as shown below. This contrasts sharply with conditions within many Denver neighborhoods, where park space is available at a ratio of about ten to 15 acres per 1,000 residents. The lack of pedestrian crossings along Morrison Road and Mississippi Avenue further limits access to Westwood Park or Gareld Park to the south. Additional recreational facilities are located at Westwoods four schools (Knapp Elementary, Castro Elementary, Monroe Elementary, and Kepner Middle School), at the Southwest Improvement Council (SWIC) Community Cen ter, and at the Boys & Girls Club. These facilities are well used and fully subscribed for their respective purposes; in addition, SWICs limited range of services and hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during weekdays) makes it inaccessible to many residents, especially schoolchildren. Weir Gulch provides recently built trails that offer connections within the community and to the Platt River to the northeast. Outside the community, the nearest park facilities include Gareld Lake Park to the south, Huston Lake Park to the east, and Barnum Park and Recreation Center to the north. Access to these off-site recreational sites, however, requires crossing of the major arterials that dene the boundaries of the Westwood community. These factors point to a severe insufciency of recreational facilities within Westwood. Children are especially vulner able to problems associated with the lack of adequate park space, including unsafe conditions that discourage active play, walking, and healthy activities; these problems underlie the communitys high rates of crime, obesity, and other health issues. The situation calls for both increased amounts of recreational facilities and better use of existing resources, both physical and programmatic, proposals for which are described later in this report. Interviews with the citys parks and recreation department revealed that it is aware of the relative lack of recreational facilities within Westwood and is interested in identifying possible acquisitions for additional parks. This awareness led to the development of the new park at Alameda and Newton, which is slated to begin construction in Septem ber 2013 after considerable input from residents. In ad dition, while cost-cutting measures are currently resulting in a trend toward larger recreation centers that are farther away, the city may also be studying opportunities for an additional recreation center on the west side of Denver. Park and Open Space Acreage Park/open space Approximate size (acres) Acres per 1,000 residents Westwood Park 5.1 Knox Court Park 0.3 New Park (Alameda/Newton) 1.5 Weir Gulch 11.1 Subtotal 18.0 Utility easements 6.2 Total parks + gulch + easement 24.2 1.6 The map of Westwood on the left shows existing parks and recreational spaces in green. The map on the right shows how far the neighborhood is from meeting the city of Denvers standard of ten acres of park space per 1,000 residents. The green square represents all of Westwoods park acreage consolidated, with the larger dashed square representing the park area needed to meet the municipal standard.

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21To augment the existing park facilities in Westwood, this study proposes to: Add park acreage by making the best use of vacant and underused parcels as they become available; Look for opportunities to expand existing parks and open corridors; and Focus on facilities that are likely to be well used by residents, including continuous trails, futsal (a variant of association football that is played on a smaller pitch and mainly played indoors), multipurpose or soccer elds, and a recreation/wellness center that supports indoor and outdoor uses. Park and recreational facilities are proposed as follows. Additional measures for Morrison Road are discussed separately on previous pages.Westwood Park Expansion and ImprovementsWestwood Park will benet from expansion and upgrades to make it safer, more visible, and better used. This process should incorporate input from the entire West wood community and could be spearheaded by LiveWell Westwood or Westwood Unidos in coordination with the city. The focus of this process should be to accomplish: Increased frontage along Kentucky to improve safety and visibility; Improvements to lighting for safety and evening use (lighting to be designed to not affect neighbors); Improvements to trails for surfacing suited to skating; Additional trails; Increased acreage and upgrades to playgrounds, elds, seating, and other features; and Incorporation of tness zone equipment for outdoor cardiovascular exercise, sited within view of childrens play areas.Recreation/Wellness Center and Community ParkAs described above, this study proposes a new recreation/ wellness center and adjacent active open space at Mor rison and Kentucky. This 5.4-acre site is located approxi mately halfway between Barnum Recreation Center to the north and Harvey Park Recreation Center to the south, making it an appropriate location for the city to construct a new facility on the west side of Denver. In addition, the existing mobile-home park along Kentucky Avenue is proposed for conversion to active community recreational space. The facility could include: Indoor recreational space to support popular activities such as futsal/indoor soccer, dance/Zumba, basketball, and weight training. This indoor space could be created through the conversion of existing structures and/or new buildings. Outdoor facilities such as multipurpose elds, playground/splash pad, parking, trails, tness equipment, and seating. The use of articial turf is recommended to support high levels of active use throughout the year. The panel proposes expansions of and upgrades to Westwood Park, including lighting to improve safety, more space, and equipment and programming specifically designed to increase fitness levels. The panels proposed layout for a new recreation/wellness center at the intersection of Morrison and Kentucky includes space that can be programmed flexibly.

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22 Classrooms for tutoring, education, and meetings. Kitchens for nutrition/healthy eating education and events. Drop-in clinic for family health care including eye care, dental care, and other key issues as identied by community caregivers and school principals. Trail and greenway linkages connecting to Morrison Road, Westwood Park, and destinations to the east.Weir GulchAs part of its Flood Hazard Area delineation to be prepared this coming year as part of the Drainage Master Plan, the city anticipates the need for additional acreage along Weir Gulch. To provide expanded park space within Westwood, the panelists recommend that future improvements to urban drainage infrastructure be considered as part of the overall park system, including the following steps: Acquisition of acreage along the corridor to allow Weir Gulch to become a linear park instead of a steep and narrow corridor; Addition of activities along the park including playgrounds/tot lots, tness zone equipment, seating, picnic shelters, and other features; Lighting to increase safety and usability; and Conversion of the drainage facility from a concrete channel, which attracts tagging and littering, into an earthen drainage with habitat enhancement and planting, similar to that seen in the Lakewood/Dry Gulch area.Urban AgricultureThe community benets of urban agriculture are numer ous. Beyond the obvious encouragement of healthy eating, community or civic agriculture has other benets, including: Enhanced civic engagement through cooperative agricultural labor; Enhanced community pride; Augmented income through the sale of produce and reduced grocery bills; Improvements should be made to Weir Gulch to allow it to become a linear park with opportunities for fitness activities and other programming.

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23 Enhancing farm-to-table activities with neighborhood schools, especially those that engage students in food growing; Supporting the development of community-supported agriculture (CSA); Creating additional urban farms where sites of one acre or more can be found; Developing a Westwood food hub in a central location to provide a consolidation of resources, training, distribution, and information exchange for both neighborhood and nearby food producers; Developing a community kitchen for the cooking and processing of locally grown foods, such as canning and preparation of jellies, salsas, and meals; and Establishing a regular farmers market in a central location (either at Virginia Avenue or at a new central mercado at Exposition Avenue) for the sale of homegrown produce and prepared goods, exchange of information, and celebration of Westwoods food culture. Substantial organizational resources are already engaged in Westwood promoting urban agriculture; these organiza tions should be supported and enhanced with additional nonprot funding sources, and urban agriculture should be incorporated into neighborhood-wide efforts focused on both personal health and economic development.Connectivity and DestinationsConnectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists is critical to achieving healthy communities through increased mobility, access to recreational and civic destinations, relief of stress, and enhanced social interaction. Connections serve two basic purposes: utilitarian activities such as shop ping and commuting to work or school, and recreational activities such as athletics and sports, childrens play, and family strolls and promenades. Both utilitarian and recreational activities benet from common elements of mixed use, walkability and bikability, discouragement of driving, accommodation of different population groups, and proximity. Recreational activities also benet strongly Beautied vacant parcels of land; and Economic development promoted through the marketing and sale of raw, semiprocessed, and processed food products, as well as the marketing of local food events and festivals. Revision, a local nonprot group based on Morrison Road in Westwood, provides material and instructional support for families and organizations interested in growing food. At present, Revision has 203 backyard gardens in south west Denver neighborhoods, with the heaviest concentra tion (approximately 90 gardens) in Westwood, and reports a waiting list of about 50 more families. The majority of homegrown food is consumed by the family and shared with friends, neighbors, and relatives. Revisions co-op, currently under development, will be aggregating some of the surplus this year and selling it on behalf of the families. Revision reports that Westwoods Hispanic families tend to prefer maintaining gardens in their own backyards rather than as collective community gardens. However, Revision also operates two urban farms within Westwood, including a 0.75-acre farm at Kepner Middle School that is transitioning to an educational farm for the school and surrounding neighborhood. A second farm focused on food production is used by 40 Somali Bantu refugee families who retain about 25 percent of the produce; the rest will be sold through Revisions co-op. To be viable, additional urban farms require at least an acre of vacant land. Encouraging and expanding these activities supports the vision of a healthy community as well as other commu nity goalsnotably, establishing a vibrant neighborhood identity and brand identity for ethnic food. A robust promotion of and support for urban agricultural could include the following: Expanding the backyard gardening program to include support of all interested residents; Coordinating Revisions programs with other groups and resources to enhance outreach, funding, and common marketing and distribution efforts;

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24from access to nature and beauty, while utilitarian activi ties require a strong framework of street connections and adequate urban densities. To strengthen these elements at Westwood, the panel proposes the following elements. Continuous Green Connections. Mobility through Westwood is currently impeded by a lack of safe roadway crossings, the limited amount of parkland, insufcient lighting, narrow sidewalks, high vehicular speeds, and insufcient trafc-calming. A series of neighborhood-wide loops linking parks, retail, and civic and school destinations can improve this situ ation and encourage healthy modes of travel by foot and bicycle. These links will focus on Morrison Road, Virginia Avenue, Knox Court, Wolff Street, and the eastwest utility corridor as the primary loop, with associated upgrades to streets, bikeways, parks, and sidewalks as follows: Morrison Road should be redesigned as a pedestrianfriendly corridor with wide, shaded sidewalks and trafc-calming. Virginia Avenue and Knox Court should serve as bicycle boulevards, with bicycles sharing the roadway and appropriate improvements for trafc-calming, street tree planting, sidewalks, signage, and lighting. Knox Court has already been identied as a bicycle boulevard providing a route from Westwood to the light-rail station located in Barnum to the north. While the design of this route is currently under study, the panelists recommend that it include trafc-calming that places a priority on bicyclists and pedestrians; this may include bicycles sharing the vehicular path in a sharrow. This will allow Knox Court to ll a critical role as a northsouth bicycle and pedestrian corridor linking schools, transit, and community services located at SWIC, the Boys & Girls Club, and Kepner Middle School. Weir Gulch and Westwood Park as well as Wolff Street should be expanded and improved to provide additional linkages that integrate them into the overall open space framework. The areas within the eastwest transmission line utility easement can provide locations for active uses that promote physical health. For example, the half-acre parcels between Kentucky Avenue and Mississippi Avenue (near Perry Street) could accommodate a series of tot lots, community gardens, or public art installations connected by a continuous trail linking from the new recreation/ wellness center along Morrison Road and the Kepner Middle School to the east. Additional northsouth and eastwest neighborhood streets should be prioritized for streetscape improvements, including street tree planting and sidewalk repair; these include Exposition Avenue, Stuart Street, Perry Street, and Irving Street. Streetscape improvements to the arterial roadways that border Westwood (Sheridan, Alameda, Federal, and Mississippi), including consistent street tree planting and narrowed vehicular lanes, will raise the image of the community, bring these corridors up to the standard of other major Denver boulevards, and encourage pedestrian movement to destinations such as shopping facilities or the new city park at Newton Street. Alley Upgrades. In addition to providing informal circula tion routes, Westwoods many backyard alleys offer potential for active recreation in proximity to family living spaces. Given that the parks and recreational projects described above are concentrated in the western areas, the panel proposes that an alley improvement pilot project be initiated within the eastern portion of the Westwood community. This project could then be extended to other portions of the community. Recommended improvements and interventions include the following: The conversion from Dumpster-based trash pickup to automated barrel pickup should be expedited, allowing alleys to be free of Dumpsters and associated dumping, tagging, and re-setting. This could be implemented on a per-truck basis covering approximately 2,500 to 3,000 homes and costing $300,000 for conversion of track collection method. Dumpsters could be consolidated for efcient pickup routes.

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25 The paving projects that are underway should be completed. The active use of alleys should be encouraged through signage, cleanup programs, and basic landscape and planting upgrades. Where alleys are not required for private garage access, the installation of bollards should be considered to restrict vehicles and create safe places for kids to play and circulate. Bollards could be removed for utility access when required. Westwoods successful alley improvement program should be expanded upon to include conversion of Dumpster-based trash pickup to automated barrel pickup. The communitys growing mural/art program should be built upon by painting fences and creating ground-level art and games such as hopscotch, four square, and mini-dodgeball. Circulator Shuttle. Denvers light-rail system provides excellent access to work, educational, and other destina tions within the urban area. However, the nearest station to Westwood is located in Barnum to the north, approximate ly 3.2 miles from the intersection of Mississippi Avenue and Morrison Road. This distance is too far for residents to walk or bicycle. Combined with the lack of bus service within Westwood, this situation limits residents access to public transit. To address this problem, a nine-mile circulator shuttle system should be initiated to loop between Westwood and the Barnum light-rail station. From the station, the circulator would head south on Perry Street and follow the route described in the righthand graphic below to serve civic facilities within Westwood as well the proposed new central node and Morrison Road; it would then return to the light-rail station via Morrison Road and Knox Court. STEPHANIE WHITEHILL The map on the left shows the walking route from the intersection of Mississippi and Morrison. The light rail is 3.2 miles away. The panel proposes implementing a circulator shuttle system with the nine-mile route outlined on the right serving many major points, including the light rail.GOOGLE MAPS

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26ALL OF THE CITIZENS LIVING IN WESTWOOD and the organizations that work there agree that the neighbor hood and, more specically, Morrison Road need help to become a walkable place where families feel comfortable and safe living. All stakeholdersincluding the neighbor hood, the city of Denver, and local institutionsmust be involved in the process in order to ensure success. The panel has recommended a series of opportunity sites that could serve as catalysts for revitalization, and provided specic details of both policy and physical interventions.A Main Street for the CommunityIf Westwood is to be successful, and local residents healthier, then Morrison Road must be truly transformed. It needs to be designed for people, not cars, so that it can act as a vibrant main street to serve the needs of neighborhood residents and businesses. As a key public asset, the street would have a wholly different look, feel, and purpose than that which exist today. Through a variety of physical improvements to reduce speeds, lower accident rates and severity, and diminish commuter trafc, the improved street will elevate the pedestrian experience and raise the potential for community health and well-being. While such changes may result in some diversion of cur rent pass-through trafc to other commuter arterials, this is a major must-do item. Another important action will be to change the name of Morrison Road to Avenida Cesar Chavez. This name change will highlight the importance of the Latino com munity and it is consistent with other strategies suggested by the panel outlined later in this document, specically the creation of a Latino cultural district. The city has made substantial investments to develop in novative plans to improve health and mobility such as Den ver Moves and the LiveWell Colorado partnership. Studies conducted since the mid-1980s have shown the need for transportation improvements to support pedestrians and promote new business. For the Westwood area, the Morrison Road Improvement Plan made recommendations to add bicycle lanes as well as medians and crosswalks at selected locations, and these changes have been partially implemented. Ironically, these improvements may have ac tually made it easier for Morrison Road to continue to serve as a signicant commuter corridor, frustrating the goals for improved walkability and connections. Now, mothers and children must stressfully race across the street and risk injury daily. A redesigned street would prioritize people and culture over cars, and cars would not move as quickly. What is actually needed is healthy congestion for this street to serve its highest and best purpose.Implementation and Development Strategies A key theme that emerged from the stakeholder interviews was: Weve done the planning; now we need to follow through! Sidewalk features such as dance steps and colored pavement will add to the Main Street character of Morrison Road. JOHN HENDERSON

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27To address this challenge, a variety of physical changes should be focused along the length of the street between the intersection at Kentucky in the south and the intersec tion at the West Virginia and Newton in the north. With use of community input, many techniques such as reduced speed limits, new signals, trafc circles, chicanes, bulbouts, crosswalks, pavement markings, and others should be considered, designed, and built. Sidewalks should be improved and in some areas even doubled in width, and street trees should be installed to provide shade and enhance aesthetics. Techniques like colored pavement to give intersections, medians, or other areas a distinct color and/or pattern; commemorative brass plaques or dance steps installed on sidewalks; or painted footprints and mileage markers will heighten interest in the area. These efforts will result in dramatically improved pedestrian and bicycle safety, safe walking routes for students, and the perception of safety, and will promote a healthy walking lifestyle. Cars will still be able to enter and exit the neighbor hood, but it will be more tempting to park, walk, and shop, and to experience the unique neighborhood vitality of Westwood. In addition to on-street parking, two or three central car parking lots could be developed at key locations in advance of or as a part of new development, especially at the current locations of incompatible busi nesses. The new avenida would be a preferred location for informal gatherings and evening strolls, and could be enlivened by pop-up businesses or planned street closings for events. Westwood residents and businesses also would benet from transit services, but those have been curtailed or eliminated in recent years. Some bus stops that exist along arterials like Sheridan lack amenities such as seats, weather protection, and transit information. If bus stops are made a friendly and comfortable environment, they can become mini-hubs of community activity by allowing street vendors to sell, drawing in people and potentially boosting ridership. Operational strategies such as street closures should also be considered and implemented to start im mediately using existing facilities to create a better sense of place. While allowing for local vehicle access, street closures could be rotated and would encourage walking and visiting among neighbors. Latino Culture DistrictWestwood has unique and valuable assetslocal culture, great food, and an engaged community wanting to improve the quality of life. Creating a Latino culture district in Westwood will maintain and enhance the cultural fabric while helping local businesses grow and thrive. A district designation would attract new visitors and new businesses and could help transform Westwood into a destination for vibrant arts, great shopping, and delicious food. Techniques such as street signage that reects the design character and Latino culture would likely be helpful, and the district could lead a branding study that could help fur ther enhance and showcase Westwoods identity. Leaders can get guidance from the city and perhaps communicate with an existing district that could advise on specic lessons learned. Another idea is to develop sister neighbor hood relationships with other Denver neighborhoods to promote Westwood as a destination and increase its sense of inclusion into the Greater Denver region. Farmers markets are a common feature of such districts and could allow Westwood residents to sell healthful food grown in their gardens. The district will also highlight an existing feature of the Westwood community los palate ros to thrive in the district with improved rules for better business for small-scale vendors. Culture, food, and arts districts drive business and visitors and increase vibrancy and identity with events such as streetfairs and festivals. A community development corporation (CDC) to serve as a community coordinator for soft implementation items will help to coordinate programs and ensure that priorities are met. Creating a Latino cultural district along Morrison Road would enhance Westwoods identity and make it a destination for people across the region.

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28Vibrant Color and Images: Murals and SignsUnlike thoroughfares in other Denver neighborhoods, Westwoods Morrison Road does not currently have chain-type businesses. Instead, small, individually owned panaderas carneceras mom-and-pop stores, local restaurants, and one-of-a-kind businesses exist today, and more could easily t in. Signage and waynding are key to success for these local businesses, and the use of color and images is especially important. In many cases, the owners of these businesses pay a sign painter to make a distinctive sign.With the forgoing of more expensive and resource-intensive materials such as illuminated plastic, neon, or metal, the medium of choice on Morrison is most often paint, which helps the business owners to express themselves inexpensively. These signs also contribute to community identity and color. In Mexico, murals and graphics are an important commu nication tool historically used to educate and lend a strong visual element to the urban form.These strong visual elements become community waynding mechanisms. The murals and signage can be of a political, religious, or commercial nature, but they always add a certain kinetic, do-it-yourself type of energy to the place. The panelists encourage the continued use of murals and store signs along Morrison Road to liven up a built environment, especially on blank walls and tall fences. To welcome pe destrians from the adjacent residential streets, any blank walls on commercial buildings should be painted.The oddshaped angles that intersect with Morrison are an asset in that they provide interesting perspectives from which to enjoy the artwork. More murals that reect and depict the culture, history, and vision of Westwood and Latino culture should be painted and maintained through collaborations with local businesses, community members, youth, and professional artists. The mural design process can serve as a tool for community engagement, blight remediation, neighborhood beautication, and demonstration of civic pride.Land Use, Zoning, and Permitting: Its All about ContextDenver has undertaken a number of planning, zoning, and regulatory efforts over many years, and a number of plans have addressed Westwood specically. While specic recommendations have been implemented in other Denver neighborhoods, there has not been consistent and complete follow-through in Westwood: Murals on storefronts and walls add character and vibrancy to a neighborhood main street.

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29 Change zoning to Main Street (MS) instead of Urban Edge Mixed Use Three-Story Maximum (E-MX 3): Kentucky to West Virginia Review allowed uses to ensure mercado and arts district types Disallow drive-through uses Increase height limits as incentive Review building form standards to allow for varying style to reect Latino-style facades, etc. Review sign code to liberalize standards and allow for mural-type business signage Review parking standards, cap or low minimum Complete zoning process where left over from 2010 Review zoning for Capitol City Mobile Home Park (now Urban Edge Two-Unit [E-TU-C]) Review zoning code to Encourage small-scale agriculture and food produc tion Allow small-size apodments or microhousing if market demand is demonstrated Create inll/affordable dwelling units, especially those that would face alleyways Conrm fence height and transparency requirements Consistency nding for comprehensive plan and intent statements in permitting decisions City-initiated General Development Plan (GDP) Allows for master site planning and tailored develop ment standards Requires community involvement and is adopted administratively Finds private or nonprot developer partner(s) for acquisition, site design, and building Incorporates easier rules for pioneer develop ments, allowances for catalyst projects Reduce incompatible uses and associated impacts Create strategy for legacy noncompatible businesses (larger open-air car repair and junk) that includes relocation and collocation Contains strategy for nightclubs to include local music and become neighborhood assets instead of liabilities. For city plans, policies, and regulations to be fully imple mented, designating a lead department to coordinate efforts is needed. The police, parks, planning, and public works departments have each made diligent efforts to engage residents and businesses in city projects, but the panel found that the number of respondents was modest and information was not always shared. This can lead to uncertainty and inconsistency, and will not help lead to positive outcomes. Also, the panel heard that internal decision-making structures and less nger-pointing are neededespecially between the public works and plan ning departmentsso that limited resources and time are used efciently and effectively. Communication and Enforcement: Safety, Trash, and GraffitiThe panel heard of the need for improved communication mechanisms between neighborhood residents and city staff and police. Interactions often involve agency response to crime and graftia priority for everyone. As a key element for a healthy neighborhood, the city of Denver should continue and expand its response to tagging by improving coordination among the police, public works, and parks departments to identify and rapidly remove new tags. Spots subjected to repeated tagging could even be considered for new murals painted by local artists. There are also a number of mechanisms that can be used to improve the sense of safety in Westwood, such as community policing with patrol ofcers on foot or bicycle instead of in vehicles, identifying key locations to improve

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30street lighting, and neighborhood block watches. Walkers and runners are discouraged and deterred by stray or barking dogs, and sometimes there is no better option than to focus on prompt, fair, and meaningful enforcement to see real change. As in other areas in Denver, solid waste in Westwood is collected by several methods, including the use of alley Dumpsters, which invite illegal dumping and are often a re hazard. While real progress can be seen in the pilot ar eas where modern purple and black plastic bin-type trash and recycling containers are used, the ongoing use of Dumpsters creates and exacerbates a negative perception among residents and visitors. While this situation exists in a number of Denver neighborhoods, it makes sense to designate Westwood as a priority area for full deployment of bin-type trash containers. Residents want more aggressive action against code violations, and such steps would have direct and indirect health and wellness benets for residents and businesses alike. For example, unhealthful conditions have persisted in the trailer parks along Morrison Road and should be addressed to improve safety for residents and neighbors. Such efforts may also encourage earlier conversion of sites and buildings that are well past their useful life. There may be code compliance issues and operational im pacts for some current auto repair businesses and night clubs along Morrison. A proactive effort to address noise and trafc impacts will help improve residents health and the perception of safety for the neighborhood. If Westwood is to serve the needs of families and be a healthy place in which to raise children, the impacts associated with temporary occupants must be addressed, perhaps through a partnership between municipal agencies and a business improvement district (BID). Other issues of importance: Dedicated funding for parks and open space (citywide issue) A return-on-investment study to show how costs pay for themselves Health impact assessment in city policy decisions and capital programs Microlending to encourage business expansion and recruitment (e.g., a small restaurant)Opportunity SitesA successful redevelopment plan for Westwood will require a disciplined community focus and investment strategy. While there are competing community aspirations and needs, it will be critical to deploy initial investmentsin cluding public, nonprot, and privatein a targeted and strategic manner. These investments should be focused within the core area of the Morrison Road corridor, build ing on recent development investments there. This core area is identied as Morrison Road from the intersection of Kentucky Avenue at the southwest end to West Virginia Avenue at the northeast end. This repre sents a distance of just under one mile. Recent mixed-use investments are optimally positioned at the midpoint of the corridor. Kentucky and West Virginia avenues represent logical and denable book ends to the corridor plan. This strategy is based on two principles: First, that com munity redevelopment should start at the neighborhoods already recognized core, where investment will contribute to a community-wide place-making strategy and com munity identity; and second, that it is critical that each stage of investment occur in a manner that will encourage subsequent phases. To summarize, the way to rebuild the Westwood neighborhood and the corridor is from the epicenter outward. To this end, four opportunity areas have been identied and prioritized. Two of these sites should be programmed for redevelopment; the other two should be programmed for park space. Area No. 1: Core AreaThe rst and most critical of these four opportunity areas is the Thriftway site. While complex ownership and envi ronmental considerations complicate its redevelopment,

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31this should be the number-one redevelopment priority, and the site should be programmed for public commercial and community uses. This is among the most visible sites in the corridor, and the successful redevelopment of this site for community-serving uses will serve as a rst marker of success in building community resources. Integral to this acquisition is the two mobile-home parks, under common ownership, that ank Morrison Road between the intersections of West Ohio and West Walsh Place. In several prior studies, these parks were identied as critical to revitalizing the corridor. These properties also have complex redevelopment constraints, primarily due to their tenant population, which is legally and nancially vulnerable. Nevertheless, these sites represent signicant blight and substandard living conditions at a highly visible and strategically valuable location. That this land use has been allowed to remain is a reection of immobilized municipal code compliance enforcement, due in part to sensitivity to the vulnerable residents. It is time for the city and other agencies to intervene in a proactive effort to relocate the tenants and decommission the mobile-home parks. Finally, the car-wash site should be included to give this core area critical mass.Area No. 2: New Neighborhood ParkA second opportunity area is the mobile-home park at Kentucky Avenue, just east of the intersection with Mor rison. This site, while just off Morrison Road, effectively anchors the south end of the corridor; it is a large site, measuring nearly four acres. By virtue of its location, size, and rectilinear conguration, this site represents an ideal opportunity to augment the park and open space assets of the neighborhood. In addition, this acquisition is critical in linking current neighborhood open space into a coherent and functional linear pattern, both to the east paralleling West Kentucky Avenue and to the existing Westwood Park, just west of this site. Finally, by virtue of its size, this site could accommodate a community recreation and wellness center with adjacent outdoor recreation space. Area No. 3: Additions to Westwood ParkThe current Westwood Park suffers from an irregular conguration and limited visibility. It has only 120 feet of frontage on the north side of West Kentucky Avenue. Modest acquisition and enhancement investments could leverage this existing asset into a more functional park. Specically, the recommendation is, at a minimum, to acquire the property immediately to the east of the parks frontage, which alone would double the frontage, together While the undertaking would be complex, the Thriftway site should be redeveloped for commercial and community uses.STEPHANIE WHITEHILL

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32with the property to the west, which would bring the total frontage to about 300 feet. A more robust acquisi tion plan would include three additional properties to the west, which would add a total of 370 feet of south-facing frontage and provide many options for a comprehensive redesign of the park. While acquisition of these sites is critical to the future success of the park, and has long-term neighborhood value, this program should not require demolition of the homes themselves. It is believed that vacant lots could be found nearby to which these homes could be moved, if the owners so chose. In summary, the recommendation for land acquisition encompasses a little over ten acres of land, with about 5.5 acres for development of a public plaza as well as com mercial and residential space, and ve acres for additional park space.Resources to Be UsedWhile the Westwood neighborhood is resource-deprived, the larger urban region is not. It is clear that Denver is blessed with a broad array of public, nonprot, and private funding sources. Several of these organizations have al ready shown substantial interest in investing in Westwood for a variety of purposes. There needs to be a coherent alignment of these organizations and to the opportunity sites discussed above. Second, an implementation plan that allows for these organizations to effectively collaborate and coordinate investments is needed. Specically: A collaboration of all relevant city agencies and other entities must address a reasonable and humane relocation plan for the three mobile-home sites. Public/private partnerships with both private and nonprot developers should be explored for the redevelopment of mixed use and housing in the core area, including some or all of the mobile-home sites. Other nonprot organizations should be identied to assist with the acquisition of land for the central plaza, the large park on West Kentucky, and the enlargement of Westwood Park. There is a clear role for the Denver Urban Renewal Authority, which has indicated both interest in and a capacity for assisting local redevelopment efforts. While tax increment nancing may have limited nancial benets, especially in the short term, it needs to be considered in the overall and longer-term development program. The neighborhood should establish a Morrison Road business improvement district. This BID should be intended ultimately to run the full length of the corridor from the intersection of West Mississippi and Sheridan Avenue at its southeast terminus to West Alameda at its northeast terminus. The BID could have a central function of operating the public improvements recommended for the Thriftway site. Other nancial resources include the Denver Foundation and the Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund; they should be approached and brought into the resource mix for both capital and noncapital programs.

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33DESPITE ITS MANY CHALLENGES, Westwood does have a number of strengths and resources that can be bet ter harnessed and used to promote physical activity and healthy eating. Programs and events can provide powerful activities that produce several cobenets in addition to physical health, including community-building, improving safety, and economic development. There are many possible types of events and programs that could benet Westwood, and the biggest challenge will be to prioritize and determine which ones have the best potential for success. The panel recommends that the community identify funds to create a position of community coordinator who can oversee the planning, organizing, and fundraising for programming and events. There are many existing arts, culture, and health initiatives already in Denver, and this coordinator can work with them to develop partnerships or collaborations to bring programs and activities into West wood. Also, with so many youth living in the community, there is tremendous potential to identify, train, and mentor youth leaders who can act as neighborhood champions. These champions can advocate for health, wellness, and overall community improvement. By focusing on active living and healthy eating, West wood will join a broader movement across Colorado and throughout the nation. The places where we live, work, learn, and play all affect our health. If the environment is characterized by crime, stray dogs, narrow or broken sidewalks, or a lack of trees and nice scenery, people will not feel safe or comfortable walking in the neighborhood. When there are no markets nearby that sell fresh and af fordable fruits and vegetables, it will be difcult to eat well. By improving opportunities for active living and healthy eating, the community can begin remedying the health disparities among Westwoods population. Programs that promote opportunities for walking, biking, and playing, and that enable access to healthy food, will benet Westwood in many ways. Peoples individual health ultimately affects a communitys overall vitality and well-being. Physical activity can reduce stress and prevent diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Children who are physically active do better in school and have fewer behavioral problems. Opportunities to play sports and to play together can foster positive social behavior and give youth alternatives to joining gangs and other problematic activities. When more people and kids are out walking and playing in the neighborhood, the environment feels safer and more vibrant, and will become less attractive to graf ti, vandalism, and criminal activity. Having access to healthy food is as important as physical activity in promoting overall health and well-being. Pro grams and activities such as community gardens, farmers markets, and cooking classes will not only help people eat more healthily, but also foster civic engagement, social in teraction, self-reliance, and community pride. Being able to Programming Access to healthy food, whether at a farmers market, produce market, or traditional grocery store, is critical to ensuring a communitys overall wellness level.DANIEL LOBO

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34buy fresh, healthy, and affordable food is a matter of social justice. In the absence of a local market, programs and events can enable residents to either grow or purchase produce in the community.SchoolsAs mentioned previously, children and adolescents need to be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day. Kids can achieve a signicant amount of this recommended time during the school day. Recess, physical education (P.E.) classes, and walking or biking to and from school all have the potential to get kids moving. Schools can also provide a signicant portion of a childs daily recom mended nutrition. The panel recognizes that schools in Westwood are doing the best they can. Some schools have been able to hire new P.E. instructors, hold dance classes and jogging clubs, install fruit/salad bars, and put in gardens. But like many schools across the nation, Westwoods schools face a number of challenges making it difcult for students overall to be active and eat well. For example, although school lunches might be healthy, they are not culturally responsive, leading many children to throw them away. Or parents bring fast food and sodas to their children during the school day. Also, community gardens have suffered from vandalism and a lack of irrigation. In general, Westwoods schools are functioning over ca pacity and lack the time, resources, and support required to ensure that all students are sufciently active or eating healthily. Recommendations to Increase Active Living and Healthy Eating in SchoolsPlayworks. Playworks is a nonprot program that brings trained activity leaders into underresourced schools to teach kids how to play; to develop team, leadership, and other social skills; and to grow physically and emotionally. Instant Recess. This is a simple and quick way to bring physical activity into the classroom, and it is also appropriate for other settings (e.g., workplaces, professional meetings, religious institutions). Instant recess provides a ten-minute, structured, fun, and low-impact way to get kids or adults moving and can be easily integrated into class time. Joint (Shared) Use of Schools. Agreements can be developed whereby schools open their grounds after hours for community use. Active transportation to and from school in the form of bike trains will raise activity levels of children, and teach them about bicycle safety in a safe environment.SAN FRANCISCO BICYCLE COALITION

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35Active Transportation to School. School staff and parents can work together to start walking school bus or bike train programs to promote active transportation to school. This will not require a lot of money, but will require dedicated staff and parent volunteers who can lead children from home to school via foot or bicycle. This can be part of a more overarching program that teaches children pedestrian and biking safety skills with a tie-in with healthy, active living. Family Education Classes. These classes teach childrearing skills to new parents during the rst few criti cal years of a childs physical and mental development. These could take place in an existing community center, or become part of a new community recreation and wellness center. Coordinated Approach To Child Health (CATCH). This is a coordinated school health program that builds an alli ance of parents, teachers, child nutrition personnel, school staff, and community partners to teach children and their families how to be healthy for a lifetime. Coordinated School Health Program. This model promotes youth well-being through eight interactive com ponents covering nutrition services, health services, health education, physical education, staff wellness, counseling and social services, and family and community involve ment. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions Coordinated School Health Program. Healthy Schools Program. This program sets stan dards for schools, helps them meet those standards, and recognizes and rewards those schools that meet the standards. The program provides individual consultation to schools and school districts to support their efforts to meet goals of the program. It also provides tools and materials on good nutrition, appropriate physical activity for children, and staff wellness. While any school is eligible to apply for the recognition program, the program places special em phasis on reaching schools that have limited resources and serve students of disadvantaged socioeconomic status. Leveraging Existing Facilities and ProgramsWestwood youth are in dire need of things to do to keep them busy, active, and out of trouble. A community-wide partnership with local nonprot groups, churches, busi nesses, and existing youth-serving organizations can help stretch limited resources to after-school and summer programs. The Boys & Girls Club provides great program ing, but it is functioning over capacity. One strategy could involve having Boys & Girls Club programming held off site, at other community places such as school grounds, Weir Gulch, or public streets and alleys. Also, SWIC is an important community resource with space for Zumba classes and basketball courts. However, only a small portion of residents are using the facility. Pro grams and activities can encourage more equitable access and use. SWIC needs to revise its policies and practices to enable a more affordable and welcoming atmosphere for Latino residents. Another resource that may be under used is the Denver Indian Center on Morrison Road. It has a basketball court and playground that are open to the public, but the wider community is not aware of this fact. Programming can increase community awareness by connecting the Native American community with the Latino community. While it is apparent that Westwood does not have suf cient park space, there are some recreation facilities and spaces where children and adults can be active, but these places are being underused. The school grounds Healthy school lunches are an important part of any program promoting wellness in a community.UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

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36may be open to the public, with additional programing to encourage kids and adults to use them. Weir Gulch could serve as a place for childrens nature tours, and selected residential streets could be closed at certain times to cre ate play areas. Events Neighborhood events are an effective way to promote a sense of community, and to draw people from all over the Denver region to Westwood to boost the areas prole as a center of Latino culture. Events with a distinct focus on healthy living will further promote Westwood as a vibrant neighborhood. The community should come together in determining what these events should be, but the panel has made a number of recommendations in this section. CicloviaThis event is named after a Spanish term ciclovia meaning bike parkway, but which has been adopted recently by cities across the world to describe one-day street closureevents to foster physical activity and civic pride. The ciclovia event originated in Bogot, Colombia, as a way to address trafc congestion. Denver has its own cicloviathe Viva Streets event sponsored by LiveWell Colorado. Westwood could bring a Viva Streets event to Avenida Cesar Chavez to showcase the power of closing a major thoroughfare for pedestrian and bicycle activity. This will create a dynamic, vibrant, colorful sense of place and serve as a citywide attraction.Other Events to Consider The panelists encourage the Westwood community to consider holding the following events: Community safety/neighborhood watch (increasing safety will encourage people to walk; more people walking will make the community feel safer) Health-focused contests (e.g., like the one depicted in Biggest Loser) Bike/pedestrian safety events (e.g., bike rodeos) Family walking clubs Urban nature outings.The Need for and Creation of Social Space: Mercado WestwoodThere is no other venue in Latin American settlements where life is more celebrated than in la plaza The Spanish Laws of the Indies regulated social, political, economic life, andmost importanttown planning, which called for a space where the people could go for recreation. Many Westwood residents come from Latin American settlements, where plazas are used heavily for social and cultural activities. Most American postWorld War II residential develop ments like Westwood do not have squares or plazas. However, the cultural behavior patterns of Westwoods residents lead them to create their own plazas in their frontyards by enclosing them with fences. These fences physically separate the private yard from the public realm of the sidewalk and street. Many of these fences function as structures to lean on while people chat with a neighbor passing by, a place to hang wet laundry, or as low walls against which to sell items and wares. In addition, by boxing in the frontyard space, fences serve to transform the open, rather undened suburban Ameri can frontyard into something more akin to an urban court yard. Enclosed frontyards then help transform the street into a plaza. While this new plaza is not the typical one Street festivals, such as Austin, Texass Viva Streets event (pictured here), can enhance Westwoods sense of community and promote physical activity.BIKE TEXAS

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37seen in Latin American or European cities with strong de ning street walls, the effect is very much the same, with much social activity occurring in the street, and residents being able to participate in this activity from the comfort and security of their enclosed frontyard.In this way, fences serve as a practical and permeable thresholdnot a bar rierbetween the private yard and the public street, and can end up bringing residents together. Depending on the practical needs of the owners, the use and design of the frontyard vary from elaborate courtyard gardens with fountains reminiscent of Mexico to their childrens playground. The design of the fences can be a simple chain link or elaborate brick and wrought iron. The frontyards reect Mexican cultural values applied to U.S. suburban form. Westwood residents are transforming the use of their neighborhood streets where many children play. Among residents, concerns regarding pedestrian/vehicle conicts are growing. Residential street infrastructure design and policy need to emphasize decreasing trafc speeds, narrowing roadway widths, and reducing trafc volumes through residential areas so children can play safely. One option would be to close a neighborhood street off during the day where children can play safely. In addition, more comprehensive design interventions need to be explored and pursued, such as transforming streets into Dutch-style woonerfs or living streets. The woonerf model effectively eliminates the division between sidewalk and street alto gether by making the entire roadspace a single grade. It then incorporates other design elements and structures to signicantly reduce the potential speed of motorists driving down these streets. The result is a space for living and not simply driving. If these programs, policies, and designs are pursued by municipalities and transit agencies, the result can really only be a win-win, as enhancing pedestrian safety through infrastructure can be one way to bring much-needed investment into Latino neighborhoods. While Westwood frontyards and residential streets serve as social gathering spaces or impromptu plazas, there is an overall need to create a larger permanent gathering space or plaza in the community. The Mercado Westwood will provide a space where residents can gather and socialize comfortably in a landscape reminiscent of Latin America. The plaza can be programmed for many activities such as music, dance, and exercise. In addition, Mercado Westwood can serve as a place for visitors to experience the community through a cultural wonderland of din ing, entertainment, and art. Plazas in Latin America are typically surrounded by a church, government buildings, markets, and museums. The Westwood plaza can provide a focus area for development in the community. Mercado Westwood will be located in the heart of the community and will bring together creative and hard working entrepreneurs, artists, and musicians as well as cultural traditions.The Westwood area has historically suffered from disinvestmentincluding a lack of business opportunities, high-quality gathering spaces, high-quality food, and art and cultural opportunities.The mercado will represent the local version of the bustling markets that many residents left behind in their home countries.The mercado also is an experiment in community revitalization that provides opportunities for local Westwood residents to showcase their creativity to the broader Denver communi ty. The regional foods of Mexico and other Latin American countries will be sold. The MissionBuild Local Economies. By providing affordable retail opportunities, technical assistance, startup capital, and support, the mercado will create business ownership op portunities and offer needed goods and services toresi dents. Provide Services. The mercado will also provide a dropby public health center, and an affordable meeting room that will host a wide range of community meetings, events, and classes.

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38Promote Arts and Culture. The mercado will host art exhibits, music and dance performances, spoken-word performances, lm showings, and other events that sup port and showcase local artists, provide high-quality art and cultural opportunities for the community, and impart the unique heritage of the areas residents. Build Community. The mercado will create a warm and welcoming gathering space for everyone from all walks of life. It will provide opportunities for empowerment, and for strengthening existing social ties and creating new ones. The mercado will be adjacent to a plaza that serves as the center of the community. The plaza will feature traditional landscapes and designs of Latin America that attempt to capture the behavior patterns of local residents. Street VendorsWhen used as a venue in which to sell goods, streets serve a vital economic function in Westwood. Through street vending, Westwood residents have ingeniously retrotted automobile-oriented streets and spaces to suit their economic needs. The result is a daily but temporary transformation of sidewalks and curbs into small hubs of commerce and economic activity. These are spaces that otherwise would remain moribund in the absence of this kind of enterprising and mobile economic activity. The community and city can work with the vendors to create a green cart program where the selling of raw fruits and vegetables such as carrots, bananas, apples, and berries is encouraged.Other Programs and Activities to Promote Healthy Eating Community-based (and school-based) gardens Co-ops in which residents can sell produce grown at home Green food carts (palederos) that sell fresh produce Mobile markets Ability to use SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) at farmers markets

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39WESTWOOD NEEDS TO USE its existing assets to distinguish itself from other neighborhoods within the Denver metropolitan area. The panel also believes that Westwood needs a catalytic project that can transform the neighborhood. This project begins by rebranding the neighborhood as a Latino cultural district focused on arts, food, and active living. The center of this district is Mor rison Road, which should be transformed from a commuter cut-through street into Westwoods Main Street. Experience shows that if a neighborhood is designed around cars, more cars are what it will get. But if a neigh borhood is designed around people, more people are what it will get. Having more people also means more economic development, more walking and biking, and more energy and excitement. Morrison Roadaka Cesar Chavez Boulevardcan be a showcase for Latino art, culture, and small business. If this thoroughfare is made a destination at the heart of West wood, more people will have reasons to both shop and stroll there. Also, by focusing on transforming Morrison Road into a complete street, rather than a commuter cutthrough, it will become easier and safer for schoolchildren and their parents to access parks and other facilities on both sides of this street that now divides the community.Conclusion

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40Edward McMahonPanel Chair Washington, D.C. Ed McMahon holds the Charles Fraser Chair on Sustain able Development at the Urban Land Institute in Wash ington, D.C. He is an attorney, a community planner, a lecturer, and an author. As the senior fellow for sustainable development, McMahon leads ULIs worldwide efforts to conduct research and educational activities on environ mentally sensitive development policies and practices. Before joining the Institute in 2004, McMahon spent 14 years as the vice president and director of land use planning for the Conservation Fund in Arlington County, Virginia. He is also the cofounder and former president of Scenic America, a national nonprot organization devoted to protecting Americas scenic landscapes. McMahon is the author or coauthor of 15 books and more than 200 articles. His books include the following: Developing Sustainable Planned Communities Green Infra structure: Linking Landscapes and Communities Balancing Nature and Commerce in Gateway Communities and Bet ter Models for Development in Pennsylvania He also writes regularly for Urban Land magazine, Planning Commission ers Journal and other periodicals. Over the past 20 years, McMahon has drafted numerous local land use plans and ordinances. He has organized successful efforts to acquire and protect urban parkland, wilderness areas, and other conservation properties. McMahon serves on several boards and commissions, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Maryland, the Governors Institute for Community Design, and the Orton Family Foundation. McMahon has an MA in urban studies from the University of Alabama and a JD from Georgetown University Law School, where he taught law and public policy from 1976 to 1985.Kamuron GurolSammamish, Washington Kamuron Gurol has served as assistant city manager and community development director for the city of Sam mamish, Washington, since 2005. Sammamish is a new city (incorporated 1999) that formed to gain greater control over local issues, especially growth and development chal lenges. Gurols team has successfully navigated an innova tive town center plan (using a hybrid of performance and traditional zoning tools) and a new shoreline master pro gram (using an incentive-based strategy to improve habitat while recognizing property rights) through the rough waters of public comment, planning commission review, state agency approval, and city council adoption. Sammamish also received a 2009 Governors Smart Community award for its over-the-counter permit approval process. Prior to that, Gurol worked as a corridor planning manager for the Washington State Department of Transporta tion Urban Planning Ofce, where he oversaw corridor improvement plans for several large state highways in the Greater Seattle area. As director of the Kitsap County De partment of Community Development, he was responsible for all aspects of community development department (building plan review and inspections, land use permits, long-range planning, and a community development block grant program) serving about 250,000 residents. As manager of the Snohomish County Planning Division, Gurol was responsible for successful policy development for the county comprehensive plan and various subarea plans, for planning policy issues with 20 cities, and for county geographic information system (GIS) and demographic work products. He began his work in public administration, planning, and environmental and natural resources with About the Panel

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41King County, where he created a nationally recognized transfer of development rights program. Gurol holds a bachelor of science degree in geology from the University of Washington and a master of public administration degree from the Kennedy School of Govern ment at Harvard University. Deborah LouSan Diego, California Deborah Lou is the program analyst with Active Living Research (ALR), a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that uses evidence to ght childhood obesity and create more physically active communities. Lou translates and disseminates research on how the social and built environments affect public health. Lou engages with organizations across the nation to ensure that research can inform policy and practice to in crease opportunities for physical activity, especially among minority and lower-income communities that are at highest risk for obesity. Lou manages ALRs communication initiatives, includ ing a bimonthly newsletter, social media outreach, and a Dialogue for Health Web Forum series in partnership with the Public Health Institute. She is coauthor of a research synthesis with Dr. Wendell Taylor titled Do All Children Have Places to Be Active? This synthesis shows that lower-income people and racial and ethnic minorities often live in communities that discourage active living.She holds a PhD in sociology from the University of California at Santa Barbara. James A. MooreTampa, Florida James Moore has 25 years of technical and managerial experience and leadership in architecture, community planning, redevelopment consulting, and urban design. Since 2000 he has been with HDR, a global architecture, engineering, and consulting rm, rising to the rank of senior vice president for his management and operational leadership and senior professional associate for his techni cal expertise and leadership. Upon joining the company, Moore helped consolidate and expand its emerging planning and urban design prac tices, and developed initiatives in real estate consulting, transit-oriented design, and sustainability. He led HDRs community planning and urban design business unit for six years, averaging over $12 million per year in net new fees and overseeing up to 100 staff members in a dozen ofces. Moore helped initiate HDRs international urban planning practice, leading projects and pursuits in China and the Middle East. Since 2007, he has been a member of HDRs sustainable solutions leadership team, looking to integrate sustainability throughout the companys work. Moore has played a leading technical and managerial role on many notable HDR projects including the Destination Midtown Redevelopment Master Plan and the Downtown Development Plan, both in Omaha, Nebraska; Pinellas by Design, a unied economic development and physical redevelopment strategy for Pinellas County, Florida; the Citywide Integrated Sustainability Master Plan for Corpus Christi, Texas; and the Beijing International Medical Center, a mixed-use district in China. Moore has particular expertise in organizing and managing complex urban redevelopment projects; areas of technical expertise include community sustainability, the integra tion of physical design and economic development, urban redevelopment, real estate development practices, urban design, and leading multistakeholder participatory events. His projects integrate concerns for physical, social, and economic revitalization and involve intense client interac tion and community participation. Recently, he has begun to focus on the integration of GIS and other IT tools and techniques into the analysis, planning, and implementation of urban redevelopment projects. From 1988 to 2000, Moore taught in the School of Architecture and Community Design at the University of South Florida, leaving as a tenured associate professor. In 19992000, he served as the interim dean of the school. Moore also led the Florida Center for Community Design and Research for ve years, providing design services and

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42technical assistance to communities and state agencies. He coauthored elements of Floridas statewide transporta tion policy on the integration of land use and transportation planning, and the role of mobility in developing sustainable communities. Moore has also taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Moore is active nationally with the Urban Land Institute (ULI), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), and the Ameri can Planning Association (APA). He served on the AIAs Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team Task Force for ten years. A 20-year member of ULI, he is the chair of the ULI Tampa Bay District Council. Moore has also served multiple terms on ULIs Inner-City Council and the Public/ Private Partnership Council; also, he is the incoming chair of the Urban Revitalization Council. A member of the team that organized and ran Reality Check Tampa Bay, he now serves on the board of OneBay, the entity established to help implement the regional vision generated by Reality Check. Moore is on the board of the Florida chapter of the CNU. He lectures and writes regularly on urban redevelop ment, community sustainability, urban design, and related topics. Moore received his PhD from the University of Pennsyl vania, and also holds degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including an MS in real estate development.Ralph L. NezSoutheld, Michigan Ralph Nez is the principal partner of DesignTeam Plus LLC, a multidisciplinary design rm offering architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, and urban plan ning. Prior to starting DesignTeam Plus, Nez was associ ate vice president and director of planning and landscape architecture for PRC Engineering, an international planning, design, and development company. His most signicant project while in the Houston ofce was the Enclave, a $250 million ofce campus in west Houston. Nez has 36 years of experience as a planner and landscape architect, with particular emphasis on project design, management, and development strategies. Projects include master plans and development plans for residential communities, senior living, commercial uses, ofce research campuses, and recreation facilities. He has been responsible for master-planning more than 210,000 acres, over 100,000 dwelling units, 6.5 million square feet of ofce research space, and 18 million square feet of commercial projects throughout the United States and internationally. Nez has been qualied as an expert witness in planning, landscape architecture, and design. He is often called upon to develop plans resolving difcult and stalled projects before they go to litigation. His commitment to sustainable design is evidenced by his teaching and professional activities. Nez has been a guest lecturer and also served as an adjunct professor at Lawrence Technological University for the past 20 years. The Urban Land Institute has had him participate in numerous advisory design panels throughout the country.James RojasLos Angeles, California James Rojas is an urban planner and an artist. He is one of the few nationally recognized urban planners to examine U.S. Latino cultural inuences on urban design. Rojas holds a master of city planning and a master of science in architecture studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His thesis on the Latino built environment has been widely cited. Rojas founded the Latino Urban Forum (LUF), a volunteer advocacy group dedicated to understanding and improv ing the built environment of Latino communities in Los Angeles. Rojas developed a process that improves community participation through engagement, creative thinking, and celebration and thatof greatest importanceraises peoples consciousness of the built environment around

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43them and how it affects their experience of place. He has facilitated more than 250 interactive workshops and cre ated over 50 interactive urban dioramas across the country with thousands of participants. Rojas has collaborated with municipalities, nonprot entities, health and educational institutions, museums, and galleries to educate the public on urban planning topics ranging from transportation, economic development, and social justice to health and many others.David ScheuerBurlington, Vermont David Scheuer is president of the Retrovest Companies. Scheuer has over 30 years experience developing several award-winning residential and mixed-use projects. He has worked on urban projects in Vermont; Washington, D.C.; Sacramento, California; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle. Currently, his rm is developing South Village, a 336-unit conservation-oriented new urbanist mixed-income housing community in South Burlington, Vermont; the Westlake Center, a public/private downtown mixed-use project in Burlington, Vermont; and Harvard Commons, an inll apartment project in downtown Seattle. Scheuer attended the University of Colorado, where he was a three-time All-American skier. From 1972 to 1978, he was a member of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team. Scheuer did graduate work at the University of Vermont in resource and land economics. He is a former national director of the National Association of Home Builders; a former board member of the Preservation Trust of Vermont and the Fund for Vermonts Third Century; and a founding member of the Congress for the New Urbanism. In 1990, Scheuer was inducted into Lambda Alpha, the National Land Econo mists Society. He is a former trustee of the U.S. Ski Team Foundation and currently serves on the executive board of the National Town Builders Association. He also serves on the Urban Land Institutes Public/Private Partnership Council. Scheuer is regarded as a practitioner of smart growth development. He was appointed by Governor Howard Dean as the private industry member of Vermonts Municipal Land Law Review Commission (20012003), and serves as an adviser to Vermonts current governor on land use issues.Elizabeth ShreeveSausalito, California Elizabeth Shreeve is principal of SWA, an internationally recognized landscape architecture, urban design, and planning rm composed of more than 200 people nurtur ing a critical dialogue of design and urbanism for cities around the world. Since joining SWAs Sausalito ofce in 1984, Shreeve has focused her practice on urban inll and revitalization, community and campus master planning, and public outreach and communications. She is involved in mixed-use communities and high-tech projects in China, Ukraine, and California, where she works closely with multidisciplinary teams and public and private clients to translate physical and cultural factors, site programming, and policy into strategies and solutions for physical design. A strong proponent of education and mentorship, Shreeve has a role that also includes recruiting, training, direc tion of SWAs summer student program, marketing, and authorship of articles related to urban land use and sustainable design. Shreeve received her master of landscape architecture in 1983 from the Harvard University Graduate School of De sign and her undergraduate degree from Harvard College. She serves on the San Francisco District Council Technical Assistance Panel Committee and is a member of the ULIs Sustainable Development Council.

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A ULI Advisory Services Panel Report Printed on recycled paper. 1025 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW Suite 500 West Washington, DC 20007-5201