Tag: Blog List

ISU Bridge Studio ideas for Oakhill Jackson / New Bo

Neighborhood Network News has posted video of last Saturday’s (Jan 23) “Imagine a Vital Neighborhood” urban design conference in Cedar Rapids. Architecture students from Iowa State University’s Bridge Arch 601 Graduate Studio presented design proposals and strategies for sustainable redevelopment in Oakhill Jackson and New Bohemia. I haven’t watched the videos entirely yet, but there were a range of ideas from more abstract and statistical to more specific design proposals. One intriguing idea was very ambitious, proposing a residential high rise and retail complex including a Target store – on par with mixed-use urban big box developments found in several larger US cities. A common theme was to reuse building materials (like from Farmstead) for new construction in the neighborhood.

The videos are definitely worth a watch. Special thanks to Robin Kash for posting these and other community meeting videos on Neighborhood Network News.

Neighborhood Network News: Urban Design Conference Videos
> 1 – Intro, Overview and Opening Discussion
> 2 – Student Presentations
> 3 – Discussion of Student Presentations

Musings in Roma

Palazzo Cenci, Roma

It’s been a week since I arrived in Rome now. The past few days since classes began have been fairly routine. We’ve been drawing a couple hours each day – a quick review of the basics of blind contour, negative space and figure drawing – which has actually been quite delightful. My studio meets in a small room in the back of the studio at Palazzo Cenci (photo above) with access to a small terrace. The desk I sit at looks out a side window facing another building facade with many layers of time, materials, and levels. Occasionally pigeons touch down on decorative ledge in the brickwork. Next week we begin drawing out in the city at various sites.

Yesterday (Wednesday) we had an introductory lecture to a weekly seminar course on Italian design spanning art, architecture, and urban – very intriguing. That afternoon we also had an introductory lecture of Roman urban history by Jan Gadeyne, an accomplished historian, who will be giving the first three lectures. In addition to this course will be weekly Friday walks in the city, first of which will be tomorrow.

Today I had a few hours free between drawing in the morning and Italian in the afternoon; I took a walk north of studio past the Pantheon destined for Richard Meier’s very contemporary Ara Pacis Museum. On the way I seemed to discover a large, trendy retail district with several upscale stores as well as recognizable chains …even a Disney Store. The scale of most specialty stores here is so different than in America, several being no larger than a few hundred square feet. During the month of January (Gennaio) every store has large sales (saldi) so one of my tasks this weekend is to do some shopping. See new photos from today’s exploration here.

This evening I went up to Viale di Trastevere (the tram street) to buy a sketchbook for tomorrow’s history walk. I decided to walk further down the street. After a few blocks there was a noticeable shift from more traditional Roman architecture to a good mix with larger scale early 20th century modernism. This made sense as much of Trastevere sits outside the two original city wall boundaries, making this area relatively new for the city of Rome. It was interesting to see how these modern designs have aged and been adapted.

Most were apartment buildings with commercial spaces along the sidewalk. Aesthetically I can’t say any of them were particularly attractive, they are still occupied and respectable locations. Some of the drab, redundant facades have been enhanced with shrubbery and plantings at windows and along balconies. The juxtaposition of these large scale exhibits of modernist residential architecture in the ancient city of Rome is fascinating. Entirely different scales and styles, though likely similar densities. This is something I would like to study more during my time living in Rome.

That is all for tonight. Tomorrow’s history walk includes the ancient Forum, Palatine, and Colosseum. I’m staying in the city for the weekend and looking forward to more exploring. The Pope is evidently coming to the synagog (a block from Palazzo Cenci – our studio) on Sunday so the are is buzzing to get ready for the big event and security is beginning to be increased as well. It should be quite the spectacle.

Also my friend Dana started blogging tonight about Rome as well. He has a good first post concerning the scale of Rome streets and blocks that can be very deceiving when looking at on a map. It is worth a read here.

DC Chillin’

I returned last Tuesday from a week in the Washington, DC, area. My friend Cece and I went to visit another friend Spencer, who goes to school there. This was my fifth time to the nation’s capital, while it was Cece’s first, so it was a good mix of seeing different neighborhoods and the obligatory museums and monuments.

We flew into BWI Wednesday, Aug 5, and took the MARC Penn Line to Union Station in downtown Washington. All previous times visiting I’ve flown into Reagan National Airport, which is literally across the river from DC, in Virginia. It has Metro service on the Blue line so getting into the city is a breeze. From BWI, we first had to take a shuttle bus to a remote parking garage where the MARC stop was at. Then we waited about twenty minutes for the train; meanwhile a few Amtrak Acela trains zoomed through. It look 30-40 minutes to get to Union Station in DC. Our first day was spent just walking around downtown and the Mall area.

The next two days, Spencer had reserved a Zip Car, so we ventured into Maryland and Virginia, far beyond the Metro lines. On Thursday we drove to Annapolis and spent a few hours exploring the historic capital city and enjoyed a delicious lunch at a local seafood restaurant, Backyard Bar & Grill. Annapolis is a beautiful place with brick everywhere. The scale and density of buildings in the city’s historic center is so unusual compared to what is typical in much of the country, particularly outside the east coast. On Friday we went to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, where we took a nine mile hike up Old Rag Mountain.

Saturday morning we spent a couple hours at museums and the National Mall. In the afternoon we had a corn party grill out at a townhouse in Georgetown where a friend of Spencer’s was getting ready to move out of. It wasn’t “Iowa sweet corn from the back of a pickup truck” but it was good nonetheless. On our walk back to GWU, we passed through the new Georgetown Waterfront Park, along the Potomac River that most recently was used for parking lots. It was refreshing to see a modern, urban park in Washington, where most public spaces are decidedly more formal.

That evening we went to a Nationals Game at their brand new stadium on South Capitol Street by the Anacostia River. I’m normally not a huge fan of baseball, but I enjoy the atmosphere and it was neat to see the new stadium. The area surrounding the stadium is undergoing intense redevelopment with a number of new, large office buildings replacing mostly run-down housing.

Sunday was spent visiting a few other museums including the Renwick Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, neither of which I had been to before. The Renwick, sitting at the corner of Pennsylvania and 17th, just across the street from the White House, had a delightful collection of American folk art. At the National Portrait Gallery I enjoyed seeing the infamous presidential portraits and WPA era paintings. In the middle of the museum is an enclosed courtyard (see image to left) with a beautiful undulating glass and steel ceiling. Designed by Norman Foster and constructed in 2004, it reminded me of the Great Court at the British Museum in London, also designed by Foster. Despite being an extremely hot day outside, inside the courtyard was very comfortable. With a cafe and lots of seating it would be a pleasant atmosphere to have lunch or meet someone for conversation.

Capitol Hill
That afternoon we took a walk around the neighborhood of Capitol Hill, stopping by the recently reopened, historical Eastern Market which was severely damaged by a fire in 2007. Inside the building is mostly meat counters and perishables, while other market vendors set up along the exterior and a parking lot across the street. The market was closing up for the day, but I managed to get inside behind two other explorers to see the refurbished space. We then headed further east along residential streets. Away from Pennsylvania Avenue the neighborhood is almost entirely residential, with a few corner stores, laundromats, etc. every here and there.

Nearly all the housing here is in townhouses, mostly attached. Unlike older neighborhoods like Georgetown and remaining houses closer to downtown, this area had a little more room to breath. On many streets the houses were actually set a good distance (10-25 feet) from the sidewalk so they had private front yards. We all agreed it would be a nice place to live. It has historic charm with strong urban qualities, but calm streets with tree shaded sidewalks.

On our way back toward downtown we walked a few blocks north up to H Street NE, where rail tracks are being laid for one of DC’s new streetcar lines. H Street is a wide, commercial street with a mix of large and small storefronts, some newer strip centers, and an unsightly public storage facility. Most businesses were gated up and closed for Sunday. Despite its seedy appearance, H Street is up and coming, and the streetcar line should help accelerate even more improvements.

Rosslyn – Ballston Corridor
Monday morning I went on my own to explore the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor in Arlington. I took the Metro out to Ballston and then started walking. As walking around became tiring, particularly in the 90 degree heat, I grew apathetic to explore much more. The massive extent of metropolitan sprawl here clearly can not be comprehended with one week visiting and walking around. Outside of the District, the non-gridded, non-contiguous urbanized region goes on for miles. There are many instances of urban form outside the city, some new and artificial, and some long established. It is a very different scene than metropolitans, large and small of the midwest. Admittedly, I would love to be able to drive all around this area in a car just to get a better comprehension of what the many places and spaces in between are like. Looking at a map or even satellite images is simply insufficient to grasp, and one certainly could not see everywhere by transit either.

Most of the large office buildings are clustered within 2-3 blocks to a few major thoroughfares. Despite wide, busy roadways there are wide sidewalks with decorative streetscaping, a good amount of pedestrian oriented ground-level businesses, and a general feel of real urbanism. In a couple places I strayed off the main road by a few blocks to see the “real Arlington” where large office buildings quickly transitioned into single-family residential. A lot of the houses were characteristic of mid 20th century East-coast suburban development, mostly with brick veneers in reverence to the more traditional Colonial Revival style. On other streets, though, homes were more characteristic of late Victorian and craftsman, that are common in older neighborhoods around the midwest. Some homes appeared to be renovated or possibly completely new, some keeping with the craftsman style, with others more contemporary, as pictured to the right.

I met back up with Spencer around lunchtime, while Cece was spending more of the day visiting museums. We went up to U Street for lunch and continued walking north passing through Meridian Park, all the way to Columbia Heights Metro. The station is located by a major retail center on 14th Street NW. The DC USA development includes a Target store, Best Buy, Staples, and fitness club among other stores and restaurants. I have always found big box retailers in urban contexts very interesting, so this was fun the check out. Target seems to be leading with many urban stores around the country, and inventive architecture at their newer suburban stores as well.

Silver Spring
After this we hit up Silver Spring, another major “downtown” in the region, just outside the northern limits of DC. Silver Spring, along with Bethesda, is one of the shining stars of Montgomery County, Maryland. Amidst more single family housing, the urban business district merges subtly with surrounding neighborhoods. A major destination is “Downtown Silver Spring”, a former enclosed shopping mall that has been mostly redeveloped into urban blocks of retail storefronts. A plaza area and fountain on Ellsworth Drive, the mainstreet of “Downtown” acts as a centerpiece. But downtown Silver Spring is much more than this shopping mall disguised as authentic urbanism with many additional businesses, restaurants, and housing in new and old buildings.

Near the “Downtown” shopping area, an open half-block lot had been artificial grass turf for a few years and was quite successful as public space, where people gathered and children played. I remember visiting the turf in 2007, and was surprised by how active it was. Now the site is under construction for a new Silver Spring Civic Building on the far end of the site with a Veterans Plaza in place. The plaza will act in many ways like the turf did, as a public space for people to gather informally and for events, such as the Silver Spring Jazz Festival. It should be noted Silver Spring is not actually an incorporated city and is governed by Montgomery County. There are few incorporated cities in Maryland’s Montgomery and PG counties that surround the District, but many places are considered towns or cities informally, such as Silver Spring.

National Cathedral
Tuesday, our last day in DC, we took a tour of the National Cathedral in northwest DC. It is an incredible building with several unique and characteristically American quarks. While most cathedrals were built hundreds of years ago, this one was only completed in 1990, after a long construction span of 83 years. Imagery and symbolism represent not only historic Christian stories and ideals, but also include modern elements of national and cultural significance. For example there is one stained glass window illustrating the solar system with a real moon rock brought back on Apollo 13. Also there is a discrete gargoyle of Darth Vader, expressing pop culture contemporary with the cathedral’s construction.

The cathedral is not directly adjacent to a Metro station, so it afforded us a short walk through a quiet residential area from the Cleveland Park station to the east. The walk back was quite a bit longer with a missed turn on the way to the Woodley Park – Zoo station, one stop south of Cleveland Park, for reasons none other than to see something different than the walk there. Nevertheless it was interesting to see a less dense, yet undoubtedly stately residential area of Washington.

Rockville Town Square
When back to the Metro, we rode up to Rockville, a few stops out into Maryland. I was interested in seeing the Rockville Town Center redevelopment that commenced in 2004, to replace a long ailing shopping center that in a previous decade replaced the city’s original downtown in the name of urban renewal. Much of the mall was torn down, with parts of it remaining that include a row of restaurants and a movie theater, though it’s not obvious to the unknowing visitor that it used to be a mall. Phase 1 of the town center project was Rockville Town Square, a four block area that has been built up with urban-scaled buildings connected with the existing town street grid with a wonderful public plaza as its focal point.

The view from the Rockville Metro station gives no indication of a walkable, welcoming urban space just a few blocks away. The Rockville Pike thoroughfare creates a minor barrier, along with a large, bland concrete office complex. A semi-enclosed pedestrian bridge over the road at least provides a safe means to cross on foot. We actually crossed the road on foot, not knowing exactly where the town square was, and passed the large office structure to where you could get a glimpse of something more humane and inviting. From our approach, we first came to the old mall remanence containing some restaurants and cinema, a block before the actual brand new development. I could tell this strip wasn’t as new as the town square developments. Across the street from the restaurant row is a large parking lot taking up the entire block. New buildings in the town square development were on the other side of the parking lot, so we headed in that direction.

The actual Rockville Town Square plaza is surrounded by the new buildings, all around five stories tall, so it is almost hidden. The new buildings stand in pretty stark contrast with existing Rockville Buildings that are mostly bland concrete boxes and towers. One calmer city street goes right through the town square development, where it becomes much more decorative and pleasant. With relatively narrow street widths and buildings built up to the sidewalk, the town square is revealed and opens up as you approach it.

The square was quite active today. There were a few restaurants facing the square with outdoor seating. Others were eating or just relaxing on one of the many benches and seats. Kids were playing in the fountain. We got burgers at a Five Guys and ate on one of the benches. Besides retail and restaurants, and of course apartments and condos on upper levels, a major tenant at the town square is the Rockville Public Library, also in a brand new building. The two-story library building is situated at the corner of the plaza next to the one traversing street. At the corner on the first level is a restaurant. The actual library entrance is on to the square. Inside is a large two story atrium with stairs to the second level. One exterior facade is undulating, giving the library a fun and modern aesthetic, standing out from the other more traditional looking buildings around the square.

I really enjoyed visiting Rockville Town Square. Despite being brand new, it felt mostly like real city streets, real public space, not like a corporate “town center” shopping mall or completely separated New Urbanist development. With that, it felt a little hidden away behind larger, existing buildings and barriers like the Rockville Pike. Also since the town square is almost fully enclosed by new stylized buildings, it seems almost isolated from the rest of the actual city. But if this form of redevelopment continues I imagine it could provide a better connection between the square and surrounding neighborhoods. I look forward to visiting Rockville again someday.

Overall another enjoyable visit to DC and surroundings, though my past two visits were in March, so I wasn’t quite ready for the extreme heat and humidity. I think DC would be a neat place to reside someday, so whenever I visit I try to see different places and experience what it could be like to live there. I like to see the different neighborhoods and different lifestyles they encourage, because the city is much more than monuments.

See all photos from the trip on Flickr. By the way, the title of this post refers to this.

Figure Ground Development Patterns

Figure-ground diagramming is an interesting and useful tool for analyzing spatial relationships in urban environments. It also provides a striking comparison of density and land use of older urban development compared to more contemporary suburban development. In older, urban places buildings typically took up the majority of space on a city block so even when diagramming built structure as figure (black) and space without structure (ground) the graphic would essentially depict the street grid. In more contemporary development however, auto-centricism has made for much more spread out buildings divorced from the street edge. Instead of relating to the street and sidewalk (if there even is one), these buildings related to their respective parking lots. Figure-ground diagrams of these sorts of places are often difficult to discern where roads actually go, but are very telling at the amount of open space wasted on the temporary storage of cars.

The figure-ground diagram above is an example of one of these suburban places that lack order and urban spatiality. They vast openness surrounding the buildings makes it hard to tell where roads go or even scale. The variety of building orientation in this case makes it even more difficult to decipher. In the image below, the roads are included, and we can begin to understand more about this space.

The diagram shown is of the Lindale Mall area in northeast Cedar Rapids, where First Avenue and Collins Road intersect. First Avenue is the road running diagonally from the lower left-hand corner up to the top right. I first decided to explore this area through figure-ground after noticing the actual corner of First Ave and Collins is very undefined. In fact, hardly any of the buildings in the study area relate in orientation or proximity to the street at all.

In the image below I stitched together multiple bird’s eye views from Bing Maps. The predominance of pavement stands in stark contrast with the lush green, tree-laden land to the south. The awkward angles at which big box stores were built, situated far from the street, combined with sloping terrain, makes for a very haphazard, almost disorienting, landscape. Driving along First Avenue, the only thing definite is that you are constantly surrounded by parking lot. Asphalt abuts the street the entire length, with only a few small outparcel structures even nominally close.

The area began developing in the 1960s, following the construction of Lindale Plaza, later enclosed as the indoor mall it is today. Besides Lindale, most of the larger scale retail developments there today were only built in the last ten years or so, as older properties were redeveloped. These recent redevelopment areas comprise a significant amount of the First Avenue corridor, and every single one disregards site context and has little relationship to the street. How unfortunate since these will ultimately remain for at least the next few decades.

So why is this a problem? The chaotic development pattern makes finding particular businesses – especially while driving – more difficult, and is very inconvenient for pedestrians. Even if the area had a complete sidewalk network, going from place to place would take much longer on foot than if buildings were closer to the road. I also don’t think massive parking lots make for a very attractive street environment.

Now I’m not advocating no parking, but what if the placements of all these buildings were simply switched with their respective parking areas? If buildings were located by the street and parking placed in the rear, it would be more accessible and equitable to those arriving on foot, bike, or bus – while still serving car customers just as well. With buildings all along the street, it would reduce the distance between places, making it easier for people to get to multiple stores and restaurants in the area on foot. In the current setup, it’s likely most people will get back in their cars just to drive over to the next store rather than walking.

Aesthetically, the street would be much more attractive with a well defined edge. This would provide the area a stronger sense of place and urbanity, instead of the anonymous suburban scape that exists now. Distance-wise, the mall and surrounding development is really quite close to a large residential area, just a few blocks down First Avenue, but right now there’s not even a sidewalk from around 40th Street up until the mall, where then, there is only a partial sidewalk along the south side in front of Home Depot. Even so, if a continuous sidewalk existed, psychologically the perceived distance from nearby homes would be quite long due to the spread out configuration of buildings. Built-up density makes walking distances seem shorter, while vast open space – like parking lots – makes distances seem longer.

If newer buildings like Home Depot and Marketplace on First had been built up to the street, this area would already look and feel more dense and closer together. With a more urban scale, nearby residents may find walking or catching the bus (pending improved transit service) to be more convenient than driving the five or six blocks to the mall. Unfortunately the current setup encourages and almost necessitates driving.

I don’t expect this area to ever drastically change, especially since many of these developments are relatively new, but I do hope that other new large and small scale commercial developments will be more respectful of the street and accommodate customers arriving by all different modes equally. Urban design is not only about how the environment looks, but about how it is organized, oriented, scaled and proportioned. Good urban design can have a profound impact on the accessibility, usability, and sustainability of new developments.

Welcome to Stapleton

When I was in Denver about a month ago, I took a short driving tour around the newly established Stapleton neighborhood, a massive redevelopment project underway at the former site of Stapleton International Airport. The largest New Urbanism project in the United States (according to Wikipedia), Stapleton is designed to be a more sustainable, community-oriented, mixed-use neighborhood. I was eager to check out the progress.

Housing and Public Space
Green space was plentiful throughout the progressing development. A large Central Park is complimented by meandering greenways and tiny neighborhood parks. Streets are pretty much laid out in an efficient grid system with occasional deviation. Different areas sport different housing types and styles. Most are based on regional and traditional precedents and are all oriented toward the public street. Prices range from $80k townhouses up to $900k estate homes – view them all.

Stapleton brings back the alley, providing access to garages behind the houses. The fronts of these homes are no longer dominated by garages for cars, but porches for people. Most of the homes sit on compact lots so garages take up much of the back yard, so the front yard and neighborhood park spaces become the place for outdoor recreation and relaxation. This is believed to foster community and more interaction with neighbors.

Sustainability
Sustainability is a key focus of the new Stapleton neighborhood. Tangible measures include building all ENERGY STAR homes that are more energy efficient, some with solar panels; LEED certified office buildings; and recycling old runways and parking lots into new streets, bike paths and sidewalks. Additionally, nearly 27,000 new trees have been planted in Stapleton, and the new Central Park, greenways, and pocket parks have increased the amount of parkland in the city by over 30 percent.

Sustainability is not only about energy efficient buildings, but also planning, diversity of uses, and aesthetics that promote sustainable lifestyles and community. As mentioned above, streets are pretty much laid out in a grid system and connect at many points with the existing city road network. This is more efficient than the typical suburban road hierarchy of cul-de-sacs and short local streets feeding into collector streets and major arterials. Typical suburban subdivisions provide only one or two routes in or out, often making one walk or drive a longer distance due to convoluted curving roads and lack of thru streets. They also cost cities more to maintain because each street only serves a small number of residents. So grid street systems provide more direct access and route alternatives, distribute traffic more evenly, permit more efficient distribution of utilities and services, and minimize maintenance of excess roadways by maximizing the use per person of each street.

Proximity to places of work, stores, restaurants, and schools is also essential for a neighborhood’s sustainability. This reduces the need to drive so much for everyday needs and conveniences. Generally amenities within half a mile is an acceptable walking or biking distance.

Mixed Use and Retail
With over two million square feet of retail planned when completed, the Stapleton neighborhood certainly has a mix of amenities and residential. However, pretty much all the retail and commercial has been developed (and is planned for, according to Stapleton land-use maps) on the western edge near Quebec Street, so it is not as integrated with housing as it could be. Also a majority of the current retail is in the form of a dressed-up big box power center and a lifestyle center / mall, essentially your typical upscale suburban shopping center.

Current commercial and retail space is concentrated in three distinct main shopping districts. East 29th Avenue Town Center is the quintessential “main street” area so commonly found in New Urbanist developments. It is a relatively small area located on the west side of Stapleton along Quebec Street. Pedestrian scale one to two story shops and buildings are built up to street like a traditional downtown Main Street, with plenty of parking concealed in the back. This particular retail area is well connected to the new residential blocks, some right across the street. 29th Ave Town Center is at a main entrance into Stapleton along Quebec Street so it is able to serve both the newer residents of Stapleton and those of older existing neighborhoods across the street.

Another, less pedestrian retail area is Quebec Square, just north of the E 29th. Ave Town Center area on Quebec Street. It is a typic big box power center with Walmart, Sam’s, Home Depot and several national retailers and quick service restaurants. Although clearly car-oriented, there does seem to be effort made to maintain a grid of streets through the center and minimize the visual and physic disruption of massive parking lots by locating most buildings at corners and along the edge of roads. Despite it’s suburban nature, Quebec Square is still reasonably accessible from housing in the Stapleton neighborhood with connections via the street grid sidewalks – longer than a 5 – 10 minute walk for most residents, but quick trips could easily be done via bicycle.

One more major retail area is Northfield Stapleton, an open-air, lifestyle center shopping mall about a mile north of the center of Stapleton on the opposite side of Interstate 70. Following the trend, Northfield provides a faux Main Street shopping environment with decorative streetscaping and pedestrian scale store fronts. This is deceiving as the entire perimeter is surrounded with a massive parking lot and outlaying box stores. In satellite view, it appears the street ways through Northfield were designed for future expansion in mind – so the pedestrian storefronts could eventually extend beyond the original main street. Unfortunately these pedestrian friendly arteries will always end in a car-friendly parking lot. Despite the distance, there is no real direct pedestrian access from the residential areas of Stapleton to Northfield so inevitably even nearby residents will have to drive here.

One last retail center on the eastern edge of Stapleton is yet to be developed. Eastbridge Town Center, planned at the intersection of MLK Jr. Blvd and Havana Street will be 29th Ave’s counterpart. So eventually the residential core of Stapleton will be flanked by two pedestrian friendly commercial zones.

Walkability
Stapleton seems to be very walkable with appropriate pedestrian provisions and will only get better as the neighborhoods are filled in. However, my initial reaction was that residential areas were too segregated from commercial areas. I figured it’d be much more integrated and mixed. The distance between many homes and shopping would require at least a 10-15 minute walk one way, not bad, but perhaps not enough to keep someone from driving instead if the errand was urgent enough. A quick trip could be made by bike or frequent transit service though.

Transportation
Connectivity to the rest of Denver is also critical for the sustenance of Stapleton, as many residents are employed outside of the neighborhood. The neighborhood’s transit plan is pretty extensive with a bus hub planned with numerous direct routes to major employment centers throughout the metro. The future RTD train service to Denver International Airport will go through Stapleton, providing a direct connection to Denver’s expanding light rail system. See maps for more information about the neighborhood transportation and land use.

Lowry Neighborhood
Another mixed infill neighborhood was underway in Denver a year before Stapleton Airport even closed. I discovered Lowry, less than a mile south of Stapleton, on Google Maps, as they appear very similar in aerial plan view. Lowry is smaller than Stapleton at only about three square miles, on the former site of Lowry Field and Air Force Base. From quick Googling, it seems Lowry may be a bit more suburban in form than Stapleton, but still much improved over typical suburban housing. At about 80 percent build out, completion of Lowry is expected within a year.

All photos in this post are from Flickr user faceless b / EPA Smart Growth.

> Discover Stapleton (official website)

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