A New Model For Urban Infill

<p>When residents of Denver's Curtis Park neighborhood learned of a plan to build an apartment complex on a small lot, they formed the Curtis Park Investors Group (CPIG) to purchase the land. Then they built something else.</p>
July 16, 2007, 5am PDT | sbuntin
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"The neighbors of Denver's Curtis Park, however, have created a unique model for fighting the political and cultural mechanisms that contribute to the destruction of the historic fabric and loss of authenticity."

"Recognizing that only those people affected by an environment have any right to its determination, this group of more than twenty residents set out to design and construct an infill project they felt to be more congruent with the scale and character of their neighborhood."

"The grassroots effort put forth by a group of Curtis Park neighbors offers an alternative to the generica found in New Urbanist bedroom-communities, despite their best intentions. A five-minute walk from Denver's central business district, Curtis Park is a wonderfully eclectic neighborhood. Its tree-lined streets include Victorian mansions, Italianate rowhomes, and quaint Queen Anne bungalows that have survived the destructive tendencies of urban revitalization."

"Members of the neighborhood group include an attorney, accountant, architect, city planner, historian, real estate broker, and several members of the building trades. In acquiring the land, securing financing, political organizing, selecting professional engineers and contractors, and ultimately constructing the project, the group appreciates participating in what is essentially community-building."

"This model of community empowerment, from making very difficult decisions regarding profit versus density to working within a political system, generates a sense of pride and accomplishment as they watch the structure taking shape. The sense of community is enhanced by a common focus on this enterprise that was shaped with their own hands and ideas."

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Published on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 in Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments
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