Currently, city planning in Denver is too far removed from the everyday lives of residents, and has failed to meet the people’s expectations because of a lack of vision and authentic community engagement practices. Denver’s growth and prosperity works for some, but not for enough of us. I believe collaborative growth should be integrated into the fabric of our current and future neighborhoods and should ensure that prosperity is accessible to and shared by all Denver residents.
As a 30-year public servant working both in and outside of government, I believe that every action that directly affects the people should originate with the people most impacted. Rather than the current administration’s top-down planning process, I will implement community- and resident-driven development which includes renters, homeowners and our unhoused neighbors.
Community-centered development brings residents to the table from the beginning when planning decisions are made at all phases of planning, from early investigation of issues and concerns, through the crafting of goals, policies, and actions, and to the monitoring of outcomes.
My SMART vision for city planning and growth includes:
- Smart growth: Comprehensive land-use planning for environmentally sustainable, compact, walkable, and multimodal urban centers with mixed-use development offering a range of affordable housing options.
- Mobility: Implement initiatives to shift the culture from being car-dependent to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions. Use data to inform decision-making and measure benchmarks to reach the goal of zero traffic fatalities, as envisioned by the Denver Streets Partnership’s Vision Zero five-year plan. Increase funding to create equity across neighborhoods where the majority of deaths occur in “high-injury networks” or “communities of concern,” which disproportionately consist of working-class people. Build infrastructure for alternative forms of transportation to make walking and cycling safer.
- Assess: Conduct social impact analysis of major development projects prior to construction to assess the ramifications and interventions for the environment and communities at risk of displacement to identify so that both may thrive.
- Revitalization: Create participant-public-private partnership (P4) initiatives, which require the involvement of community members (participants), the government (public), and developers (private) in all decision-making. These redevelopment strategies will create vibrant urban environments that reconnect community members to their histories and cultural identities.
- Trees and open space: Protect green spaces by acquiring or expanding environmentally sensitive areas, reducing carbon emissions and scaling up eco-friendly technologies to protect our water, air and soil. Include vulnerable communities who are disproportionately impacted by the cost of climate change, in environmental policy decisions that impact our families and communities. Adopt the principles of the Green New Deal including reducing wealth inequity by addressing the racial and gender wealth divide by ensuring that marginalized communities and working families are centered in the transition to a new economy rooted in clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources, and dispelling the false choice between good jobs and taking care of the environment.