Building sustainable and livable communities is all the rage these days, so it was little surprise that Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) launched a “Live Work Play” contest this year to recognize the area’s 10 best places for, um, living, working, and playing. While some of the finalists are the usual suspects—we’re looking at you, Belmar and Olde Town Arvada—we were happy to see a few unusual areas highlighted. DRCOG will announce the overall winner on April 13; here are some of our favorites.
We Like: By widening sidewalks, planting trees, and building a median, Denver Public Works turned the worn-out stretch of street south of I-25 into a walkable community easily reached by public transit.
We Love: The city invested in concrete—which will last 50 years—instead of pothole-susceptible asphalt, which means no construction for a long time.
We Like: Lyons tackled its Main Street Project in the midst of a recession, building new sidewalks, laying water and sewer lines, installing lighting, and creating a more cohesive, welcoming downtown.
We Love: Since the start of the project, more than 24 businesses have opened or expanded in Lyons, proving that public investment can initiate private enterprise.
NoBo Commercial District
We Like: Fifteen years after Boulder adopted a plan to develop the sprawling area, NoBo has become an actual neighborhood for living, recreating, and working.
We Love: The diverse mix of housing, including traditional single-family homes, townhomes, live-work spaces, senior housing, and affordable housing. There’s a home in NoBo for everyone.
We Like: The historic theater was repurposed to house a Denver cultural trifecta: the Tattered Cover Book Store, Twist & Shout, and the Denver Film Society.
We Love: Denver Parks and Recreation bought land across the street from the complex to eventually build a central Denver recreation center. Music, film, books, and exercise on the same corner? Yes, please.