Perhaps you wonder what the environment has to do with Denver’s planning vision? As it turns out, environmental planning is crucial to our healthy economy, industry, and (of course) the quality of outdoor life we Coloradans expect. Why?
Rising average temperatures across Colorado, from the 1980s to today, have caused serious droughts and wildfires. We’ve lost vegetation and increased the city’s square footage of concrete. Basically, it’s hotter and drier than it’s ever been in the history of the state.
Since this trend is expected to get worse, the City of Denver is taking steps to reduce impacts from more drought, large power outages in summer months (you know, the kind that NYC gets), worsening asthma, and lower air quality.
How will they address this?
- Reduce greenhouse gas production by focusing on renewable energies and low-carbon output transportation.
- Adapt to the climate changes that are happening now. This means prepping for the extreme weather shifts we’ve seen happening: increasing frequency of extreme weather and loss of snowpack. Also taking precautions to protect the most vulnerable populations who are disproportionately affected by climate change.
- Conserve water. Finding much more detailed measures to protect and conserve our most precious and limited Western resource.
- Enhance our management of stormwater. Finding creative ways to protect and further use stormwater.
- Enhance and protect the South Platte River. Find even more effective ways to preserve, care for, and use Denver’s only river.
- Expand Denver’s green infrastructure. Making sure that expanding green spaces keeps pace with Denver’s growth.
- Increase solid waste diversion. Reduce waste and landfill, while recycling as much as possible. This is a broad idea, such as using already-built buildings versus building new.
- Conserve land and grow responsibly. Create living spaces in which residents can live, work, and play in the same spaces.
- Protect and improve air quality. Nothing is worse than getting ready to go on a bike ride or jog and having to stop because we’ve got a “red air” quality day. This is Colorado, dammit. We’re here for the outdoors.
- Promote diverse and environmentally-responsible food systems. Encouraging local and sustainable food practices.
What about this matters? As our city grows and develops, our plan for resources becomes more and more important. Planning to conserve and develop our water, air, and green spaces are critical to making sure that our city can meet the needs of its citizens. Yes, this includes the “getting outdoors and watching people kayak on the S. Platte” need.
If you’re curious and want the quick version of this, and the other five plans, check out the executive summary. Really want to understand more? Read the comprehensive plan. If you just want the cheat sheet, just say tuned for the next five weeks. I’ll go over the highlights of each plan and what they’ll mean to you!
Oh, and most importantly, they are still looking for feedback. You can go on Denvergov.org/Denveright to give personal feedback for the plans until October 31st!