Mariposa Homes—A Healthy Community Master Plan

Denver, Colorado

The client challenge was complex: develop a compelling vision and workable plan to completely redevelop an inefficient, outdated (and often unsafe) public housing project located in an historic neighborhood with input from all stakeholders— including a diverse array of community contributors. Success was dependent on the strength of public outreach, effective communication of innovative thinking about healthy communities and integrated sustainability, strategic media communications, building and maintaining effective relationships with decision-makers.

As the strategic vision leader for the Mithun team, Stephen Antupit brought green urbanism, transit integration, and private/public partnership expertise as a master developer to the challenge. His expertise in collaborating with diverse community stakeholders was also key to moving this ambitious, mixed-income Master Plan forward. Extensive public engagement and forging key stakeholder partnerships informed the design and accelerated its momentum and implementation. In fact, the project attracted, secured, and spent high-visibility federal funds to replace senior housing before final completion of the master plan.

Antupit led community charrettes and incorporated youth leadership’s mapping exercises. Youth leaders played a critical role as “message ambassadors” to families with limited or no English language skills. He hosted multiple public workshops and incorporated the concerns raised at language- and culturally-based “backyard teas”. He leveraged the power of new community planning methods like the Healthy Development Measurement Tool (HDMT), and a multimedia CulturalAuditTM.

The combination of innovation and attention to “community conversation” was essential to engage and leverage a wide diversity of key private, public, non-profit and institutional partners. The final master plan includes complete replacement of obsolete, inefficient housing adjacent to an existing light rail station with a vibrant, environmentally and economically sustainable, mixed-income community.

Mariposa Homes has become a truly equitable transit-community that complements the adjacent historic district and surrounding center city context. The project has achieved great distinction for integrated sustainability, particularly as both the planning process and the built results emphasize healthy community development and food access strategies. Receiving both the EPA Smart Growth Award for Equitable Communities and a Charter Award from the Congress for New Urbanism affirm that distinction.

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