Policy Bits ~ 3 Things to Know & Watch This Week
August 1 – 7, 2016
~ Karly Malpiede Andrus


Long Considered Young and Active, Coloradans Starting to Show their Age

  • Colorado’s population is not only growing, it’s getting older and many of the state’s counties are poised to see huge increases in the number of people over the age of 65 in the next 25 years. As many drop out of the work force their incomes will dramatically decrease and many will need help from government or community programs. This is part of why the state recently created the Colorado Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging, which has found a rather large division between urban and rural areas. The group has met for a year and will soon have recommendations on everything from housing ad finances to transportation and health care. http://goo.gl/XOmGWv
  • Affordable housing will become an even larger concern so we all should be well versed in the impacts we will see, it may also be a time to start thinking about universal design development.


NHC & Urban Institute New tool Illustrates Difficulty Building Affordable Housing

  • A new online tool from NHC and Urban Institute illustrates how charging rents affordable to low-income and working poor families makes it difficult to finance affordable housing. The educational tool helps deepen understanding of the challenges of affordable rental housing finance by allowing users to explore the “what-ifs”, you can adjust rents, costs and other factors to see if you can make your affordable housing deal pencil out. http://apps.urban.org/features/cost-of-affordable-housing/
  • This online resource could help local partners better make the case to policy makers and the general public how difficult it is to balance out all the competing factors that make affordable housing challenging to build, finance and operate. Additionally, the site is populated with data from the Denver metro area making this tool very relevant.


Is Denver’s Stormwater Fix an Engineer’s Dream – or a Neighborhood Nightmare?

  • The Two Basin Drainage Project (TBDP) is intended to help control storm water runoff in northeast Denver. The City insists this is a long needed project, despite the fact it will significantly alter the City Park golf course, Globeville Landing Park and many communities in between. Many community members think it is a solution in search of a problem and is really about facilitating the I-70 project, the National Western Stock Show revamp and the new private, higher end development in the RiNo neighborhood. The City insists the project has been under discussion for years to ensure that established neighborhoods in northeast Denver don’t flood during large scale precipitation events, yet the project failed to receive any mention in the detailed 2014 version of the city’s storm-drainage master plan, a planning document that updated every 5 years.
  • This tale from the field highlights serious questions associated with large scale development projects – who is really benefiting, do the benefits outweigh the costs, and what meaningful opportunities exist for the tax payers to influence the course of their tax dollar spending and the projects done in their name. As advocates for good urban design we are cognizant that open spaces, parks and public access is critical to good communities, maybe even more so than the simple ability for more private development.