Can You Create Liveable Cities Without Planning Controls? Lessons from Denver, Colorado

Peter Park, University of Colorado at Denver and Harvard Graduate School of Design

Co-presented with the Future Cities Collaborative at the US Studies Centre

24 June, 2014

Planning reform is a key part of making New South Wales number one. Strategic, integrated, and effective urban planning is a critical part of the NSW economy, society, and environment. As we seek to improve the integrity and performance of the planning system in NSW, it is worthwhile to consider lessons from our Trans-Pacific neighbour.

The shift that Denver saw from rigid planning controls to visionary, inclusive and fluid planning guidelines successfully incorporates all stakeholder concerns to put the need for high-quality outputs first. Denver’s planning mentality is now focused on making Denver a city that is liveable for its people; and this framework guides planning citywide. Whether creating plans on a small or citywide scale, Denver’s goal is to achieve a balanced, multi-modal transportation system, land use that accommodates future growth, and open space throughout the city, without the need to conform to strict planning controls. Without planning documents that apply blanket rules and restrictions, Denver was free to create a cityscape that looks and feels great for its people to live, work and play and can offer many lessons for cities in New South Wales.

Peter Park

Peter Park is an American urban design and planning expert who specialises in innovative solutions that balance development needs with unique context, site, and design quality concerns. His integrated approach to comprehensive planning, urban design, and development review has created clear visions for sustainable urban development, places of high quality design, and streamlined permitting systems. He has overseen preparation of numerous plans, comprehensive zoning code updates, and implementation of major infrastructure and development projects.

Peter Park has previously served as the Manager of the Community Planning and Development Department for the City and County of Denver, City Planning Director in Milwaukee, WI, and teaches at University of Colorado at Denver and Harvard Graduate School of Design.

For further information see Peter's page at the University of Colorado

NSW Planning and Environment logo

Supported by NSW Planning and Environment