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EPA recognizes Denver’s Mariposa District for Smart Growth achievement

Release Date: 12/05/2012
Contact Information: Richard Mylott, U.S. EPA Region 8, 303.312.6654,; Stella Madrid, Denver Housing Authority, 720.219.9059,

Denver Housing Authority’s efforts cited as a national example of community redevelopment

ACCESS a YouTube video on the Mariposa project here:

(Denver, Colo. – December 5, 2012) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Denver’s Mariposa District with the 2012 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement in the category of Equitable Development. The prestigious national award is given for creative, sustainable initiatives that help protect the health and the environment of our communities while also strengthening local economies. Seven projects were honored at an awards ceremony today in Washington, DC.

"The 2012 winners of the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement are taking innovative steps to realize a vision of American communities that are clean, healthy, environmentally responsible and economically resilient," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

“The EPA Smart Growth Award for the new Denver Mariposa District shows the great commitment of our housing authority to create smart, vibrant communities,” noted Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “Denver Housing Authority’s progressive approach to planning and design is consistent with the City’s strategic investments in our neighborhoods to deliver eco-friendly affordable housing and sustainable economic development through active community engagement.”

The Denver Housing Authority’s redevelopment of the Mariposa District in the La Alma and Lincoln Park neighborhood is transforming the area into a vibrant, mixed-use community. DHA created a master plan for the diverse area with extensive community input, which included over 120 meetings, group consultations, workshops and information sessions. The “community-driven design” project preserves affordable housing while adding new homes at a variety of price points and provides access to downtown Denver via light-rail. It also incorporates community concerns about health by including sidewalks, bike lanes and other features that make it easier for residents to be physically active. Green building elements will reduce energy consumption by up to 50 percent, while green infrastructure will reduce the flow of stormwater into sewers by 80 percent. Other unique features of the project included offering classes to residents on healthy cooking and eating and job training for residents in health-related fields.

The Mariposa District project is supported by the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, an effort which brought EPA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation together to provide assistance and funding to help plan and achieve specific housing, transportation, energy efficiency and green infrastructure goals.

The 2012 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement recognized four winners and three honorable mentions in the following categories:

Equitable Development—Winner
Mariposa District, Denver, Colo.

Equitable DevelopmentHonorable Mention
Northwest Gardens, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Main Street or Corridor Revitalization—Winner
The Cooperative Building, Brattleboro, Vt.

Main Street or Corridor RevitalizationHonorable Mention
Larkin District, Buffalo, N.Y.
Programs and Policies—Winner
Destination Portsmouth, Portsmouth, Va.
Programs and PoliciesHonorable Mention
Bay Area Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Fund, San Francisco, Calif.
Overall Excellence—Winner
BLVD Transformation Project, Lancaster, Calif.

The Mariposa District was selected from 47 applicants from 25 states. The winning entries were chosen based on their effectiveness in creating sustainable communities; fostering equitable development among public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders; and serving as national models for environmentally and economically sustainable development.

EPA created the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement in 2002 to recognize exceptional approaches to development that protect the environment, encourage economic vitality, and enhance quality of life. In the past 11 years, 54 winners from 26 states have shown a variety of approaches that states, regions, cities, suburbs and rural communities can use to create economically strong, environmentally responsible development. EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities manages the awards program.

More information on the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement:

More information on the Mariposa District:

Watch the construction of Mariposa Phase II:

Watch the construction of Mariposa Phase III: