Landscape Typology will help guide a new park and greenway aesthetic, along with a maintenance approach to move Denver toward data-driven decision making and the establishment of high functioning, low-maintenance ecosystems.
Historically, Denver’s landscape consisted of native, arid prairie and shrubland habitats lined by green waterways that drain from the state’s headwaters. Today, most of these native landscapes have been replaced by resource intensive bluegrass lawns and urbanization. Denver Parks & Recreation (DPR), in partnership with Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (UDFCD), have partnered to re-evaluate the city’s park landscapes to better understand the ecological and human benefits they provide, as well as the financial, environmental, and cultural costs to maintain them.
As highlighted in Denver’s Game Plan for a Healthy City, DPR is committed to providing recreational, resilient, and aesthetically pleasing places for people to participate in active and passive recreation. DPR will continue to restore historic ecosystem services that enhance the health and sustainability of the park system and larger metropolitan area, including practices that will be water-smart and help support continued efforts to improve the health of local rivers and streams. With these considerations in mind, DPR and UDFCD have developed Landscape Typology, a new, holistic, and data-driven approach, which will help streamline park and open space management.
Landscape Typology is designed to capture the range of plant communities present in Denver, from highly anthropogenic (human) park spaces to highly native park spaces. This range or spectrum represents a variety of ecosystem functions, habitat types, park uses, and maintenance needs which may all exist in different areas of the same park.
By evaluating the different landscape types within a park, as well as the park system as a whole, it is possible to streamline maintenance schedules, irrigation needs, restoration projects, and other activities that help keep Denver’s parks and open spaces vibrant.
Landscape Typology supports Denver’s progress on goals established under the guiding principles laid out in Denver’s Game Plan, including:
- Making the parks system more resilient
- Managing resources to ensure long-term health of Denver’s parks
- Providing parks that reflect Denver’s community and cultural identity
Download the full Landscape Typology Manual