On my way around Denver on I-70, I noticed a control tower where there was no airport. Upon further investigation, I discovered that it was a residual artifact of the former Stapleton International Airport, which was in operation from 1929 to 1995. Physical and legal constraints lead to its replacement by Denver International Airport far to the northeast of the city.
The former airfield was redeveloped by Forest City Enterprises (the company behind Brooklyn's infamous Atlantic Yards) as Stapleton. The development markets itself as being based on New Urbanist principles and does incorporate density and ample park land. However the design appears to adhere to traditional suburban segregation of uses, with long residential streets and remote shopping areas that can only be practically reached by automobile - especially in the cold Denver winters. The architecture is a curious (albeit probably quite pricey) collection of pastiche styles from the late 19th and early 20th century. Being built with contemporary materials and techniques, the houses will likely not have as long a life cycle as their stylistic ancestors. And the almost complete lack of any original ideas, combined with an ironically predictable diversity gives it an air of artifice and sterility that is almost as suffocating as any Levittown.
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