Aurora, CO

Painted Prairie

A Mixed-Use Town Center with a Neo-Traditional Vision

status

Ongoing

client

Alberta Development Partners

expertise

Master Planned Communities

services

Landscape Architecture, Master Planning

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Refreshing the Traditional Roots of Aurora

As a master planned community, Painted Prairie has stood the test of time in Colorado but as the City of Aurora transforms, the community is taking the opportunity to evolve its identity to keep up with people’s needs and desires.

Only minutes from Denver International Airport, Painted Prairie gives members of their community a desirable location near key Denver destinations while also providing spectacular value as an important reminder of the history of Aurora, Colorado. The community was first established in the late 2000s, where it was set apart from other master planned communities due to its unique blend of residential and the natural environment of the Denver region. Alongside a client driving the expansion of local identity, LandDesign revised the existing master plan of the community to better accommodate the open space setting and take advantage of pre-existing land to benefit the residential experience, adding more green spaces for social gathering among residents.

Painted Prairie was designed to evolve with its community’s needs, understanding that individuals want to put down roots and have a wide array of options for their home. The community is made up of various housing types and lot sizes that depart from the traditional idea of the “cookie-cutter” home and provide residents with their own unique offering. From townhomes to single-family options, Painted Prairie is the standard in how communities could be diversified. The options for housing bring a slew of people from different backgrounds and allows the idea of ownership more attainable and accessible, making the community truly connected beyond just the place itself.

The park and open space amenities are maintained by the Aurora metro district, forming a working relationship between the neighborhood community and the local government.

Our Vision

Making the Outdoors an Amenity

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In traditional communities, amenities like pools and gyms are heavily desired for the residential experience. LandDesign’s team has worked on many projects providing this specific kind of amenity experience, however, they saw a different opportunity with Painted Prairie. The City of Aurora prides itself on its natural landscapes that are beautiful at every turn. LandDesign wanted to capture that essence in the planning process and make it a central theme. Instead of rebuilding the surrounding environment to fit the design, our designers used the landscape as a canvas to enhance the existing art of the land.

Our team designed several interconnected trails that weave in and out of the neighborhood, designating places of active and passive engagement to give a range of recreation options for residents. A linear park spans almost a half-mile from east to west, surrounded by lawn spaces and play zones to encourage constant engagement with nature at every step. Staying true to the region, our designers utilized native plants for the community’s flower beds and planters to unite the landscape with the surrounding City of Aurora, providing pollinator habitats for local bees, butterflies, and other species to call Painted Prairie home.

The Challenge

Knowing + Working with the Land

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Evolving the identity of an existing community is a difficult, but much needed undertaking that is key to instilling lasting value in a place. The original master plan for Painted Prairie detailed a town center around a centralized lake that would serve as an accent for the other natural amenities. However, our designers quickly realized they had to adapt their designs to accommodate a different issue.

The Mountain West region of the United States has a host of conditions that make it an entirely different playing field when it comes to development. One of these conditions is a water-strapped climate. The State of Colorado has specific regulations for personal water sources, requiring them to be state approved and regulated. Our designers understood these implications and what it meant for the local region, pushing to shift the main amenity focus to a linear park.

Our Approach

An Environment Network

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Physical

Reposition unused space as amenity gathering spots that blend with the natural environment

Functional

Showcase the pedestrian focus in the design through multi-modal paths spread throughout the site providing flexibility for how residents choose to traverse and explore

Social

Celebrate nature through passive and active engagement, placing extensive open space as essential components in the green network

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Physical

Reposition unused space as amenity gathering spots that blend with the natural environment

Homepage Header

Functional

Showcase the pedestrian focus in the design through multi-modal paths spread throughout the site providing flexibility for how residents choose to traverse and explore

Homepage Header

Social

Celebrate nature through passive and active engagement, placing extensive open space as essential components in the green network