Highlands Garden Village


Denver, Colorado

The community of Highlands' Garden Village, located 10 minutes northwest of downtown Denver, occupies the former site of the amusement park Elitch Gardens.  The 27 acre (11 ha) site has been transformed into a mixed-use neighborhood with diverse community amenities, new open spaces, and a variety of housing opportunities.  The community’s pedestrian-friendly design provides safe and convenient walking paths, with connectivity to primary areas of interest.

Housing at Highlands’ Garden Village is both diverse and contextually responsive.  A wide range of rental and for-sale housing types help mix different income groups and family structures, fostering increased socio-economic integration and yielding a realistic balance of housing types for the balance of nearby jobs.  Single-family homes at the site’s perimeter complement the character of the neighborhoods they face.  Buildings constructed at Highlands are designed using a community-based design review process, cornerstone in soliciting public input. 

Important cultural amenities at Highlands’ Garden Village include a school, a walkable retail village, and an historic theater renovated by a local non-profit.  A network of gardens, plazas, and open spaces creates a vibrant, friendly neighborhood with ample public meeting space.  Tree-lined streets form an attractive public armature for new development, while a restored urban creek, the preservation of mature trees, and incorporation of historic features help uphold the unique character of Highlands’ Garden Village.  

Townhouses facing a green court
Co-housing at Highlands' Garden Village
Shared open space
Community garden forming part of the open space
Entrance to co-housing courtyard
Highlands' Garden Village Master Plan

Project Summary



Affordable Housing Corporation (Denver, Colorado)


Neighborhood Plan | Design Guidelines


Adaptive reuse of 27 acre (11 ha) site, formerly an amusement park | 291 DUs


Residential completed 2002 | Commercial completed 2007

Additional Information: 

 Awards:2007 Urban Land Institute (ULI) Award for Excellence2006 American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Award for Healthy Community Design2005 | US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Award for Smart Growth Overall Excellence2005 National Association of Local Government Environmental Professionals (NALGEP) National Example of Transit Oriented Development.2005 'Organic Style' Magazine – The Best Places to Live2002 '5280' Magazine – Denver’s Best Places to Live