Civitas Wins International Making Cities Livable Award for Belmar Town Center

Civitas has won an Honor Award for Excellence for its Belmar Town Center design in Lakewood, Colorado, from the recent 55th International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) Conference in Ottawa. The award acknowledges Civitas’ role in transforming the derelict Villa Italia suburban mall into the lively Belmar as a preeminent example of creating a “Healthy 10-minute Neighborhood” – the spring IMCL conference theme that refers to a neighborhood in which everyday trips such as to school, shops, services, work, recreation and public transit can be made by foot or bike within 10 minutes.

“A significant aspect of Belmar’s success is the quality of the public realm designed by Civitas,” wrote the IMCL awards jury in its statement about the project. “The attractiveness and walkability of the street grid combined with a park and eco-friendly street designs encourage active mobility. The lively, beautiful, and completely traffic-free plaza at the heart of the new center gives Belmar a gathering place and locus for growth of a new place-based community.”

Civitas principal Scott Jordan gave International Making Cities Livable event attendees deeper insight into the firm’s Belmar design as well as two more of the firm’s Denver projects – the Central Platte Valley and Stapleton. In his conference session titled “Reclaiming Community – the River, the Shopping Mall and the Airport,” Jordan shared the design process and resulting outcomes for the metamorphosis of the three neglected sites into thriving “10-minute” communities.

Jordan also shared Civitas’ collaborative role with Elkus Manfredi Architects and Denver-based developer Continuum Partners in the transformation of a dying midcentury shopping mall into the Belmar Town Center in Lakewood for which they received the IMCL conference honor award. Organized around a large public “piazza” that celebrates civic and social activities essential to urban life and surrounded by a mix of uses, Belmar has become its community’s cultural heart. The 100-acre site now boasts a vibrant grid of 22 new city blocks designed to encourage pedestrian traffic, promote community building and emphasize the importance of public spaces.

Images Courtesy of Civitas

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Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at