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Urban and Regional Planning: City Plans

A research guide for those interested in Urban Planning at the University of Colorado Denver

Historic City Plans for Denver Neighborhoods

How can you find plans for specific Denver neighborhoods? Try these steps, in order. Finding recent plans is relatively easy. Finding historic plans provides more of a challenge. When you are researching a specific neighborhood, you will likely be able to find the current plan plus one or a few historic plans. While it's very much worth seeking out plans from time periods that interest you the most, you will not always be able to find all time periods for all neighborhoods. Steps for searching:

1. Visit the City of Denver's Denver Statistical Neighborhoods site. Choose your neighborhood from the list. Each neighborhood's page features any current city plans that encompass that neighborhood. Note that many neighborhoods are part of larger plans for Denver (as opposed to having separate plans). Each neighborhood's page also links to any other levels of city plan that affect that neighborhood, such as plans for developing the light rail system.

2. Visit Denver Public Library's Digital Collections site. Search for the name of your neighborhood and the word "plan." For example: "sun valley" plan.  This will bring up digital copies of any past city plans that encompassed your neighborhood and are in Denver Public Library's holdings. 

3. Visit the Auraria Library's City and County of Denver Urban Planning Documents Collection.

4. Try Googling the name of your neighborhood and "city plan" or "neighborhood plan." You probably already tried that, but sometimes it works. :)

5. Try contacting the City of Denver's Community Planning and Development office. When you contact them to ask whether they have the city plans that interest you, remember to tell them that you're a graduate student in this program.

These are the plans that are most likely to locate historic city plans for Denver neighborhoods. Remember that most neighborhoods will have some scattered plans available from different time periods. 


Finding Plans for a Specific City (Outside Denver)

How do you find a city plan for a specific city? Cities preserve and share their plans in a variety of different ways. Here is our method for searching for a city's plan. While our steps focus on finding a city's current plans, please follow the same steps if you're looking for historic plans.

  1. Google it. Search for "city plan" (in quotes) and the name of the city: "city plan" Edinburgh.
  2. Visit that city's City Council website. Look for a search box on the site. Search for "city plan."
  3. Find that city's public library system online. Search its catalog for "city plan." If the library holds a copy of the city plan, it's probably in the catalog. If it's only available in print, try contacting that library (there's usually an email address or a chat box for help). Let a librarian there know that you found the city plan in the catalog (include a link if possible!) and ask whether there's a way that you may have access to the city plan. This may or may not work, based on the library's time, rules, and resources. Please be understanding if it isn't a possibility at that library. It just may work, though!

Note: Since finding plans for a specific city can be a challenge, it's wise to make sure that you can find the plans before you get too far into a project that requires them.