Map of the week: How big is your Denver block?

Every so often, when I’m deep in some report or another, I find a map of Denver. When they really capture something interesting, I’ll share them. This week’s example uses a simple bit of math to quickly show how different parts of the city have developed.

Each block of Denver is shaded based on its size. The smallest blocks get a richer shade of green. The theory behind this map is that smaller blocks are more walkable.

A map of block sizes in Denver in 2014. (City and County of Denver)

The heart of downtown, along with the residential neighborhoods immediately surrounding it, are rated as the most walkable in this system. (You can find a slightly larger version of the full map on page 88 of this PDF.)

A crop of a block-size map focused on downtown. Elyria and Swansea are outlined in bold. (City and County of Denver)

In the east and northeast, neighborhoods like Stapleton and Park Hill, along with some of the Colfax neighborhoods, form clusters of smaller blocks.

Stapleton, at left, marks the edge of northeast Denver’s rectangular-block system. (City and County of Denver)

And in south Denver, the blocks get bigger and bigger as the city shifts into the curvy cul-de-sacs of suburbia. What struck me about this map, though, was that most of the city does stick to the traditional straight-line pattern, until you get into its far corners.

South Denver mapped by block size. (City and County of Denver)
Bonus map!

Another common measure of walkability is access to a grocery store. This map from a 2015 report shows grocery locations and highlights the areas within their walking areas. However, it will have changed a bit as new stores have filtered into places like Montbello.

A map of grocery store locations from a 2015 report. (City and County of Denver)
Got a map?

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