Painted Prairie Named Best Masterplan Community of the Year

Press Release

Civitas’ design and planning of Painted Prairie in Aurora, Colorado, has also been recognized as the ‘Best Community Land Plan’ and ‘Best Landscape Architecture for a Community’ at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC)’s 2024 Gold Nugget Awards

Image Courtesy of Painted Prairie

Denver, Colorado June 25, 2024  Painted Prairie, a growing development in Aurora, Colorado, has received three Grand Awards and one Award of Merit in this year’s 61st Annual Gold Nugget Awards, presented by the California Building Industry Association (CBIA) at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC). The community has been recognized with Grand Awards for ‘Best Community Land Plan,’ ‘Best Landscape Architecture for a Community’, and ‘Masterplan Community of the Year’, and with an Award of Merit for ‘Best On-the-Boards Site Plan’ for the Painted Prairie town center. The neighborhood’s design and planning was envisioned and implemented by the internationally recognized design firm, Civitas.

Civitas’ master plan for Painted Prairie includes 30-acres of open space across seven parks, each featuring native landscapes and plants from the Colorado plains. With a community-wide emphasis on shared spaces, the parks include playgrounds, dog parks, gathering spaces, trails, community gardens, and art installations. A central town center, currently in development, will also include outdoor gathering spaces for concerts, movie nights, and markets, along with a mix of retail, restaurants, and hotels.

“Our career-long passion has been to understand and extract beauty from the native landscape, and to connect people with that self-sustaining nature, and with the story of the land,” said Civitas Principal, Craig Vickers, RLA of the team’s motivation. “Painted Prairie is designed to pay homage to the prairie and its colors and textures. Through landscape design and art, we can tell stories of what’s native and what’s been brought here, and how people have connected with the land – the prairie – for generations.”

While Painted Prairie is a new suburban community, it’s inspired by pre-war urban neighborhoods with eclectic house sizes and styles, diverse demographics, walkable amenities and green spaces coming together in an intentional yet organic way. The design and development team’s commitment to sustainable development, community building, and environmental stewardship differentiates Painted Prairie from conventional suburban neighborhoods and sets new standards for future development.

The Painted Prairie ownership group is a collaboration of long-time Denver developers Alberta Development and Resolute Strategies, with whom Civitas has partnered on other projects, including the transformation of Stapleton Airport into a world-renowned urban redevelopment now known as Central Park.

“When we sat down with Mark Johnson at Civitas and Peter Calthorpe to create the vision for Painted Prairie, we didn’t do it so we could win awards,” said Chris Fellows, President of Resolute Strategies. “We set out to design a great place for people to live and create a home they could be proud of. Since then, we’ve received Community of the Year honors from three different sets of judges with different sets of criteria who have independently decided that Painted Prairie is truly a best-in-class community. That speaks volumes to the dedication of our partners who have worked so hard to make dreams come true for our residents and push the boundaries of what is possible for the city of Aurora. I’m very pleased and honored by the awards.”

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About Civitas

Founded in 1984 with the core purpose of “creating healthier cities,” Civitas is an urban design and landscape architecture firm that shapes cities for the better by transforming urban places into living, breathing ecosystems, and seamlessly blending nature with city life. Known as expert listeners and designers, the firm engages communities to co-create sustainable, city-defining places. Curbed has recognized Civitas as one of five practitioners “who are putting the public back in public space,” and Fast Company has acknowledged Civitas in its Innovation by Design Awards. A consultancy and design studio, Civitas advises on a wide range of strategies for re-imagining urban life and places, working in U.S. cities coast to coast and around the world. For additional information, visit

About Painted Prairie

Painted Prairie is a neotraditional master-planned community located in Aurora, Colo. Painted Prairie is one square mile bordered by Piccadilly, Himalaya, 56 th , and 64 th avenues, and sits directly across from the spectacular Gaylord Rockies Resort. The community is five miles from Denver International Airport, nine miles from Anschutz Medical Center, and 17 miles from downtown Denver. Designed by Civitas, the community covers one square mile, the neighborhood is centrally located in the newly formed Colorado Aerotropolis, an emerging economic hub where the aerospace, logistics, hospitality, healthcare, bioscience, manufacturing, and transportation industries converge. Painted Prairie was named the Community of the Year in 2021 by the Denver MAME Awards; the 2022 Community of the Year at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) The Nationals competition, and in 2024 at the PCBC Gold Nugget Awards.

About The Gold Nugget Awards

The Gold Nugget Awards are the oldest and most prestigious residential design awards in the nation, and recognize those who improve our communities through exceptional concepts in design, planning and development. Presented by PCBC, the Gold Nugget Award program celebrates over 60 years of upholding the legacy of excellence that was born in 1963. The Art of Design recognizes the consistent and sustained innovation, imagination, and vitality of the entrants from across the United States and International countries. Winners are determined each year by a panel of leading industry professionals to recognize great design and planning.