August 2017: The Harley Davidson Dealership we designed in Parker had its Grand Opening last weekend August 5. On August 3 was the Ribbon Breaking with a Harley riding through the ribbon, of course. It is exciting to see this new approach to transforming an old shopping center and use of parametric design to create a place that is truly unique and give the place a special identity associated with the freedom and experience of riding a Harley!
The Longmont City Council Approved the re-zoning of the Bohn Farm Project on Tuesday, May 24. The approval allows all the key aspects of the project to proceed including higher density housing, the non-residential space, the .85 acre park, which supports a 2 acre CSA farm on the property as well. The approval allows the project to move into the more detailed design phase. See this link for the article in the Daily Camera.
We had another interesting Salon at ULI Boulder where Andy Knudtsen of EPS explored some of the economic factors that affect place. Sometimes we know what we think will make a great place from a design perspective but the economics of supply and demand, getting financing, justifying the investment, risk and reward all are as integral to the design. These factors become important layers to achieving a sense of vibrancy beauty and vitality. It seems that this is what we are looking for but having a harder time achieving. Here is a good article from ULI LAND on the subject.
Thursday night was the second ULI Boulder Salon at Shine. Martha Roskowski of Bikes Belong presented a fantastic overview of the bike situation - from Copenhagen and Amsterdam to New York and Chicago to Boulder. What lessons can we learn? How can we intensely increase our biking in what many consider biking nirvana - except in the Downtown and east of Folsom and Broadway and so many other palaces. while the off street network is great and always getting better, the on-street network is largely an add-on that makes people not really feel safe (28th Street anyone?) 1% biking in the US, 10% in Boulder compared to 50% in Copenhagen!! Well we still have a way to go. And to get to 25% here by 2020 is a radical goal. There was a great discussion but the transition to a truly bike centric town from the American suburban nation that is much of Boulder will be an interesting challenge!
ULI (Urban Land Institute) Fall Meeting was last week in Denver. There is always such a huge array of offerings at large conferences and I am but one person but a few trends seemed to emerge from my observations and discussions with others: - Enrique Penalosa spoke of a radical re-thinking of the city and especially the suburbs. This is based on an intense introduction of open space, pedestrian-only spaces, transit, and density. He rightly suggests that the backward looking approach of New Urbanism is not equipped to deal with the opportunities and challenges of the present and future. New ideas about water, energy, biophilia, food, community, resources, transit, and culture make the traditional city need a substantial re-thinking.
- Many sessions, culiminating in the Bulder Urban Agriculture Tour in Boulder on Saturday highlighted the new opportunities to integrate agriculture directly into our cities and towns. Medians, left-over spaces, yards, and open space all become chances to bring food closer to where we live, create fresh local and affordable food and create a strong sense of community. It is a new definition of mixed use and provides a new way to think about space, place, and food. And it is the new amenity in communities: out with the golf courses, in with the gardens!!
-Health is the new gold standard of sustainability. This reminds us again that the ultimate purpose of the built environment is for people and to foster health on many levels. Current design practice and the planning of our cities can create disease especially obesity and diabetes brought about by inactivity. The best neighborhoods promote health by making movement mandatory and enjoyable - a natural part of daily living. And integrate local healthy food, And community.
Make sure you get your 10,000 steps a day. It keeps the doctor away.
If you are in the Boulder/Denver region please come to the first Salon series of ULI Colorado | Boulder. It will be at Shine at 2027 13th Street in Boulder from 5-6:30 on October 4th. This is the first in a series of semi-monthly events to look at issues that impact Boulder titled: "Re-envisioning our City". I will be giving the first talk which will explore what would change about the form of Boulder if it were to become a truly low carbon emission city. Lessons from Europe, China, the UAE and beyond will be explored. Then applications to Boulder will be considered. This will be a short talk with a follow-up discussion. $5 Admission covers the room fee. Food and drink are available for purchase. Come listen, discuss, and connect with others interested in the future of the city. And drink, eat, and be merry!