Colorado is not always a state that comes to mind when you think of progressive urban policies, but having spent the past week exploring the cities of Fort Collins, Boulder, and Denver, Colorado has become one of the most cutting edge states when it comes to urbanism. Granted, I am by no means saying that Colorado cities are even near perfect; in fact, cities on the Front Range have experienced a tremendous amount of sprawling growth over the past few decades which now threatens to consume a significant portion of the farmland and open space along the I-25 corridor. But while urbanist projects in the Bay Area have been caught up in political battles and bureaucratic red tape, cities across Colorado have managed to accomplish numerous recent projects which have put them at the forefront of livability and sustainability.
Most of Colorado’s population lies along the Front Range urban corridor, with 3.1 million of the state’s 4.9 million people living along the 75 mile stretch of I-25 between the Denver Metro area and Fort Collins, and an additional 1.1 million in the adjacent 100 miles (including Colorado Springs and Cheyenne, Wyoming).
Three overarching aspects of Fort Collins, Boulder, and Denver put these cities years ahead of the Bay Area: pedestrian malls and public spaces, bicycle friendliness, and smart redevelopment. I plan on discussing each of these topics in the following days, as well as their implications for Colorado’s future and what the Bay Area can learn from them.
Also, I would like to draw your attention to the new 21st Century Urban Solutions Flickr, in which you can view pictures from my trip to Colorado along with other photos as they come. Enjoy!