Design Conversations—Denver Planning Resources

Our Modern In Denver fall Design Conversations event took took place December 8 at General Assembly, with support from Slifer Smith & Frampton. Brad Buchanan opened the topic “Let’s Plan Denver Right” based on his op-ed published in Modern In Denver. Attendees participated in a group conversation to explore his position further and to discuss the future of Denver’s Built Environment. We’ve compiled a variety of resources for you to dive in deeper on the topic and encourage you to continue the conversation.

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Denveright is a community-driven planning process that challenges you to shape how we want to evolve in four key areas: land use, mobility, parks, and recreational resources.

2017 G.O. Bond
You can still make your voice heard on what you would like to see considered in the 2017 GO bond! Suggestions will be accepted through Wednesday, December 21.

General Assembly
General Assembly (GA) is a global education institution that specializes in the most in-demand skills across data, design, technology, and business. GA Denver hosts events and offers courses, classes, workshops in subjects ranging from user experience design to android development to digital marketing to data science.





  • Regarding the Denveright initiative, no city in America has taken such a city-wide approach to urban planning as Denver has.
  • In 2015, Denver permitted $6.3 billion in growth. “We don’t do anything small in Denver.”
  • It’s surprising, but Denver has the same density it had in 1950.
  • While there is consternation about design, placemaking, and walkability, the plan 20 years ago has made Denver one of the “it” cities in the US.
  • How do we have a conversation about the design of our city when it means something different than what people are associating growth with?
  • People think density is about people. It’s not about people! It’s how we move from place to place.
  • If we don’t have an educated voice about the future of Denver, folks will come in with a sliver of an agenda. The problem: You screw up 90 other things.
  • Driverless cars: Could they be the solution to retaining independence while aging? How will cities adapt? Driverless cars are not the sole solution. If we continue to develop how we have, we’ll have a pile up of autonomous cars.
  • Affordability is the reason people leave cities—how do we keep families downtown? It’s about design, the right kind of design.
  • Design for an 8 year old or an 88 year old. If you create that, it will work for everyone else.
  • Should urban living consist of single-family homes with yards? No, but there should be a soccer field and school—and a safe way to get there.
  • How do you change the minds of people? You can’t. We need to design for humans not machines.
  • Regarding the G.O. Bond, if you want a park or recreation center, develop a relationship with your councilman and provide feedback (before December 21) through the website. Tell your councilman what you care about.
  • With Denver’s community-based planning initiatives like Denveright, you have a huge voice—but you have to show up! For God’s sake, show up! If you don’t show up, you don’t have the right to bitch.


Let’s keep this going! Whether in your office or over dinner, continue talking about quality design. To help, here are some discussion prompts:

  • How is today’s generation of Denverites different than their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents?
  • How do we plan for the realities of today’s lifestyles?
  • How can someone who is not a city planner have an impact on developing Denver?
  • What role does suburban growth play in terms of planning in Denver proper?
  • How do we retain the character of our neighborhoods in the face of unprecedented growth?
  • Why do we need to plan so far ahead?
  • How can residents have a say in planning decisions in the city? -What about those who don’t have time to really dig in?
  • Where is there an emphasis on dollars spent?
  • What is the vision for Denver’s future?
  • Who gets to dictate Denver’s development?
  • Technology and design are rapidly evolving. How do we work those advancements—like driverless cars—into our urban planning now?
  • Context affects design. How do you plan for 20 years from now—for the unknown?



Save the date! Our next Design Conversations event takes place on February 9, 2017. Better yet, subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know about Modern In Denver events. 

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