It’s a big deal when Denver’s top architect publishes an essay saying this city is failing at design downtown. That we are building one mundane apartment building after the next. That we are wasting the opportunity to become a national leader and ruining the urban landscape by putting profit above civic pride.
Jeff Sheppard said all that, though in more polite ways, in a guest editorial in last Sunday’s Denver Post. And we’d be wise to hear him and do what he’s suggesting: Knock it off immediately.
Actually, he said that part more nicely, too, proposing that we “pause and consider whether there might be more appealing, innovative approaches to building a timeless, dynamic residential urban core before it’s too late.”
My interpretation: No more blocky apartment buildings that create nearly flat, five-story walls along our pedestrian streets, obliterating sunny sidewalks. No more structures that ask people to live in shoe boxes with a bare minimum of windows and balconies. No more quick construction of lofts-that-aren’t-really-lofts, set along anonymous corridors that dissuade neighborly interaction.
At least until we make a plan to encourage developers to do a little better. And we can, as a community, do better than to erase our own past by tearing down important buildings that tell the city’s history, replacing them with nondescript structures that increase our housing stock but don’t improve it. […]