Boulder + design

Exploring the intersection of open space, nature + creative firepower that fuels Boulder

By Paul Hagey Sep 12 2017

Some Boulderites say it, most feel it. Driving back to Boulder — say from the Denver airport after a long trip — Highway 36 crests Davidson Mesa and exposes Boulder below, nestled up against the Flatirons, Mount Sanitas and Boulder Canyon with green space stretching in every direction.

Basically, from that moment on you’re enveloped, body and vision, in Boulder’s grand design of open space, vast tracts of land west and east of the highway and the mountains before you.

This expansive vibe and beauty bathes every aspect of Boulder life, fueling creativity, art, business, rest and more.

This natural mecca didn’t happen by accident, of course. Visionary residents over a century ago kick-started the effort to design the city we enjoy today.

Boulder-owned open space surrounds the city. The “Blue line” (to the left) marks the limit of city-provided water services, which prevents buildings creeping up the mountains west of town. Seventeen irrigation ditches, and several creeks, crisscross the town. Source: Boulder city eMapLink.

BLDRfly’s design issue

For its October issue, BLDRfly will explore the people and ideas shaping Boulder’s design, in all senses of the word: city infrastructure, open space, retail, real estate, graphic + environmental design and more.

We’ll profile Boulder’s “Wild Idea,” Boulder residents’ landmark decision 50 years ago to tax themselves to support open space and fund the city’s Open Space and Mountain Parks department, which now owns and manages over 45,000 acres.

Other design issue profiles rolling out in the next few weeks will include:

  • Boulder legend Dave Query, founder of Big Red F, which owns Centro, Jax Fish House, Post Brewing and more.
  • Lon McGowan, founder of alpine design cafe and retail shop Alpine Modern.
  • Jim Robertson, the new director of Boulder’s Planning, Housing and Sustainability department.
  • Hank Grant, co-founder and president of Boulder’s flourishing food truck, twinkle light and beer hangout spot Rayback Collective.
  • Jennifer Egbert, one of Boulder’s top real estate agents.
  • Founders and leaders from a number of Boulder-based design houses.

Stay tuned!

Paul Hagey

Paul Hagey is BLDRfly’s founder and editor. When not wrangling video, audio and words in the name of story, he’s riding his mountain bike, trail running and hanging with his awesome wife Jen and their young daughter.