It’s amazing how much you can learn about a city like Denver, Colorado once you start writing about it.
My internship at The Grid exposed me to a variety of community projects or urban planning trends in Denver I had little knowledge of before I started writing. I got to cover the nation’s first legal marijuana laws, one of the largest transportation plans in the country, and emerging trends in the urban planning discipline exemplified in Denver like “tactical urbanism.”
I also didn't mind stirring up a little controversy with my posts by playing Devil’s Advocate to get readers thinking. Sometimes you can’t always highlight the good stuff! For example, my criticism of Stapleton, Denver, an internationally-acclaimed New Urbanism development. Or contemplating how homeless change the experience of the urban mall experience on the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver.
With each and every blog post I wrote I learned something new, expanded my urban planning knowledge, and made connections in the industry.
But it wasn't all sunshine and roses. My time at the The Grid and writing about Denver urban planning & urban design projects, came in the midst of a significant transition in my personal and professional life. One that is difficult for anyone to make.
Just a few weeks after accepting my appointment to The Grid as an Urban Planning Blogger, I decided that at the end of the spring I would leave my full-time position as Assistant Planner at Aurora Public Schools, and leave the city of Denver where I always wanted to live. I returned to my home state of Kansas where I graduated with a non-baccalaureate Master’s degree in Regional and Community Planning from 2007 to 2012. I would return to school for a second Master’s degree - this time for Landscape Architecture.
Downclimbing the summit of Mount Wilson (14,242 feet)
At twenty-five years old, debt-free, and living in Denver, it wasn't an easy decision. And The Grid blogs I wrote certainly didn't help! Here I was, learning about all the interesting, innovative, and cool urban planning practices happening in Denver, yet I was about to leave for exciting new educational and professional opportunities in a familiar place. But sometimes that's what it takes to get where you want to go.
So for me, my internship at The Grid was a fitting farewell to my two years living in Denver and a transition to new professional opportunities through my continuing education.
Credits: First image by Jonathan Knight. Second image by Gary Knight. Data linked to sources.