8 OCT 15 | imagine a great boulder

A couple of days ago, on October 6th, I did something I’ve dreaded since I was in grade school: speak in front of people–close to 250 at Boulder’s E-Town Hall.

I made sure to get a good night’s rest, eat a hearty breakfast, and act cool around my coworkers. After downing 3 alcoholic beverages 30 minutes before the show I was ready to stand up and talk really fast. It was a Pecha Kucha style event where I had 18 slides and 5 minutes to speak on the topic of “Imagine a Great Boulder” Oh the possibilities!

You can see the video here. (Cough cough, my last name is spelled “AXTMAN” and it’s WORKSHOP8, all caps, no space). You can read an article about the event on the Daily Camera site.

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  • The 10 Happiest Cities – # 1 – Moneywatch.bnet.com
  • Top Brainiest Cities – No. 1 – Portfolio.com
  • Ten Best Cities for the Next Decade – 4th – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine
  • Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index – No. 1 – USA Today
  • Best Cities to Raise an Outdoor Kid – No. 1 – Backpacker Magazine
  • America’s Top 25 Towns to Live Well – No. 1 – Forbes.com
  • Top 10 Healthiest Cities to Live and Retire – No. 6 – AARP magazine
  • Top 10 Cities for Artists – No. 8 – Business Week
  • Lesser-Known LGBT Family-Friendly Cities – No. 1 – Wearegoodkin.com
  • America’s Foodiest Town – No. 1 – Bon Appetit magazine
  • Queerest Cities in America 2015 — No. 10 — advocate.com

Boulder—I Love Boulder! I mean, look at these rankings!

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Get cyclists off Broadway!

There are bike lanes on both 9th and 13th, yet it seems like every commuter cyclist feels the need to come down the pedestrian sidewalks of Broadway or on the actual road that has fast moving cars! GREAT cities have GREAT cyclists who use GREAT bike lanes.

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Tiny Houses

Let me build my tiny-ass house on a foundation in my friend’s backyard. Great cities are innovative and forward-thinking. I am a Boulderite, yet the only option for me to be a homeowner in Boulder is through the affordable housing program. Tiny is the future and we have yet to embrace it.

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Plain and simple… I wish Smooch, my go-to fro yo shop, was open when they say they’re open. I guess you could say that great cities have reliable frozen yogurt shops.

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Dog Poop DNA

In 2014 a Boulder City Councilwoman suggested that DNA be taken from abandoned dog waste in order to identify the very naughty owners who chose to NOT pick it up. Unfeasible and a waste of tax-payers money? Yes, but the look on a dog-owner’s face when you knock on their door, holding up their dog’s poop in a bag? Priceless. Great cities don’t have abandoned dog poop.

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Organic Drifters

I’m not talking about the chronically homeless here. I’m talking about people who make a conscious decision to drift. Some of them even hold up signs that say “Hungry Vegan!” In a perfect city, not necessarily a great city, we wouldn’t have drifters because they would all be at work.

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Naked Pumpkin Run

In 2009 the infamous naked pumpkin run came to a halt when the Boulder Police threatened to arrest and charge all gourd-topped streakers as sex-offenders. Great cities push the limits. Even the mayor was quoted as saying “I’m a little old for it, but it could be pretty cool to be running around with a pumpkin on your head and not much else.”

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Public Art

You put up art on the walls of your house, why wouldn’t you put up art on the walls of your city? WORKSHOP8 recently completed a public art mural at the 55th Street underpass in Boulder and I can’t even tell you how much of a positive response we received from the community. They absolutely loved it. Great cities have great public art. YES!

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I’m not saying that single-family housing is shit, but cities NEED density. Boulder NEEDS density. We can’t build out so let’s build up. More multi-family housing equals more people LIKE ME who will be able to own in Boulder.

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Affordable Groceries

Why is it that the only grocery stores I can walk to from my apartment on Broadway are Alfalfa’s, where I can buy asparagus water for $7, and Ideal Market, where I can buy asparagus water for $6? Great cities have affordable grocery stores and markets centrally located for ALL people.

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Bike Sticks

Well, they already removed the bike sticks off Folsom, but why not do something fun and creative like flower pots? A Bostonian did and it looked awesome. Although the City didn’t approve it, let’s always strive to make our public spaces better than they were before—both functionally AND aesthetically!

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Fast Public Transportation

An easy concept to preach, a harder one to implement, but the fact is that great cities employ fast and direct transportation. You can make the argument for buses all day long, but in my opinion, light rail will always win.

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Boulder Reservoir

You can’t swim at the north end of the Boulder Reservoir without getting chased out of the water by a man on a jet-ski. What I going to say is, “Free the north end to the hippies”! but my coworker informed me that the north end may be a bird sanctuary so I retract this slide.

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Modern Architecture

Why is the McDonald’s on 28th Street my favorite piece of modern commercial architecture in Boulder? Are our efforts being solely absorbed into the residential market? Great cities have great modern architecture—in both the residential AND commercial realm.

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Less Brick (more cool stuff)

Let’s mix it up! We have so much brick in our City—why not break out the comfort zone and use interesting, innovative materials? If McDonald’s can do it, so can we.

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Don’t Divide the City

When you divide and chop a city into very specific pieces, you divide a community. When you try to put extreme restrictions on growth in a City, you are keeping people who need affordable housing, like me, OUT of Boulder. Great cities have great citizens who vote no on certain propositions.

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Got Porn?

Finally, great cities utilize technology—we’re connected, we know where we’re going and the city is ours at the touch of our iPhone screens. So why is it that the WORKSHOP8 studio is still frequented by people inquiring for porn? Yes, we used to be a porn shop, but now we are a design and architecture studio. Spread the word!

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Overall though, I wouldn’t change anything in Boulder—except slides 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15 and 16.





Emily is passionate about good-looking, affordable housing in Colorado. She loves spending the weekdays with her colleagues working on exciting and creative design solutions and her weekends with her boyfriend and friends skiing, hiking, beer-tasting, and soaking up all that Colorado has to offer.