NORTHWEST DENVER — Spring is here, and growing season is just around the corner. Those of you whom garden, know the best way to cultivate, sow, maintain, and harvest a high-yield garden, lies within understanding the limits of your space, planning the use of that space, making necessary amendments, providing water infrastructure, providing access to energy needs, maintaining the systems in place, monitoring the health of your community, and addressing deficiencies as they present themselves.
There is, of course, another approach, you can assume that the seeds from crops you planted long ago will sprout and grow healthy without additional resources and attention, leave well enough alone, let nature take its course and hope for the best.
If your life depended on the food you produced, which approach would you take?
Honestly, in our garden, we do both. We take the high yield approach to be both smart about our use of resources, and to maximize the benefit to both my dining table, and for those we share our bounty with. But when a random tomato, spinach, or cilantro plant manifests, as they inevitably do, we do what we can to accommodate it, but pull it if doing so benefits the whole.
Is there an analogy here, yes, it may not be a good one, but its what came to mind when I approached this blank page, during this time of year, faced with a substantial number of land use decisions, in various states, be they completed, planned, or ongoing.
Northwest Denver is a special part of town, and I have been taking an active role, when the opportunity presents itself, to guide growth in a mindful and sensitive way. When doing so, I take the approach of the high-yield gardener, and think about the local context and, where possible, deliver results that are going to serve our community well both now, and for generations to come. Future generations that will hopefully appreciate not just the proximity to downtown and consumer amenities, but also the unique character wrought by the generations prior and the role and value that durability, practicality, and beauty play in making places endearing and enduring.
However, only you, the Northsiders, intrinsically get it, by virtue of living here, what it’s like to live in such a great part of town. Changes, failings and all, you’d be hard pressed to find a more authentic Denver, than Northwest Denver.
Conveying our uniqueness, maturity as a community, oneness as a place and people, is an everyday struggle for a body of 13 citywide council representatives with varying degrees of experience. Some of the people I work with, by their very nature, are the mindfully-engaged gardeners, and working together comes easy, almost naturally, meaning Northwest Denver values are easily understood.
But in our diverse city, as one should expect, there are a large number of passive gardeners, while they may not believe one-size should fit all, there is still a tendency to leave well-enough alone. The difficulty here is that change is the only constant; therefor we must be able to readily adapt to thrive. And while we have proven to be able to adapt to the rules and policies of the city, the adaptation needs to go both ways, and Northwest Denver is making headway on getting the city to think about Denver more holistically, and recognize the importance of sustaining its unique places like Northwest Denver.
Fortunately for me, the Northwest Denver spirit is alive and well in the people I meet, and opportunities present themselves on a weekly, if not daily, basis to move Northwest Denver in a positive direction.
If you would like to discuss Northwest Denver, I would like to invite you to my weekly conversations I hold in the community. These conversations have been informational at times, but mostly have been productive in both bringing attention to previously unknown issues and concerns, and bringing together change makers from different networks, neighborhoods, or backgrounds to achieve important, unique and worthwhile outcomes.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you,
Councilman Rafael Espinoza, AIA
District 1, Northwest Denver
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