Urban Exploration

An immersive citybuilding experience. The annual Urban Exploration program is an opportunity for business leaders to connect, learn about key urban issues and gain inspiration to make an impact on Downtown Denver

Mark your calendars. 2020 Urban Exploration Applications will open on January 13, 2020

It takes leadership and vision to rally a community, identify opportunities, face challenges, and solve problems. And, in order to create change we know we must be open and willing to learn from each other — that’s why we created the Urban Exploration program. 

Since 2008, we’ve been bringing together the public and private sectors. City leaders and business leaders. People from our downtown and people from theirs. We believe that the only way to continue building and growing Downtown Denver is to learn from people who are facing the same challenges we are in their respective cities. Who have already solved ‘that’ problem. Who can guide us in our pursuit to build an economically vibrant, healthy, and growing center city. 

Using the 2007 Downtown Area Plan to guide the itinerary and foundation of each trip — we focus on real issues that are facing our city; infrastructure, economic development, transit and transportation and public-private partnerships. The result is real inspiration leading to action as we build a great city.

2020 Urban Exploration Trip Details

The Downtown Denver Partnership will lead approximately 150 Downtown Denver business leaders, elected officials and key City staff members on its 13th annual Urban Exploration trip to Mexico City, Mexico. Using the 2007 Downtown Area Plan as a guide, the 2020 Urban Exploration program will visit Mexico City using the four learning lenses of: 

  • Public Space
  • Mobility
  • Inclusivity
  • Collaboration

Mexico City embodies the authentic public life on its streets that Downtown Denver aspires to, with innovative retail, makers, collaborative space, and artistic and cultural uses that provide inspiration for socialization and shared experiences.  Mexico City still faces many challenges, particularly in the area of mobility. As the 2nd largest city in North and South America, Mexico City’s metro system moves over 5 million people every day. This ridership, along with six other forms of public transit, the city moves an impressive 70% of the population by bus, tram, subway and train.  Amid justified complaints of congestion and pollution, Mexico City is addressing these challenges with both policy and infrastructure changes.

This year’s Urban Exploration trip will provide an opportunity for community leaders to network and immerse themselves in an educational setting where they will learn about city building principles from civic leaders in Mexico City.  With over 22% of metro-Denver of Latino descent and a quick connection in a 3.5 direct flight from Denver, studying Mexico City creates tremendous opportunity for future collaboration, offers the opportunity to reframe Denver’s conversation about inclusivity, and allows the Urban Exploration program attendees to play a proactive role in cultural education.

We are excited to be working with the Biennial of the Americas, who will also be visiting Mexico City immediately prior to the Urban Exploration trip, with a focus on building business, civic and cultural relationships throughout the region. If you plan on attending both trips please let us know and will coordinate to make sure your travel is seamless.
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Previously Explored Cities:

2019 – Copenhagen
2018 – Los Angeles
2017 – Portland
2016 – Downtown Brooklyn
2015 – San Francisco
2014 – Seattle

2013 – Toronto
2012 – Chicago
2011 – Philadelphia
2010 – Vancouver
2009 – Washington, D.C.
2008 – Portland

Lessons from one of the world’s most bicycle-friendly cities

Piep and Jack, on the Bicycle Colorado our policy team and attendees of the Downtown Denver Partnership’s Denver Urban Exploration trip, spent June 11-14 in one of the world’s most bicycle-friendly cities—Copenhagen. Read their reflections of how Copenhagen made conscious, thoughtful decisions to create one of the world’s most livable cities.

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Urban Exploration Reflections