News from the Top: Learning from Our Peers

June 26, 2019

Tami Door, President and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership serves as Chair of the International Downtown Association’s (IDA) Board of Directors. Tami offers her expertise in city building to members of IDA in her monthly News from the Top column.

As city builders, we know that one of the best ways to build our cities and drive our work forward is by learning from each other. Whether we’re seeking inspiration for our public spaces, discovering ideas on how to improve transportation infrastructure or looking for ways to strengthen how our individual organizations operate, cities all over the world can provide inspiration and learnings that drive our city building work. Earlier this month, the Downtown Denver Partnership took 125 of Denver’s public and private sector leaders to Copenhagen to study one of the  happiest and most bicycle-friendly cities in the world for our Annual Urban Exploration trip. We explored the city via their world-class bicycle infrastructure, met with their world-class urban place management leaders, learned how to get “hygge” and experienced first-hand how their public spaces are bringing joy and belonging to people young and old.

With a bias for action, we strive to bring learnings back and apply them in our city. Here are some key things that Copenhagen taught us:

  • Create fun public spaces: spontaneity comes from fun—let’s create this in our public spaces and find ways to bring the kid out in all of us.
  • Build bicycle cities: if you build the infrastructure in a user-friendly, people-first, and safe way, you won’t have to convince people to use it.
  • Keep thinking innovatively about financing: let’s be creative and capitalize on our public assets when it comes to financing within our cities and districts.
  • Elevate our work by building together: Continue to leverage public-private partnerships take our work to the next level.

You don’t have to travel across the world to learn from other cities—in the digital world we live in, shooting an email to a counterpart or even cruising Twitter can generate big inspiration. Keep building and learning from – and inspiring – each other as we build great cities.