June 30 2014

Farewell to The Grid from Jonathan Knight: Denver, Colorado

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.”

Tourists outside a recreational marijuana shop in Denver, ColoradoTourists from Iowa pose in front of a recreational marijuana shop in Denver

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)—The mountain in the Budweiser Coors Light beer logo—and one of the hardest 14,000 foot peaks to climb in the state, ColoradoDownclimbing 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.

Jonathan Knight

Jonathan Knight is an award-winning planner and a recent graduate of Kansas State University with a Master's of Regional and Community Planning and Minor in Business. His interest in planning probably came from his avid playing of "Roller Coaster Tycoon" as a child: always fascinated in how complex things in the built environment worked; how they fit together; and why people feel certain ways in different environments. He has worked in sustainability, regional planning, and school planning. He is a professional freelance photojournalist and has been published in national, regional, and local publications. Upon graduation, Jonathan followed his dreams of living near the Rocky Mountains and moved west to Denver, Colorado. At some point during his time at The Grid in 2014, he will have climbed all 58 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado--a 12-year journey completed! Jonathan will be blogging about innovative urban planning, transportation, and housing projects occurring in the Denver region as it seeks to be a world-class city for businesses and people.

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This entry was posted on Monday, June 30th, 2014 at 9:53 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Transportation, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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