The vibrancy of cities come in all shapes and sizes. Many believe that what works in small town settings may not be applicable for cities such as Jacksonville, which have struggled with embracing walkability. If we look hard enough, we may realize that this type of view should be challenged. Despite the diversity around the globe, all lively cities, downtowns, and urban cores have something in common: being pedestrian friendly. Today, Metro Jacksonville highlights Boulder, Colorado.
Situated 25 miles northwest of Denver, Boulder is known for its high quality-of-life. In recent years, Boulder has been called America's Brainiest City by Portfolio.com, the Best City to Raise an Outdoor Kid by Backpacker Magazine, a Top 10 City for Artists by Business Week, and America's Foodiest Town by Bon Appetit Magazine.
According to the 2010 US Census, the median age of its residents was 28.7 years compared to the US median of 37.2 years. Also home to the University of Colorado, Boulder is known as one of the most liberal small cities in the United States. For example, it passed its first HRO legislation in 1974. Furthermore, it became the first city in the country to levy a tax on the carbon content of fuels as a cost-effective means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2007.
As far as transportation goes, Boulder is well known for its bicycle culture. Despite only having a population of 105,000, the city features hundreds of miles of bicycle and pedestrian paths, offering uninterrupted travel throughout most of the community.
Last, Downtown Boulder's Pearl Street Mall is one of the nation's most successful urban pedestrian malls, solidifying the city's heart as a 24/7 destination for all ages. Any city looking to enhance the quality-of-life offerings and walkability in its downtown and core neighborhoods, should examine what Boulder has accomplished over the last few decades.
Here is a brief visual tour of downtown Boulder by Metro Jacksonville's Robert Mann.