Mural of three men

Events. Exploration. Experiences.

Building Denver Initiative

Decisions That Define a City.

BUILDING DENVER is a sweeping retrospective, present-day examination and a bold look ahead at how our city has been designed and the consequences that have emerged in our physical, social, and emotional spaces.
Is this the city we had in mind?


Denver is undergoing rapid urban and social change. 

Denver's population has exploded over the last two decades and is more diverse than ever. It was recently named the second most gentrified city in the country, and a global pandemic and climate change are impacting our urban landscape.

History Colorado is launching an initiative that examines the impact of architecture and design on our lives. Through exhibitions, podcasts, lectures, and more, the initiative creates opportunities for community dialogue, enabling us to collectively confront these intertwined issues in order to envision a healthier, more inclusive, and more equitable Denver.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, speaking at a public event.
Photographer: Mike Johnston

A City Imagined: A Historic Evening with Denver Mayors

Join us on August 19 for a historic evening. Three mayors and thirty years of local history will come together on a single stage at the History Colorado Center. Former mayors Frederico Peña (1983–1991) and Wellington Webb (1991–2003) join Mayor Michael B. Hancock (2011–present) to discuss the development of our capital city over the last forty years. Collectively they have served nine terms as Denver's most influential elected official, and their legacies surround Denvrites through the built environment of the city, which is the central topic of Building Denver


Is This the City We Imagined? Decisions that Define Denver. (Book of Essays)

A book of Building Denver-inspired essays called Is This the City We Imagined?, this anthology collects leading voices to consider where Denver goes from here. Using the history presented in the Building Denver marquee exhibition as a springboard, it offers diverse perspectives on how we can continue creating the city we want in the future. It is scheduled to be available in July 2021 at the shop in the History Colorado Center and in History Colorado’s online bookshop. Contributors include preservationist and Historic Denver Inc. executive director Annie Levinsky, National Trust for Historic Preservation senior policy director James Lindberg, architects David Pfeifer and David Tryba, Habitat for Humanity vice president María Sepúlveda, former Denver City Councilperson Elbra Wedgeworth, historian and professor William Wei, and others.

Available later in 2021. 

Made possible through the generous support of our sponsors: