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Event Series

Building Denver: Speaker Series

What Does It Take To Build A Better City?

This fall, History Colorado presents four speakers from a variety of backgrounds to explore everything from brick and mortar to economic theory and architectural savvy. Join us to uncover answers about how a city's made, for whom, and how you can be involved. Technology. Culture. Economy. Politics. Four speakers, four chances to dig deeper than a headline and uncover history being made in our moment.

These lectures will presented online via Zoom. If you purchased a ticket previously, it is still valid for the online event.

This event series is part of Building Denver, 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. Learn more about the Building Denver Initiative 

Policy Over People

Esteban Gómez

Join visual anthropologist Dr. Esteban Gómez as he looks at how privately-managed and profit-driven economic policies, like transit-oriented development (TOD) and school choice, have impacted Denver’s health and education. What is it like to be a young person living in a city that just experienced one of the most significant increases in the cost of living, or as an established resident who is now threatened to be displaced by more affluent residents who have sparked new development and investment?

Esteban Gómez is a digital anthropologist, visual ethnographer, filmmaker, and curator at the University of Denver. He has served as a co-host for Sapiens: A Podcast for Everything Human and is currently producing Snapshots of Confinement, a film on the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Gómez is also researching the effects of transit-oriented development and gentrification on urban school segregation and enrollment decline in the Denver Public School system.

This event will streamed online via Zoom.

Colorado History: Colorful or Colorblind?

Tom Romero

Please join us for a conversation with Dr. Tom Romero, most recently the Interim Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Denver and the founding  and current Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Institute for the Study of (in)Equality (IRISE).  A native Denverite and advisory board member of History Colorado’s Lost Highways podcast, Dr. Romero will share with us the complex history of race and racism in “Colorful Colorado” and challenge us to directly confront what racism means for us today while providing ideas for us to move forward in our work to achieve equality and justice.

Dr. Romero is an Associate Professor of Law and is Affiliated Faculty with the Department of History at the University of Denver. The author of numerous articles, book chapters, and essays, Dr. Romero teaches and researches the legal history of the American West, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between race and immigration law, school desegregation, property, land use, water law, urban development, and local government. He has served as the interim Vice Chancellor of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Associate Provost of Research and Curricular Initiatives for the university during the last eight years.

This event will streamed online via Zoom.

The City You Don't See

Tom Gougeon & Richard " Dick" Farley

Join this exploration of all of the invisible things that often shape our cities, presented by two people who have spent much of their lives wrestling with the "invisible dictators of form." This conversation is about the factors—like  fire-fighting access, setbacks, bulk planes, view ordinances, underground utility requirements, zoning codes, flood plains, soil conditions, and parking—that affect the shape, character, and functionality of city life. 

Thomas A. Gougeon is the President of the Gates Family Foundation, a private Colorado organization active in public education, community development, natural resources, and local news. Prior to his current role, Tom was a Principal and Chief Development Officer for Continuum Partners, a developer of mixed use urban real estate projects; served as the CEO of the Stapleton Redevelopment Foundation; and was an assistant to Mayor Frederico Peña. 

Before starting his own firm in 2010, Richard “Dick” Farley was a principal at Civitas Inc. for 8 years and served as the Deputy Director of Denver’s Community Planning and Development office in charge of urban design for nine years. A practicing architect for 13 years prior to these roles, Farley’s honors include the Denver Chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ Award for Outstanding Service to the Built Environment.

This event will be streamed online via Zoom.

Class Struggle in the City

Erica Smiley

The character of a city has historically been in line with the kinds of work that happens in it: steel in Pittsburgh, finance in New York, oil in Dallas, and real estate in Denver. The stories of these metropolises are intertwined with the life of their working classes. As the city has changed, particularly in the last 50 years, how has work in it changed? Who does the work? Who owns the work that happens? Are they rooted in the community or far away, via an app? And how are workers organizing themselves today? Hear directly from movement leader and organizer Erica Smiley on these topics and themes.

Erica Smiley is the executive director of Jobs With Justice (JWJ). A long-time organizer and movement leader, Smiley has been spearheading strategic organizing and policy interventions for JWJ for nearly 15 years. Smiley currently sits on the board of the SEIU Education and Support Fund and The Workers Lab, and participates in the Bargaining for the Common Good advisory committee. She is a WILL Empower Fellow, which is a joint project of Rutgers University and Georgetown University, and has co-authored with Sarita Gupta a book on bargaining and working-people democracy.

This event will be streamed online via Zoom.