News & Press: ACSP Annual Conference News

Denver’s City Beautiful Era: Take a Tour through Time at #ACSP2017

Wednesday, August 9, 2017  
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In the 19th century, the City Beautiful movement arose with a mission to create livable urban environments with healthy conditions and plenty of recreational opportunities for cities. Among Colorado cities, Denver was by far the best example in the state at the time, under the leadership of then Mayor Robert Speer.

After rapid growth, Denver was a large city by 1901, but perhaps not beautiful. According to Colorado Encyclopedia, under Mayor Speer, civic beautification began in earnest and during this three terms, workers graded and paved more than 300 miles of city streets, installed sandstone sidewalks and granite curbs and cleaned them every night.

Speer’s greatest love, however, was Denver’s park system, which provided flood and firebreaks and recreation and clean air for residents. Under Speer, parks throughout the city were landscaped, and benches, playgrounds, fountains, and drinking fountains were installed (the last a move by temperance advocates to cut down on alcohol consumption). Children were encouraged to play in the fountains, and there were no “Keep Off the Grass” signs as there were in New York’s Central Park.

Visit some of the historic sites and City Beautiful parks still in existence today on the #ACSP2017 Downtown Denver Walking Tour on Friday, October 13. Add one of these interesting tours to your conference registration!

Thank you to our host school, University of Colorado Denver, for organizing all of the #ACSP2017 Mobile Tours.


The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning promotes education, research, service and outreach in the United States and throughout the world by seeking to:

  • recognize diverse needs and interests in planning;
  • improve and enhance the accreditation process, and;
  • strengthen the role of planning education in colleges and universities through publications, conferences, and community engagement;
  • extend planning beyond the classroom into the world of practice.


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