Morley Paper

Part 1

            Denver’s 51 historic districts have undergone preservation amidst renewed thematic renovations that have uplifted their aesthetic appearance. For example, LoDo heralded a series of modern housing units that were incomparable to the rundown apartment blocks that littered the neighborhood. It also created iconic structures that were architecturally interesting as opposed to the dull designs before. The integration of environmental conservation techniques helped to blend the structures, such as the Coors field with their surroundings. Conversion of warehouses into well-styled lofts aided in enhancing the landscape thus making it livelier than before. In Seattle, most of the historic districts adopted the art-deco style thereby integrating current architectural designs with mediaeval formats to provide a Victorian presence. This was a contrast from the previous façade, which comprised of building blocks with minimal patterns. For instance, the Pioneer Square Skid-Road Historic District encompassing a plaza as well as numerous blocks enhanced the outlook of the city thus camouflaging the beaten pathways that plagued the area for some time.

An emphasis on the fixing of exteriors especially on recreational facilities gave these neighborhoods a facelift thereby aiding their glow that replaced the dull “feel” of previous times. For example, the Ballard Avenue Historic District was redecorated to illustrate the cultural tastes of various European nationals in homage to the dominant immigrant population therein hence adding glamour (Morley, 2006).  Albuquerque also adopted environmental conservation mechanisms in its preservation approach hence the restorations blended with the surroundings to upgrade the status of the city in contrast to its earlier image. For instance, downtown Albuquerque contains variously themed restaurants, theaters, and banks interwoven with carefully selected flora thus boosting the aesthetic beauty that was lacking. It also incorporated art in the designs such as those visible in the Alamosa Center, which includes a park, children development center, churches, meeting rooms as well as clinics. They thus offered a variety of services in a communal setting thereby increasing the rate of interactions among people.

Part 2

Research of the three cities reveals that the planners were interested in preserving the vibrancy of the communities while introducing technological advancements within the neighborhoods. For example, Denver’s River North district congregated various food artisans who integrated creativity in the display and stocking of products to represent the diverse cultures inherent in the community. While it led to the sprucing of the neighborhood, it reflected the mixed race traditions too. Historic preservation of districts could not be possible without the support of the community. Members of public had a significant role in determining the direction of such plans due to the need for the local, regional, or federal authorities to access taxpayer’s money. As such, consultative forums were organized in all cities to seek the opinions as well as consent of the public. It is however evident that some influential administrators were roped to convince various stakeholders about the value of such policies (Morley, 2006). For example, the mayor of Denver was instrumental in shoring public support while different lobbyists for specific industries applied pressure to ensure the success of the process. In Seattle, the art industry had significant influence in the inclusion of creative designs as a celebration of the city’s uniqueness while the financial sector applied much pressure for the adoption of this program in Albuquerque. Environmentalists too had sway in Albuquerque and Seattle as well due to their desire to promote consciousness in the construction boom.

Part 3

            The Grant Avenue Historic District in Denver did not overlook its original objective of being a common meeting place for people from different aspects of the society. In fact, the community center still served as a recreation site in which people would meet for musical performances as well as watch arts productions. In contrast, Pioneer Square Skid-Road Historic District in Seattle had to abandon the original structural designs in favor of those with better seismic protection due to the natural calamities that affected the area. Whereas preservation efforts in Albuquerque largely followed the intended uses of the facilities, minor alterations were made to the Alamosa Center in order for it to be compatible with other modern areas nationally. The neighborhoods new identities enabled them to display the talents as well as the potential of the inhabitants in improving their standards of living by revealing their industrial strengths. In most instances, this was influenced by the economic forte of the area as well as the socioeconomic prowess of the different industries. As such, these neighborhoods have become symbols of immense architectural power as well as certifications of the need for technological advancements due to their historic features. Whilst they integrate various concepts, they highlight the uniqueness of different cities as well as their inhabitants hence paying tribute to the diversity of American people.

Part 4

            Denver, Seattle, and Albuquerque effectively cajoled the masses by highlighting the economic as well as cultural benefits that would accrue from the restoration. By having the support of the public, it became easier to effect the changes.

Part 5

            Preservation and redevelopment efforts of such historic districts illustrate that the western American urban space is filled with ingenuity and a rich affiliation to traditions as well as cultures. It reveals that the heritage of a region is valuable to its successive generational inhabitants. Such actions therefore influence people’s thinking by making it clear that creativity is vital in architectural design (Morley, 2006) In fact, Judy Morley lays an emphasis on the artistic input of various developers in creating the various styles within these districts. She credits these impressionists on transforming the areas under preservation thereby signaling the shift from financial brokers to artistic prowess. Morley clearly states that the ingenuity exhibited through the structural designs offers a glimpse of the diversity of American cities while celebrating the cultural heritage of their native lands. It is therefore her view that without the contribution of these people, the work of city planners, boosters, chambers of commerce and other lobbyists would not have received the same kind of high profile. In her writing, she tends to show a bias for the integration of art into the preservation efforts thereby praising the work of artists against other stakeholders in providing the facelifts witnessed. She had glowing tributes to the individuals involved in the initial designs since they improved the aesthetic beauty of the landscapes in line with the cultural heritage of the various cities. Morley took this stand as a way of laying prominence to the arts because they are a reflection of society’s values as well as level of civility. Whilst they celebrate the diversity within the communities, Morley’s skewed assessment is a pointer to the urge by various groups to conserve the vibrancy of their modern times while paying homage to the cultural artifacts that make them unique. She is therefore reminding the reader that an artistic impression of different symbols can have a lasting effect on the legacy of a city based on the inhabitant’s socioeconomic preferences.

In making the above opinions, Morley manages to prove the value of these artists by illustrating the difference they make upon the transformation of various structures. Their rationale for redesigning buildings, squares and parks receives great reviews from residents as well as critics thus confirming the superiority of their ideas over others’. For instance, the alterations made to the exterior of numerous Seattle districts illustrate coordination between modern raw materials and varying textural surfaces in abstract fashion. The stunning atmosphere that results from the restoration efforts is a testament to the vision of the artists in correlating social, political as well as economic qualities of urban life in a multicultural setting. In making the case for the importance of art in the preservation of these districts, the author studies the meanings of various symbols throughout the districts and it emerges that they glorify specific aspects of the people’s culture (Morley, 2006). They are thus representative of the wishes of the citizens thereby their prestige is detectable as well as their emotional attachment to the structures. The sites therefore acquire their historic identity by illustrating the varying levels of human development at particular periods while showing glimpses of futuristic tendencies as well. Technological advancements inherent in these structures are reminders of the potential of these cities hence their facilitation of legacies conforms to their roles as symbols of influence.










Work Cited

Morley, J. M. (2006). Historic preservation & the imagined West: Albuquerque, Denver, & Seattle. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.   

























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