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Event Recap: 2015 Rocky Mountain CitySummit

The "Transforming Spaces into Places" panel.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

Amy Liu of the Brookings Institution.

The event drew a record 650 attendees in 2015.

Bill Strickland, CEO of Manchester Bidwell.

The annual Rocky Mountain CitySummit explores citybuilding in Denver. The 2015 event was described by several attendees in one word: "inspiring."
The 2015 edition of the annual city-building extravaganza known as Rocky Mountain CitySummit drew 650 people, a record for the spring event. It was the fifth such summit organized by the Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP). The year's big themes: walkability, inclusivity and opportunity.
 
"If you build great urban centers, you can employ more people," said DDP CEO Tami Door in her introductory remarks. "This is why we are bringing our counterparts together to build relationships and share best practices. When you leave, we want you to leverage these relationships and make great things happen."
 
Mayor Michael Hancock followed Door with a few words on Denver's drive. "The Rocky Mountain West is has its own ethos," he said. "We have never lost our pioneering spirit, doing things with unlimited vision and leading by example."

Brittany Morris Saunders, DDP vice president of public affairs, said the day's highlights included the talks from Bill Strickland, author of Making the Impossible Possible and CEO of Manchester Bidwell in Pittsburgh, and Jeff Speck, a New York-based urban designer and author of The Walkable City.

Strickland is bringing his National Center for Arts and Technology to Denver, a job-training program he launched in the Steel City, and his speech immediately attracted commitments from IMA Financial, Tryba Architects and Jason and Ellen Winkler of Industry Denver to fully fund it.

Speck's talk set social media afire with a critical take on local and national transportation priorities. "He was inspiring about how we have to stop building around the car," said Saunders. "He said our emphasis around bikes is laudable, but we still had some work to do with our big transportation infrastructure projects." 

Saunders said that other notable participants included Amy Liu of the Brookings Institution, who challenged Denver to up its exports (Salt Lake City is a model); Matt George of Bridj, the Uber-like bus startup that Saunders said is "absolutely" coming to Denver soon; and Javier Gonzales, mayor of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Here's a roundup of some of the top #RMCitySummit comments and observations on Twitter:
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