larimer square
oxford hotel
friend of union station
platte river greenway
project for public spaces
denver partnership
historic denver
national trust for historic preservation

commerce city
new orleans

soul in the 'burbs
revitalizing brighton
derby's soapbox
old arvada, new
mother of LoDo


..give credit where credit is due. Without the early efforts of developers like Dana Crawford.. and without the leadership and vision of Mayors Federico Peña and Wellington Webb, Denver’s downtown might never have become the crown jewel it is today..
National Trust

"There are very few times when a plan is absolutely implemented, but we did everything she recommended and it's turned out wonderfully".
- Maureen Phair

larimer square
oxford hotel
edbrooke building
acme lofts
ajax lofts
kerouac lofts
pleasant hill lofts
flour mill lofts

Dana has been a featured speaker in more than 50 towns and cities on subjects ranging from preservation to placemaking.

"tell me and i forget, teach me and i remember, involve me and i learn"
- ben franklin

two generations ago, urban renewal authorities across the country began to try to "revitalize" downtown america.. the mindset was to erase the past and write history in the future.. countless historic treasures were destroyed.. countless opportunities lost..
around that time, some people began to think differently.. a group of private investors, mostly friends, backed Dana's plan to save a block of denver's history from the urban renewal wrecking ball.. she called it Larimer Square.. all the bankers thought she was crazy..
back in the 1960's, few planners had visions of saving history or working with "what is" to make authentic places.. urban renewal wanted to raze the past and build the future from scratch.. countless utopian plans failed to connect with people in the street.. in contrast, larimer square's design connects the past with the present.. larimer square has made a place where people have connected now for nearly half a century..
Larimer Square's actual transformation happened quickly.. thanks to hard work, good luck and plenty of special events that brought the public to the square, a block of downtown Denver's history was not only saved from destruction but transformed into a vital social center.. it's hard to imagine downtown Denver without Larimer Square..
placemaking isn't just about rehabilitating old buildings.. it's about bringing people together to enjoy each other.. making memorable events.. defining the heart of urban life.. over the last forty years, Larimer Square has grown into a placemaking institution.. Dana's works have earned her board positions on the Denver Partnership, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Urban Land Institute, the Project For Public Spaces and Honorary membership in the American Institute of Architects..
in 1983, with Charles Callaway, Dana renovated the historic Oxford Hotel, extending vitality to the Union Station hub of the Lower Downtown Denver or LODO neighborhood.. while a rugged 1980's economy in Denver was a challenge, the Oxford finally found a path to success.. the Oxford Hotel is currently owned and managed in a happy parntership with Sage Hospitality and enjoys a more than 80% occupancy rate..
Dana was first to bring the loft lifestyle to Denver, importing the concept from SoHo in New York City.. Denver's first lofts opened in 1990 in the Edbrooke Building.. the open plan and large living spaces fit the Colorado lifestly perfectly.. Loft Lifestyles have since taken Denver by storm.. Today, there are thousands of true lofts around downtown, including Jim Johnson's award winning Jack Kerouac Lofts.
one of the nation's premier loft projects, The Flour Mill Lofts opened doors in 1999.. Built in 1906 to store and process Colorado's bumper wheat crops, the Pride of the Rockies Flour mill served for four decades before it was abondoned.. after thirty years looking over the lonely Platte Valley, the Landmark building was lovingly transformed into luxury residences centered between downtown Denver and the Platte River Parkway..

While Dana has developed several individual properties and projects in Lower Downtown Denver and in the Platte Valley, she has also had influence on public projects, as with the Denver Partnership, development of the 16th Street Mall, the original Skyline Park, the Auraria Campus and even Coors Field..
the recent fastracks initiative passed in Denver makes Union Station the hub of a $6.2 billion regional light rail system.. Dana has established a Friends of Union Station non profit organization, engaged in the conversation to make the Union Station neighborhood the heart and pulse of the Denver and Rocky Mountain Region..
Today, you wouldn't know it, but before Joe Shoemaker, Dana Crawford and several others, the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River near downtown Denver was a dumping ground.. The Platte River Greenway Committee formed in 1974 to clean it up. Since then, the Platte River Greenway Foundation has raised and invested $60 million in a premier civic river park system which cities and counties around the country study and emulate.
in this picture from 2006, Dana Crawford is being introduced to a community assembled in Brighton, Colorado.. Dana has learned, through the years, to listen to all voices in a community, to help people resolve perceived conflicts by finding a shared, common ground.. when people focus to strengthen what they share in common, real community emerges..
real communitity consensus enables excellent city planning to emerge.. in Commerce City for example, the recent "Derby Master Plan" coalesced after extensive, open community meetings.. the patient process lasted over a year and, with great help from Nigel Stanton produced an outstanding result..
good plans balance the wants and needs of all members in a community.. awareness of the past and present help us develop effective plans to host a fruitful future..