The West Area Plan Photovoice Project 2019
The West Area Plan Photovoice Project showcased the photographs of ten Denver residents who live in West Denver. The photographs they took highlight things they believe the city should invest in for their neighborhoods, as well as things they think are unique about their neighborhoods. These residents/artists signed up to participate in this project because they care deeply about their communities and are invested in improving the conditions of their neighborhoods.
The project was a collaboration between the City and County of Denver’s Community Planning and Development Department and the University of Denver (DU). The West Area Plan Photovoice Project created a space for community members to connect with other residents and engage with City employees to celebrate and share ideas for improving the future of their neighborhoods. The Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship and Learning (CCESL) at DU developed and facilitated Photovoice workshops to support goals identified by the City. Project goals included: 1) Participants engage in individual and collaborative idea generation focused on interests, desires etc. for the future that could be addressed by the planning process for West Denver, and 2) City employees see the West Area communities through the eyes of the people who live there which in turn informs the design of the West Area Plan.
These artists come from different backgrounds but they all share a love for one of the six neighborhoods that make up West Denver. It is more than home to many and it is worth preserving. As an artist and member of the West Colfax Association of Neighbors (WeCAN) Elizabeth Walsh states, “I believe that WeCAN create a resilient neighborhood that nourishes and shelters us all, even in the face of climate change and gentrification pressure. I believe that through the West Area planning process – and the Photovoice project in particular – we have an opportunity to build on our diverse strengths and community assets to create a socially just, ecologically thriving, and economically vibrant West Denver.”