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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

In Colorado, outdoor dining concepts are grounded in pragmatism—and the latest public health research.

FROM THE FEBRUARY 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

Cities around the country have held design competitions over the past several months, inviting ideas from designers and planners for how to “winterize” outdoor dining. Many of the resulting concepts, however, have been criticized for being impractical or too expensive, partially because of the vacuum created by the typical competition process, in which design teams receive a brief and proceed with limited feedback.

A program run by the state of Colorado in partnership with the Colorado Restaurant Association and the Colorado Restaurant Foundation offers an alternative model. Launched in October, the program has two components. The first is a $1.8 million pot made up of public and private funds that is available to locally owned restaurants (corporate-owned chains are not eligible). The second is a series of design concepts developed for specific spatial conditions, such as sidewalks, parking stalls, closed streets, and rooftops. Where the Colorado initiative diverges from a design competition is in its collaborative and interdisciplinary nature. Each concept was developed during a one-day charrette by a team of landscape architects, architects, and engineers, as well as public health experts, restaurateurs, general contractors, product suppliers, and government officials, all of whom were grouped and assigned one of nine pre-identified conditions by the event organizers. (more…)

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