Arts and Culture

Mojo to Go: Paul Laurie Embraces "Spirit of the Wild West"

Paul Laurie: Anything is possible.
Paul Laurie: Anything is possible. From the Hip Photo
Has Denver lost its mojo? The city that was considered the coolest in the country a dozen years ago has gone cold; the spirit of the Mile High City is deflated. In "Denver Has Lost Its Mojo: Here's How to Get It Back," we served up five reasons why people should celebrate Denver now, and five ways to help get that mojo back.

We also reached out to other members of the community for their ideas. Next up: Paul Laurie, founder of Walking Tree Travel and Invisible City.

You're a Denver native who came back. Why?

I grew up in Denver and left just after high school to go to college, work and travel around the world for most of my twenties and thirties.

I believe Denver still has the spirit of the Wild West: Anything is possible, and the identity of the city is still being formed. I returned because I wanted to do my small part to help shape what the city can become.

Has Denver lost its mojo? What would help?

I equate mojo to identity and identity to community. When Denver was a smaller city, it was easier to feel the mojo because there was a stronger sense of community. Denver has recently experienced rapid growth. This rapid growth has diluted and elevated the city simultaneously.

The dilution comes from the homogeneous nature of the people moving here. They want the same things (breweries, dispensaries, sporting events, etc.), so therefore more of those things open up to match the demand. Then more people looking for these things move here, perpetuating the cycle.

What would help break this cycle is to focus on promoting creativity and diversifying the options we have within hospitality. Instead of just promoting the main corridors for entertainment, what if there were micro locations throughout neighborhoods that could contain a little bar, art gallery, pop-up ten-person dance party, tea shop, book store, poetry reading, etc? Break down the regulatory barriers to entry, and the diversity of experience will follow.

Anything is possible in Denver. People crave and support new experiences and embrace the spirit of the Wild West. Build within that framework, and the people will come, full of energy and mojo.

Do you have ideas for how Denver can get its mojo back? Send them to [email protected]
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