A year ago, we saluted Flags of Denver
, a fascinating project by Steven Chester, whose goal is to create a flag for all 78 officially designated Denver neighborhoods
. And he's almost halfway there.
Over the past twelve months, Chester, whose day job is as a Denver city planner, has created thirteen new flags, bringing the total completed to date to 33.
According to Chester, corresponding via email, finding the best way to represent city sectors is complicated, in part because so many of them are currently moving targets.
"The neighborhoods that have undergone the most change have proven to be the most challenging," he notes. "A neighborhood like Highland, for example — it's one of the oldest neighborhoods in Denver, predates the city as a Native American encampment, was a neighborhood for the rich and well off since it was away from the smoke, etc., of downtown, then became an Italian immigrant neighborhood, then the hub of the Chicano movement in Denver, then the hub of urban reinvestment and new construction more recently. Good luck summing that all up in a few basic shapes and colors!"
He adds that "other neighborhoods, like Jefferson Park, North Cap Hill and Cap Hill, for example, share similar stories. The neighborhoods like Harvey Park that haven't been 'reinvented' multiple times over the years have proven to be a bit easier to design."
Still, Chester keeps plugging away, and if he manages to complete two flags each month, he'll be done in roughly two years. But to him, "the journey is more important than the destination. I am trying to challenge myself, but since this is purely a passion project, the most important part is to have fun. If it stops being fun, then I'll stop."
Thus far, the reactions from the residents of neighborhoods for which he's completed flags "have been positive," he reveals. "A bunch of folks have reached out to me with ideas for their respective neighborhood flags, which is cool, but I remind them that this is just my take on a flag for each neighborhood, and I encourage them to design their own flag for their area."
Of late, he's been contacted by "people from RiNo or LoHi or Mayfair, who say that they don't see a flag for their neighborhood on my website, and I have to remind them that I am starting with the 78 statistical neighborhoods. Overall, there is confusion about what a statistical neighborhood is. Some make sense (like Cap Hill), some boundaries seem right but the names seem wrong (like Civic Center vs. Golden Triangle), and some just seem arbitrary (like Speer, which most people think is either Wash Park or Alamo Placita). Statistical neighborhoods aren't perfect, but at least they are a starting point, and the names/boundaries won't change over time."
In the meantime, Chester points out, "I have gotten a bunch of requests from people to buy my flags, and while I never intended to produce and sell them, I have been looking into it and hope to have something set up in the next couple of months."
Continue to see all 33 of the neighborhood flags Chester has assembled to date — the latest thirteen first, followed by the previous twenty, complete with captions that reproduce his descriptions. For more information, visit the Flags of Denver Facebook page