Since joining the Urban Land Conservancy in the beginning of the year, I came to recognize the Denver Shared Spaces team as one in the same with ULC. The lines that shaped each organization into its own entity didn’t exist in my eyes, and I tended to forget that we were two completely separate nonprofits. With their team sitting in on our staff meetings, participating in ULC activities and sometimes sharing a workspace, it became easy to blur the lines.
However I was finally forced to recognize DSS as their own organization in the past few weeks, as ULC and the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships announced that DSS would be finding a new home. This became a reality when proposals were due to ULC last Friday by 5 pm. These proposals will eventually decide who will take over for the funding and housing of Denver Shared Spaces in 2017.
I must admit that although I will miss each member of DSS here in the office on a regular basis, this is a huge step for an incredible organization. When ULC and DOSP jointly founded DSS almost seven years ago, the idea was to create an organization that would encourage and support shared spaces throughout metro Denver. Megan Devenport of Building Bridges led the one-woman team starting in 2012, and was a major player in getting DSS where it is today. Quite a bit of evolution and growth has taken place since 2011, and DSS is quickly outgrowing its current role (hence the need for a new space, and me feeling a bit melancholy about seeing less and less of DSS each day).
While ULC might have played a key role in launching DSS, they have done their fair share in shaping the way we view shared space today. DSS constantly served as a reminder for the importance of collaboration, which is one of their driving proponents within the shared space mentality. For almost six years now, ULC has shared an office space with the Denver Preschool Program. From coffee to staples to work happy hours, we share most work related tasks with DPP, and have learned the importance and helpfulness of working in a shared space.
I believe that acting as host to an organization whose sole mission is to encourage shared space has driven ULC to develop a similar mentality. We promote shared space in almost all of our commercial rental properties, as well as our in our internal office. As DSS evolves in the future, ULC hopes to continue our collaborative efforts. If there is anything that DSS has taught us over the past five years, it’s that two brains are certainly better than one. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication towards promoting shared space here in Denver. We wish you the best of the luck in the future!