Boulder Rolls Out the GREEN Carpet

Boulder, tagged as the brainiest, healthiest, and smartest city in America has also been called one of the "worst dressed" cities by GQ magazine. Could the GQ tag, "worst dressed," have something to do with the fact that Boulder residents take their active lifestyle seriously and that it also extends into the workplace? If you like to run, walk, or bike to work, what type of clothing are you going to wear?

Fashion industry and GQ take note. Boulder flaunted its green lifestyle last weekend with a GREEN Carpet Fashion Show. Runway models and residents took over a mile-long stretch of Pearl Street that was closed to cars for the day. Innovative fashions seen on the street included recycled, upcycled, adventure-friendly clothing. Barefoot sandals, called the Invisible Shoe, were paired with Verve yoga pants by one local runner. Umba Love clothing, whose style was described by a designer from the collective as "Gypsy Love Pirates," was paired with feather hairpieces and earrings from Revibe Boulder. And Green Guru, flaunted its post-carbon gear, including tote bags and bike accessories, made from recycled rubber.

Founded by entrepreneur Hillary Griffith, Boulder Green Streets mimics the 70-mile long Ciclovia that takes place every Sunday in Bogotá, Columbia. Every Sunday, in Bogotá, cars are blocked from entering the 70-mile long promenade, and the streets are filled with bicyclists, joggers, strollers, and vendors of all types.

While several larger cities in the U.S., including New York City and Portland, offer a once-a-week street closure for pedestrian and sports use, what makes the tiny Boulder Green Streets event a very BIG idea is the fact that Griffith has made it scalable, to neighborhoods throughout the city.

Her vision is to make it easy for neighborhood groups to decide to close local streets to cars a one day and turn the area in front of their homes into a play space for all kinds of sports activities. Having one group, such as Boulder Green Streets, handle all the details related to the permitting process and street closure, makes it easy for residents to create very local events that reflect the best that the neighborhood has to offer.

Griffith has even offered funding for several neighborhoods to do "art in the street" projects -- along with street closures -- in which they create a permanent work of art on the street surface to illustrate what their neighborhood is all about. Is it a neighborhood with a strong focus on community gardens? Children? The Arts? Yoga? Bicycling? Outdoor sports? The artful images will portray in a colorful way what binds a particular neighborhood together.

Last year, Boulder Green Streets was home to the Four Mile Heroes - Fighters Parade. Volunteer firefighters who battled the state's most costly mountain fire marched down the mile-long parade route, to the cheers of citizens who had come out to greet them. Because it was a car-free zone, the firefighters had to leave their fire trucks parked at the start of the parade route. Face to face with a grateful community, and led by several local marching bands, including a Rock 'n Roll choir, they were able to shake hands and gather hugs all the way down the street.

This year, Boulder's "worst dressed" citizens got to celebrate their "anything goes" lifestyle by joining in a one-mile-long BGS People Powered parade.