There are a few medium-large buildings downtown but this feels like it ought to be the downtown of a midwestern city, pop. circa 50,000. In fact, it the downtown of a city with a population closer to 500,000. There is a lot empty space and the immediate fringe of downtown, at least to the south, feels like a dying or dead zone, with a lot of empty weedy parking lots and ex-businesses. The whole notion of "downtown" is foreign, I think, to much of the population of El Paso County. I've overheard people, including some bulked-up military types, saying they are "afraid" of downtown. Possibly they are afraid in the same way that I am "afraid" of shopping malls: i.e., the spatial, commerical, and cultural arrangement feels like a foreign inhuman environment, hostile, impossible to connect with.
There is a large encampment of homeless people in the one big park downtown. There are a lot of homeless generally in COS. The cost of living and renting around here is not particularly high. I wonder what proportion of the people in the park are ex-military?
Palmer High School (last photo) is a beautiful building, and a pretty good school apparently.
Things get greener, a bit livelier, and certainly more prosperous immediately north of the downtown core. There have been a lot of AL posts on the residential neighborhoods in this part of town. Colorado College was founded by the same General Palmer who founded the city, and CC has been physically integrated into the street plan since the beginning. It was from the beginning, and deliberately, not an isolated campus. But somehow this spatial integration hasn't been as dynamic and successful as it might have been. Maybe it's a case of the college and the city not being able to develop planning that accommodates the needs and interests of both.