Op-Ed: Downtown Denver's Homogenous Renaissance

There's a lot to like about the resurgence of downtown cores. But as is the case elsewhere, Denver's core has only attracted a small subset of the wider city's population. Most people still call the suburbs home.

1 minute read

June 19, 2018, 1:00 PM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

17th Street, Denver, Colorado

Ken Lund / Flickr

According to Vincent Carroll, we shouldn't greet the resurgence of downtown Denver with unmitigated celebration. Drawing on the Downtown Denver Partnership's 2018 State of Downtown Denver report, he points out that "by any calculation, downtown Denver's household statistics are a startling outlier — and a reminder that the glib urbanist cliches that have become so commonplace are an impediment to clear thinking about the nature of modern cities."

Since the later decades of the 20th century, Carroll writes, changes in downtown have been a positive for the area. "I'm a fan of much of the change. But that transformation shouldn't be oversold as a general model. As a place to live, it appeals to and is affordable for only a segment of the population. Families and especially families with children look elsewhere."

While many urbanists tend to "sneer at sprawl," Carroll advises greater consideration for the low-density, far-flung neighborhoods where most of the population lives. He cites Steve Hogan, the late mayor of Aurora, Colorado. "His legacy, which includes Aurora Highlands south of DIA with potentially 60,000 future residents, will do far more to meet housing demand than Denver's ramped-up campaign to subsidize affordable units such as the micro-apartments slated for the old First Avenue Hotel on Broadway."

Monday, June 4, 2018 in The Denver Post

Aerial view of snowy single-family homes in suburban Long Island, New York

New York Governor Advances Housing Plan Amid Stiff Suburban Opposition

Governor Kathy Hochul’s ambitious proposal to create more housing has once again run into a brick wall of opposition in New York’s enormous suburbs, especially on Long Island. This year, however, the wall may have some cracks.

March 20, 2023 - Mark H. McNulty

Empty parking garage at night with yellow lines marking spots and fluorescent lighting

Rethinking the Role of Parking in the American City

In cities big and small, the tide is turning against sprawling parking lots, car-centric development, and minimum parking mandates.

March 16, 2023 - The New York Times

A futuristic version of New York City, with plants growing neatly on top of modern skycrapers.

Friday Eye Candy: 20 AI-Generated Cityscapes

AI-generated images are creating new landscapes and cityscapes, capable of inspiring awe or fear.

March 17, 2023 - Chris Steins via Medium

Minneapolis Stone Arch Bridge

Panel: Minneapolis Zoning Updates Should Reflect Mixed-Use Future

A discussion of post-pandemic changes in work and commuting concluded that the city’s overhaul of its zoning code should be less restrictive with land uses.

49 minutes ago - MinnPost

Bike Light

People on Bikes Outnumber Drivers in the City of London

The City of London’s efforts to increase biking and reduce driving has finally achieved a long-term goal: a preference for biking over driving.

1 hour ago - Forbes

Aerial view of farmers' market with white booths in downtown Boise, Idaho

Planners Look to ‘Activity Centers’ for Sustainable Development

Existing hubs of ‘hyperlocal’ economic activity provide a model for urban density.

March 23 - Smart Cities Dive

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

HUD’s 2023 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.