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Opinion: Denver Needs New Direction on Housing

A Denver writer calls attention to the city's worsening housing affordability, gentrification, and displacement challenges, and prescribes a YIMBY response.
September 11, 2020, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Andy Bosselman, former editor of Streetsblog Denver, writes a guest opinion piece for The Denver Post to call attention to the gentrification of Denver, as prices rise and, according to the article, the city does little to stem the city's affordability crisis. 

If you’re not rich and you would like to continue living in your neighborhood, you have reason to worry about a recent report that ranked Denver as the second most intensely gentrifying city in the U.S.

Between 2010 and 2017, more than 100,000 people moved to Denver. But the city issued just 35,000 permits for new housing units in the same timeframe.

In the process of this rapid growth, according to Bosselman, its neighborhoods populated mostly by Latinos that have seen the most newcomers. "Between 2012 and 2017, in nine mostly Latino neighborhoods of West Denver, the number of people with a college degree increased 66%, according to a report from the West Denver Renaissance Collective," according to Bosselman, who cites the West Denver Renaissance Collective for the data. "Those making more than $100,000 increased 97%. And out of 24,000 households, 3,900 were displaced between 2015 and 2018, including 5,800 children." 

According to an interactive map from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition cited by Bosselman, Denver neighborhoods most likely to follow the same path of gentrification and displacement are parts of Five Points, Capitol Hill, North Denver, and West Denver.

To Bosselman, the clear solution to the city's affordability challenges is to build more housing, but the city lacks any sort of target for planners and developers to work toward, and the problem is only to get worse as the financial effects of the pandemic take deeper root around the city.

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Published on Monday, September 7, 2020 in The Denver Post
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