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.

2 minute read

September 11, 2020, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Biking in Denver

Arina P Habich / Shutterstock

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.

Monday, September 7, 2020 in The Denver Post

View of Mount Hood at golden hour with Happy Valley, Oregon homes in foreground.

Clackamas County Votes to Allow ADUs, Residential RVs

County officials hope the zoning changes will help boost the housing supply in the region.

June 18, 2024 - Mountain Times

Single-family homes in a suburban neighborhood in Florida.

New Florida Law Curbs HOA Power

The legislation seeks to cut down on ‘absurd’ citations for low-level violations.

June 16, 2024 - The Guardian

Aerial view of intersection in New York City with yellow cabs and zebra crosswalks.

Planners’ Complicity in Excessive Traffic Deaths

Professor Wes Marshall’s provocatively-titled new book, "Killed by a Traffic Engineer," has stimulated fierce debates. Are his criticisms justified? Let’s examine the degree that traffic engineers contribute to avoidable traffic deaths.

June 13, 2024 - Todd Litman

Close-up of two children sitting on edge of swimming pool with their feet in the water.

Beating the Heat: Expanding Access to Swimming Pools

The swim season for Los Angles County public pools has been extended, with swim facilities open for five months to provide relief from the hot weather.

15 minutes ago - ABC7 Eyewitness News

Scooters Portland

Report: Municipal Fees and Taxes Hinder Shared Micromobility Adoption

City taxes and fees on shared bikes and scooters are, on average, much higher per mile than similar taxes on cars.

1 hour ago - Streetsblog USA

Wildfire burning at night on hillsides next to Lake Elsinore, California.

California Faces Early Surge in Wildfires

Summer is just beginning, but wildfires in California have already burned more than 90,000 acres.

2 hours ago - Los Angeles Times

City Planner I

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner II

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner Supervisor

Department of Housing and Community Development

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.