On 9News this morning there was a quick segment on a story that was posted by USA Today. It featured a list of top 20 cities gentrified in the United States, and though most of the heavily gentrified cities are on both coasts, good old Denver ranked No. 2.
Now, we already sort of knew that, because all you need to do is drive around Denver for a few afternoons. That’s what I did a couple of years ago, and that’s how I decided to begin a blog. Its first name was “Denver, What the Hell Happened to You?”, but there was blow-back about using the “H” word. So it was suddenly less problematic to be Chandler in Denver. (Please note, the image at the top of this post is from a 2015 photo from Brad K. Evans on a piece in Westword; Evans invented Denver FUGLY. And many of these photos at the top of those posts, they indeed are FUGLY.)
But gentrification throughout Denver certainly was not less problematic in terms of what was being built, especially in neighborhoods that made up of older, smaller homes aided by new zoning concepts that allowed new homes (especially townhomes) that could be much taller. (The Soviet-style block “trains” that chug along with hundreds of apartments are a species all its own.) It’s understandable that cities change and grow, but in the case of Denver, it’s like a swarm of Japanese beetles devouring Virginia creeper vines. It is still sort of a shock.
The ranking was compiled by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, which notes this in its mission: “We work with community leaders, policymakers and financial institutions to champion fairness and end discrimination in lending, housing and business.”
Below are links to the story in USA Today about these rankings; several Westword stories about gentrification in Five Points, Cole and Whittier, with a lot of information from the American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau; a piece in the Texas Observer about Texas cities undergoing gentrification (and a lot of those new buildings look just like here), and finally, a link to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, which works for equity in housing, healthcare, education and many other issues.