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Archive of posts filed under the General Urbanism category.

Denver Urbanists Unite! MeetUp #9 Coming November 19, 2014

Mark your calendars! It’s time for another Denver Urbanists MeetUp!

Please join us for Denver Urbanists MeetUp #9 on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 starting at 5:30 PM at McLoughlins Restaurant and Bar, 2100 16th Street. McLoughlins is a great neighborhood pub right next to the Highland side of the Millennium Bridge.

Never been to one of our MeetUps before? Stop by! There is no program or anything formal, just a bunch of friendly people getting together to chat about Denver’s growth and development and to promote a positive urban agenda for Denver. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and build relationships.

2014-10-26_confluence-aerial

Click on the link below to see additional details. It’s free! Registration just helps give us an idea of how many people to expect. You don’t need to bring the RSVP ticket with you, and if you don’t register, that’s OK too. Stop by anyway!

Denver Urbanists MeetUp #9 Eventbrite RSVP

We hope to see you at Denver Urbanists MeetUp #9 on Wednesday, November 19 at 5:30 PM at McLoughlins. This is the last MeetUp for 2014 so see you there!


Denver Urbanists Unite! MeetUp #8 Coming October 8, 2014

Hey! Do you love cities and consider yourself an urbanist?

Please join us for Denver Urbanists MeetUp #8 on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 starting at 5:30 PM at McLoughlins Restaurant and Bar, 2100 16th Street. Please note the new location! McLoughlins is a great neighborhood pub right next to the Highland side of the Millennium Bridge.

Never been to one of our MeetUps before? Stop by! There is no program or anything formal, just a bunch of friendly people getting together to chat about city-building and to promote a positive urban agenda for Denver. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and build relationships.

Click on the link below to see additional details. It’s free! Registration just helps give us an idea of how many people to expect. You don’t need to bring the RSVP ticket with you, and if you don’t register, that’s OK too. Stop by anyway!

Denver Urbanists MeetUp #8 Eventbrite RSVP

We hope to see you at Denver Urbanists MeetUp #8 this Wednesday, October 8 at 5:30 PM at McLoughlins!


Denver Urbanists Unite! MeetUp #6 Coming May 21, 2014

Hey! Do you love cities and consider yourself an urbanist?

Please join us for Denver Urbanists MeetUp #6 on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 starting at 5:30 PM at Wynkoop Brewing Company at 18th & Wynkoop, 2nd floor. There is no program or anything official, just a bunch of friendly people getting together informally to chat about city-building topics and to promote a positive urban agenda for Denver! It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and build relationships.

For MeetUp #6, let’s talk alleys! Alleys? Really? Yes! There are several planning efforts underway to look at ways to make Downtown Denver’s alleys better, particularly opportunities for economic development, green infrastructure, micro public spaces, better circulation corridors, and generally sprucing them up. What do you think? Come to Denver Urbanists MeetUp #6 to explore these ideas with fellow city enthusiasts!

Here’s a photo (courtesy John Desmond) from a recent alley event in LoDo. Come to Denver Urbanists MeetUp #6 to learn more about the potential for Downtown’s alleys!

2014-05-14_alley-activation

Click on the link below to see additional details. It’s free! Registration just helps give us an idea of how many people to expect. You don’t need to bring the ticket with you.

Denver Urbanists MeetUp #6 Eventbrite RSVP

We hope to see you at Denver Urbanists MeetUp #6 on May 21!


Gentrification in Denver

The concept of gentrification is relatively new in the urban planning lexicon only appearing in print in 1964 and generally defined as “the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.” Whether or not a racial component of displacement is integral to this definition is still up for debate. With Spike Lee’s recent rant on this very subject as Brooklyn continues to gentrify, I decided to look at some Denver examples of gentrification to see how we compare.

The Whittier neighborhood, located north of 23rd Avenue and east of Downing (east of Five Points), has been closely associated with Denver’s black community since at least 1930. This was solidified by the 1950s as the so-called “color line” located near High Street in Whittier was broken as new housing opportunities were sought due to explosive growth in Denver’s black population following World War II. The white majorities along Race, Vine and Gaylord streets quickly vanished. A neighborhood that had once been nearly 100% white in 1890 had become 75% black by 1990. The process of this mid-century demographic shift has nearly been lost to history as the general perception has been that Five Points and Whittier have always been the heart of black culture in Denver. Whittier School did in fact become Denver’s first majority black school by the early 1930s as the population was increasingly segregated in this part of Denver especially following the Ku KIux Klan’s political grip on Denver and Colorado during the 1920s. But prior to this time, Denver’s black population was never large enough to dominate a majority of slots in any Denver school.

The Civil Rights Movement and fair housing laws eventually created more opportunities for housing choice, especially after 1970, and evidence of this is very apparent in Whittier. Between 2000 and 2010, there was a 43% drop in the black population of Whittier and an 89% increase in the white population (Whittier is coterminous with census tract 23). The neighborhood’s demographic breakdown now consists of a 29% black/42% white percentage, also indicating that there is a sizable Hispanic population in the area that was not in place in 1990 or 2000. Meanwhile, the black population has spread out into other areas of east Denver and into Aurora, no longer being forced into a few census tracts.

Whittier is not alone in this demographic shift that also coincides with a great influx of new residential construction (scrapes), home remodels and other major home improvements in most old Denver neighborhoods featuring historic homes with brick construction. We can quickly compare Whittier to Highland. I am referring only to the census tract located around 29th and Zuni, that includes “LoHi,” the area near Little Man Ice Cream. In 1990, this census tract (4.02) contained 5,986 people and was 65% Hispanic. Today (2010 census), the population stands at 5,314 people and is 35% Hispanic. Since 2000, the white population of the census tract has increased 32% and the Hispanic population has decreased 57%.

So ultimately I wonder if gentrification is only perceived as “bad” if it displaces minority residents. I know that for black homeowners in Whittier, many have suddenly lived the American Dream by selling their $39,000 home in 1989 dollars for $339,000 in 2014 dollars. While the faces in the neighborhood have changed, Whittier continues to be one of Denver’s most diverse areas. The influx of energy and money ensures that Denver’s central neighborhoods remain viable places to live over the long-term and are a welcome alternative when considering the urban decay and blight that a place such as Detroit is currently suffering. When you take any racial changes out of the equation however, gentrification’s foes are more quiet if we look at anecdotal evidence. One only needs to read the Denver Post over the past month about the booming Highlands neighborhood (west of Federal) pricing out even more people in the real estate market who are now looking at places such as Edgewater and Wheat Ridge where one can buy the same housing types as found in the 32nd and Lowell or 44th and Tennyson area for $100,000+ cheaper. These areas are being “rediscovered” and, although they have been historically “white” in character, they are no less deserving of the new investment.

Ultimately, cities are changing and dynamic places, if they are lucky. Otherwise, they can stagnate and decline. While it is painful sometimes to see places you grew up knowing in one capacity, there is a whole new generation of folks moving to Denver from across the country who have no preconceived notions of what an area is or is not supposed to be. So whether it’s Harvey Park in southwest Denver that has greatly increased its share of the Hispanic population (while it was nearly 100% white in 1960) or Whittier and Highland who have greatly increased their share of white population, the Denver area continues to grow and change—just as it has always done since 1858.


Denver Urbanists Unite! MeetUp #5 Coming March 26, 2014

Do you love cities and consider yourself an urbanist?

Please join us for Denver Urbanists MeetUp #5 on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 starting at 5:30 PM at Wynkoop Brewing Company at 18th & Wynkoop, 2nd floor. There is no program or anything formal, just a bunch of friendly people getting together to chat, collaborate, and advance a positive urban agenda for Denver! It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and build relationships. At our Denver Urbanists MeetUp #4 in January, we had a huge turnout (over 60 people!) and the conversations were awesome. For those of you who joined us in January, thank you!

For MeetUp #5, let’s talk walking! As in, how can Denver’s pedestrian environment be improved? What can we do to promote walkability in our city? How can we make our streets more friendly and engaging to people on foot? Come to Denver Urbanists MeetUp #5 to discuss these and other topics.

Click on the link below to see all the details and to register. It’s free! Registration just helps give us an idea of how many people to expect.

Denver Urbanists MeetUp #5 Eventbrite RSVP

We hope to see you at Denver Urbanists MeetUp #5 on March 26!