Gentrification, housing and the changing face of Denver
Re: “Gentrification,” June 25 Perspective feature.
In 1973, I moved to Denver’s West Highlands. The neighborhood was relatively safe. Prices were low; schools, good; houses, charming. Today, this neighborhood is gentrifying — no, exploding! New restaurants offering varying cuisine are everywhere. Small houses are being enlarged or replaced with huge homes. Condos are popping up like weeds.
Unfortunately, these changes are not all good. Some of the new replacement homes don’t fit the neighborhood, with their flat roofs and strange designs. The price of housing continues to climb. Street parking is becoming scarce. Traffic is heavier with drivers and cyclists who have no understanding of how to navigate the narrow streets with parking on both sides.
Overall, though, I think gentrification is improving my community. West Highlands is a thriving neighborhood full of pride, diversity and activity.
Diane L. Akins, Denver
Gentrification has been and always will be ever thus in America, for better or worse: sometimes it is both at the same time. Developments follow both money and progress, and progress sometimes means history and cultural identities are paved over; otherwise the Dodgers would still be in Brooklyn, and we would still be taking Route 66 instead of Interstate 70.
Craig Marshall Smith, Highlands Ranch
The recent articles about affordable housing have drawn needed attention to the growing inequities in our city. None of the responses or writers, however, have considered a most valuable piece of the puzzle — the minimum wage.
If we were to join other cities and raise our minimum wage to $15 per hour, it would not solve all the issues of affordability, but it might make a big boost for those at the lower levels of income in our community.
Many are working more than one job to make short ends meet. City Council, are you looking into this? I sure hope so. It is more than time to do so.
Andrew Sweet, Denver
In response to recent articles on gentrification, efforts to make Denver more affordable have to include reducing transportation costs by promoting biking, walking and public transit. According to GOBankingRates.com, owning a car in Colorado costs $11,470 per year on average. If Denverites can only reach their jobs via car, then this exacerbates the burden of increasing costs of living. Therefore, the city has to invest in bike-route expansion, encourage walking to work, and improve RTD so that more people can use public transit to commute and afford the service, too.
John Henry Vansant, Boulder