White privilege and gentrification in Denver, ‘America’s favourite city’

Downtown denver
Downtown Denver / © Alamy

For the first time in its history, Denver is so desirable that its vast neighbourhoods of bungalows are proving finite. The cost of this growth is the displacement of the city’s remaining working class

Immediately after I parked my car in the Swansea neighbourhood of Denver, Colorado this June, a woman in a white SUV drove by, rolled down her window and yelled: “Not for sale!”

Residents of Swansea, Elyria, and Globeville, the neighbourhoods that make up north-east Denver, are receiving stacks of postcards on their porches with offers to buy their homes. Globeville saw an increase of 67% in median home values in the last year. All three neighbourhoods are dotted with yard signs that read “My community is not for sale / Mi comunidad no está en venta.” What else would a white woman carrying a notebook be doing in the neighbourhood, but speculating?

In her novel Animal Dreams, Barbara Kingsolver describes Denver as having “endless neighbourhoods of sweet old brick houses with peaked roofs and lawns shaded by huge maples.” The Denver of my childhood also had wide boulevards lined with 50s-era filling stations, 60s strip malls, 70s dentists’ offices. Downtown, which had some beautiful, historic stone buildings, also had plentiful surface parking – a sign that the city’s economy had not caught up with the space afforded it. The city was calm; there was a sense of community.

That Denver has now gone. Partially thanks to the work of the Colorado Tourism Board, people from all over are flocking here, and jobs are following. This year, US News and World Report voted Denver the best place to live in America. Half of the cars have out-of-state plates, and the rest have bumper stickers that read “Native-ish”. […]

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
TITLE | Founder of Architecture Lab
About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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