The Future of Denver

The Mile High City is consistently hailed as one of the best places to live in the United States—and who are we to argue? But with an additional 1.5 million people expected to move to the Front Range by 2035, our treasured lifestyle may be at risk. We dug through reams of city-planning documents, talked to dozens of Coloradans, and put together a vision for the future of our city. Now, it's time to make this vision a reality.

December 2009

Back to the Future

Forget the exurbs; the hottest spot for redevelopment is right here in the city.

The past decade has seen an explosion of infill growth, as vacant spaces like onetime industrial areas and railroad yards have been converted for retail and residential use. Stapleton and Lowry were built on the site of the old airport and Air Force base, respectively, and have become two of Denver's most desirable neighborhoods.

The textbook example of redevelopment, though, is the Central Platte Valley, which sprouted on Union Station's old rail yards. "Before, the downtown world ended at 15th and Wynkoop," says Ken Schroeppel, an urban planner at Matrix Design Group and the founder of DenverInfill.com, a local urban planning website. "The whole area was all roads, trucks, and rail yards. You had to go all the way around it to get to 16th and Platte."

Today, the area has been revitalized. The Glass House and Riverfront Park, among others, have popped up along the South Platte, a rail yard was converted into the popular Commons Park, and four pedestrian bridges now span the river or I-25 to connect downtown to Highland. Most impressive: The crowds of people swarming—and paying big bucks—to live in the nascent 'hood.