With its explosive amenity-driven growth, the Denver metropolitan region is emblematic of much of the American West. While growth brings tremendous economic opportunities, it is often accompanied by significant challenges, such as: housing supply shortages and increasing housing costs; land consumption and loss of open space; increasing exposure to natural hazards; traffic congestion and delay; inability to scale transit to meet demand; lack of coordination between jurisdictions; inequitable public education; sectoral imbalance in the economy; gentrification; and congestion of amenities. But amidst these challenges, regional growth also offers valuable opportunities for cities to redefine, re-invent, and revitalize themselves. In Denver, for instance, we see a renaissance in infill development and an overall increase in density, walkability, mixed use, and traditional design elements in the urban core—accompanied by a reverse migration of many back from the suburbs to the city. This reinvestment in central places has brought with it a vibrant mix of uses and allowed transit to become feasible in places where previously it was not, opening up a less automobile-intensive lifestyle to large numbers of people. Yet, such development must be carefully managed to avoid uneven development, gentrification-induced displacement, out-migration of poor and minority resident from urban cores to under-invested suburbs, and loss of public goods.
How do we create a more inclusive strategy to leverage opportunities from growth to promote a sustainable, equitable, and healthy metropolis? Our theme welcomes discussion of all these tangled threads that form the complex tapestry of growing and changing metropolitan regions.