Where Do Metro Denver’s Next Million People Go?

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Michael Cain

Michael is a systems analyst, with a taste for obscure applied math. He's interested in energy supplies, the urban/rural divide, regional political differences in the US, and map-like things. Bicycling, and fencing (with swords, that is) act as stress relief.

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8 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Denver proper is 155 square miles according to Wikipedia. A lot of that is probably park land because Colorado but you can theoretically put a million people in Denver itself by increasing the density. More apartments rather than single family homes, etc. The population would still be comfortable with a density of slightly over 10,000 people per square mile. That isn’t that high by global standards.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Denver has remarkably little parkland inside the city (less than half the percentage of SF or NYC). 51 square miles of the 155 is Denver International Airport. The airport land can’t be developed for residential use (well, we could amend the state constitution, but…). Outside of the airport, Denver runs almost 6,800 people per square mile. The city’s getting steadily denser, but even if that average is upped to 10,000, that only absorbs about a third of a million people. A good deal of the next million for the metro area is going to go into the also-densifying suburban cities.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Michael Cain says:

        51 square miles seems a bit extensive for an airport.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to LeeEsq says:

          San Francisco is 47 square miles. Not the airport, the whole city.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to LeeEsq says:

          Altitude and looking ahead by both Denver and the FAA. DIA handles far more flights than you would guess based on regional population — it’s fifth for takeoffs, landings, and passengers in the US. Back in the day when we had Stapleton Airport, any time the weather got a bit dodgy the airport was down to one runway and the entire western half of the country was screwed up because of cancelled flights. The FAA wanted DIA to have lots of runways, long and widely spaced. There are currently six with room to expand to 12. None of the runways intersect (nor will they with 12), a pattern that eats up space. I believe DIA is the only airport in the country that can operate three runways on instrument-only landings simultaneously (although I may be wrong on that). There’s room for any airline that wants to build a maintenance or cargo facility to do so.

          Perhaps more importantly, when Denver was acquiring the land, some peculiarities in the state constitution made it look like it was probably a one-shot deal — so the city got enough land to be future-proof. DFW is the second largest by area airport in the country, and I understand they’re starting to feel a bit cramped for all the things they might want to do.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    A trailer park is about the size of Cabrini-Green. Just take out the trailer park, build some multi-unit housing there and give the people you displaced first crack at the apartments that are on the, oh, fourth floor in one of the buildings facing the mountains.

    You could fit 15000 people in one of these housing projects. Charge extra rent to the people on the 7th floor and up, to boot.Report

  3. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    40% home price appreciation in one year is more than a little bit mind blowing.Report

    • Yeah. Special circumstances, but still. Parts of the area I was writing about could have a year or two like that at some point in the future. Not the value of the shabby old house increasing, but a huge jump in the value of the land it sits on.Report