August 10, 2022 City Building

We hit the streets to find out what the community knows about affordable housing. Downtown Denver Leadership Program | 15-Min City

As part of the Downtown Denver Leadership Program the class was split into groups to create presentations on various aspects that make a successful 15-minute city, which is this year’s class project’s topic[1].

One presentation we want to highlight is peer led presentation group #3, who focused on affordable housing and how to make living in Denver accessible to everyone. A unique aspect of this presentation were the street interviews that were conducted and highlighted what residents of Denver actually knew about affordable housing in Denver. A few class members of this group weighed in on lessons learned from conducting the street interviews:

Carly Porter (Mortenson Construction)

“As part of this year’s DDLP research we conducted street interviews in Denver to hear from the public what they knew about affordable housing. What was originally planned as a fun exercise to mimic Jimmy’s Kimmel’s comedic street interviews, we quickly realized how important this topic is to many people. We received responses from people who knew very little about attaining affordable housing to people who were experts at using the system to their needs. Overall it was great learning experience for our group on the publics knowledge of affordable housing and the passion surrounding making progress in Denver.”

Brad Clatterbuck (JE Dunn Construction)

“In my opinion, the responses we received are what I expected…most folks know very little about affordable housing, but seemed like the general consensus was it’s a problem.  The one thing I thought was interesting is we did get varying responses on whether developers should be required to include a portion of affordable housing in new developments – some thought it should be a requirement, one thought is depends on the project type (a luxury condo should not be required to include affordable housing), and one person said it should NOT be a requirement (capitalistic society).”

Overall, this group learned that affordable housing is a complicated topic to tackle even from a high level. Having a panel of experts allow them to dive into more specifics that it takes to build affordable housing (based on the demographics of the class). At the end of the day three big lessons were highlighted:

  1. Affordable housing is here so that people are not cost-burned by their housing, not just low-income which is stereotypically what people think of when they hear affordable housing.
  2. There is not enough affordable housing given the current and future need.
  3. Affordable housing resources should be more accessible and readily available so that it does not feel like such a daunting task to find information and apply for it.

PLP Group #3 members: Allison Egan (Saunders Construction), Brad Clatterbuck (JE Dunn Construction), Braden Hellewell (The Garrett Companies), Carly Porter (Mortenson Construction), Gabe Bergeron (RATIO Design), Jackie Coyle (East West Partners), Mei-Ling Krabbe (Stantec), & Ted Brown Hogan Lovells)

Panelists: Kim Martin (CHFA), Alejandro Monarez (Ballard Spar LLP), & Ray Stranske (RaiseHomes LLC)

[1] The 2022 Class Project | What it Takes to Build a 15-Minute City Each year the Downtown Denver Leadership Program class collaborates to unravel the complexities of building a city by tackling a project that is relevant to the work of the Downtown Denver Partnership and weaves together the various pillars of city-building. Success is never assured but understanding the dynamic challenges and opportunities of building a city, is. The 2022 Class Project will challenge participants to study What it Takes to Build a 15-Minute City and to identify opportunities in Downtown Denver to advance this timely vision. Whether the class chooses to embody this by raising awareness or executing a finished product, the choice is up them. Regardless, the class will complete the experience with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the collaboration, innovation and inclusivity needed to create a vital and vibrant Downtown Denver.

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Brooke LaPlaca

Senior Manager, Civic Leadership Programs

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