Stopping More People From Moving to Denver in 2020 | Westword

How to Stop People From Moving to Denver Without Making City Worse

Social media is the key.
Photo courtesy of the Downtown Denver Partnership
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Hot on the heels of a study identifying Denver as the number-one destination for millennials wanting to relocate comes a new report naming the Mile High the fifth-fastest-growing large city in America.

In other words, the incredible population influx that Denver's experienced over the better part of a decade continues, and is likely to further ratchet up the concern of longtimers over worsening traffic exacerbated by seemingly endless road construction, as well as breakneck development that has caused neighborhoods to get fuglier with each passing day.

Is there any way to slow this flow before the things we all love about Denver are buried under an even greater mass of humanity? We've got a plan — one that uses social media to sour the multitudes on the idea of moving here even as we continue to enjoy one of the nation's best places to live.

"Fastest Growing Cities in America," the latest analysis from 360 Quote, an auto-insurance concern, certainly paints a vivid picture of a burgeoning Denver. Between 2013 and 2018, the five-year span used by the authors, the city added 66,979 more residents, bringing the population total to 716,492.

This 10.3 percent gain trailed only those of Tampa, Miami, Fort Worth and Seattle among major U.S. metro areas — and the expansion didn't stop at the city limits. Indeed, of the fifteen Colorado cities included in the roundup, Denver actually placed third in growth, and all of these communities saw their ranks swell considerably. The rundown, in order:
Broomfield — 15.2 percent (9,118 increase, 69,267 population in 2018)
Greeley — 11.1 percent (10,754 increase, 107,348 population in 2018)
Denver — 10.3 percent (66,979 increase, 716,492 population in 2018)
Fort Collins — 10.1 percent (15,368 increase, 167,830 population in 2018)
Thornton — 9.7 percent (12,340 increase, 139,436 population in 2018)
Loveland — 8.9 percent (6,311 increase, 77,446 population in 2018)
Aurora — 8.4 percent (28,838 increase, 374,114 population in 2018)
Colorado Springs — 7.9 percent (34,707 increase, 472,688 population in 2018)
Arvada — 7.7 percent (8,646 increase, 120,492 population in 2018)
Longmont — 7.0 percent (6,360 increase, 96,577 population in 2018)
Lakewood — 6.7 percent (9,889 increase, 156,798 population in 2018)
Centennial — 3.9 percent (4,164 increase, 110,831 population in 2018)
Pueblo — 3.7 percent (3,990 increase, 111,750 population in 2018)
Boulder — 3.6 percent (3,713 increase, 107,353 population in 2018)
Westminster — 2.7 percent (3,021 increase, 113,479 population in 2018)
But there are tactics we can use to beat the numbers game. Here are five ways that modern communication technology can help convince folks to settle elsewhere:

Number 1: Insulting hashtags

From now on, any Denver resident on Twitter who sends messages about her or his home town must include a hashtag that belittles instead of touts. In addition to the one seen in the photo at the top of this post, we suggest #denveroverrated, #denversucksnow, #denverequalshell, #denvershithole and, for those in the 65-to-74 age group, which is ballooning more quickly than any other demographic category, the Bob Seger callback #getoutofdenver.

A photo from a marijuana raid in Denver circa 2013.
Photo by William Breathes
Number 2: Negative Instagrams

No more Instagram stories festooned with images of locals and visitors having a great time in Denver. For instance, shots of people celebrating their first legal marijuana purchase at a local dispensary should be swapped for pics from police raids.

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Not every day at Vail boasts lines like these — but out-of-towners don't need to know that.
Number 3: Mandatory Facebook bummers

Facebookers also need to stop sharing photos showing all the glories of Colorado. Take ski-resort visits: Skip the snaps of you kicking up fresh powder or hoisting adult beverages in the lodge after a thrilling day on the slopes, and instead memorialize the massive lines at Vail a few weeks ago. That should open up the runs!

Number 4: Russian bots

The tactics every credible intelligence agency says were used to influence the 2016 presidential election (the same ones that are reportedly being deployed again this year) are more than capable of wrecking Denver's reputation online. Imagine the impact if every time potential new Coloradans pick up their phone, they see targeted ads portraying the city under a giant ’70s-and-’80s style brown cloud or stories about how D-Town is a hotbed for human trafficking out of pizza parlors.

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Bryce Dallas Howard memorializes a beverage on an episode of Black Mirror.
Netflix via YouTube
Number 5: Violator punishment

In the Black Mirror episode "Nosedive," Bryce Dallas Howard portrays a woman living in a world where every interaction has the potential to raise or lower her social media ranking — and applying this concept to lessening Denver's appeal on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more could definitely help keep the messaging consistent. One suggestion: The location of anyone posting nice things about Denver will automatically be changed to Bayonne, New Jersey.
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