In the 1980s, Denver’s economy faltered. Its steel industry contracted, resulting in the loss of 30,000 jobs in the city alone, while the overall unemployment rate in Colorado rose to 8.5 percent.
But the city has experienced an economic resurgence over the last two decades. Since 2000, the metro area’s GDP has almost doubled, while the population has grown 17 percent. Aerospace companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing took advantage of Denver’s unique location in America and paved the way for over 130 aerospace companies to exist there today, with some support from local universities like the University of Colorado Boulder.
At the same time, recreational marijuana was legalized by Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2014, which brings $14 million in taxes to Denver every year, and, to date, $769 million to the state of Colorado.
Despite these advances and the growing Denver economy, the city’s homeless population grew over 20 percent in 2017 alone, while the average price of a one-bedroom home surpassed $500,000.
Watch the video above to see how Denver’s resurgence changed the trajectory of the Mile High City.

#AmericaResurgent is a five-part series that elevates the changemakers, approaches and innovations that are driving urban revitalization across the nation. See the rest of the series here, and watch for the next three installments in the weeks to come.