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Environmental Quality and Construction Impacts on North Denver's Residents

In summer 2021, we organized focus groups to discuss topics of construction and air quality with residents. 32 residents from the Globeville, Elyria-Swansea, and Cole neighborhoods participated in our focus groups, in English or Spanish. We incorporated their responses into our project design and smartphone applications, so that we collect information relevant and important to community members.

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Community Belonging 

  • Participants expressed that they don’t feel listened to by the city, agencies, and officials that are involved in the planning of the i70 reconstruction project, and other ongoing neighborhood projects. They feel overlooked.

  • In addition, many participants noted that the construction has impacted the community and their sense of belonging – many noted that the neighborhood does not feel the same as before. 

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Unclear Information about Construction

  • The participants described receiving little or unclear information about construction in their area. Of the residents who had information, they had heard project updates through flyers left on their fence from the city, word of mouth (including friends, family members, or neighbors), and social media. 

  • Participants would like better distribution of information about road closures and alerts. They also requested resources and activities to help them manage their stress and deal with the pollution and transportation issues.

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Construction Disruptions

  • There were major concerns related with traffic and road closures due to construction, including increased time spent in traffic, longer commutes, delays. In addition, participants discussed consistent noise and increased pollution – including dirt and dust- especially at home. Local industries and the train were also mentioned
    as ongoing concerns.

  • Because of this, participants had been adjusting their schedules – leaving more time for traffic and detours, waking up kids earlier and leaving home earlier, and/or staying home more. Many also changed their habits, including avoiding certain areas or going to different stores, keeping windows closed, and spending less time outside with kids.

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Health Impacts of Construction

  • The construction has impacted participants’ moods; they described more daily stress, depression, and anxiety.

  • Participants are concerned about their and their families’ health and wellbeing. Many participants discussed worsening asthma and respiratory issues, and impacts of dust – increasing allergies, dry throat, cough, and headaches.