Denver mayor holds gentrification discussion on Facebook Live

DENVER -- Mayor Michael Hancock is taking the gentrification discussion to Facebook.

Among his goals: Answer people’s questions about how quickly changing neighborhoods are affecting their lives.

Gentrification occurs when rundown urban areas are restored and low-income residents are forced to move.

Hancock and a panel took the questions at a library in the Five Points neighborhood on Thursday night where the gentrification issue has been a hot topic.

The mayor wanted to discuss the impact of gentrification on neighborhoods.

“What is valued more: diversity of community vs. development of community? Can you develop without displacing?” one person asked.

"Gentrification is a great opportunity for residents to understand that ownership is how you gain influence in your neighborhood," another wrote.

It was the first time the mayor has done a Facebook Live event such as this.

Shortly after the chat began, Chadd Hird wrote, “We need deliberate affordable housing to be built ... developers are only building luxury units.”

The gentrification debate kicked into high gear after a sign went up at an Ink! coffee shop also in Five Points in November.

The sign led to protests that made gentrification a political hot potato.

The Facebook chat provided the mayor and five panelists a place to discuss gentrification without facing potentially contentious citizens in a live meeting.

Lorena Macias lives in Five Points, has been displaced and said she isn’t sure a Facebook chat does any good.

Others criticized the mayor, saying the Facebook chat was orchestrated to pre-empt a gentrification summit planned for this weekend.

Timothy Tyler is helping organize the gathering, saying he’d like the mayor attend.

However, Hancock said he would not be there, but that his aides would be in attendance.

Hancock said he’s considering hosting more Facebook Live events to address the gentrification issue in Denver.