DENVER (KDVR) — Pandemic recovery is still slowgoing for downtown Denver.
According to researchers, Denver’s liveliest neighborhoods had about half the activity this spring as in 2019. Only a few cities in Canada and the U.S. have recovered fully.
A research team at University of California, Berkeley compared mobile phone data in 62 North American cities to pre-pandemic data. Most cities did not have the same amount of activity from March to May 2022 that they saw in the same months in 2019. It focused on downtown areas — those with the highest density.
As measured by the UC Berkeley team, Denver’s downtown area stretches through the city’s densest neighborhoods: Union Station, Central Business District, Civic Center and portions of Five Points, Jefferson Park, Highland and Capitol Hill.
This area is only half as busy as it was before the pandemic. It has recovered only 56% of its pre-pandemic traffic.
Denver as a whole is recovering faster. It had 69% of its pre-pandemic activity this spring.
Denver’s downtown recovery rate is neither slower or faster than other large and mid-sized American and Canadian cities. Only a handful have recovered all pre-pandemic traffic, including Salt Lake City, Bakersfield, Columbus and Fresno. San Francisco, Cleveland, Portland, Detroit and Vancouver had the lowest recovery rates.
No single factor determined if a city’s downtown was more or less likely to recover its pre-pandemic activity. Researchers pointed to several that operate together.
They measured each city’s concentration of housing, income, education, job type and demographics. Downtown areas with older populations, higher education and higher numbers of tech and finance workers are more likely to have slower recovery.