Denver, U.S.

Bringing the circular economy to Denver

About Denver

As the Colorado state capital and the largest city within 500 miles, Denver has an obligation to lead on climate. Denver occupies an influential position in the Mountain West, a fast-growing region characterized by the breathtaking natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains and wide-open plains. The City itself has a population of over 700,000; however, the population of the larger Denver metro area exceeds 3 million. As the largest city in the state of Colorado and the second largest in the Mountain West region, Denver is a lively cultural and commercial hub for surrounding suburban areas and rural communities.  

The Denver metro area has experienced rapid population growth in the past decades that has outpaced the US national average. While the city is known for attracting young, post-college professionals, it has a diverse demographic profile that reflects the region’s rich cultural history as a trade and transportation nexus, a mining and agricultural hub, a central location for federal offices, and a major immigration route from the South.

Denver’s existing sustainability commitments and targets

  • Urban development patterns and climate change

    Denver and the larger metro area face a wide range of challenges linked to urban development patterns and climate change:


    • Development patterns that prioritize vehicles have contributed to urban sprawl and long car commutes. 
    • Rapid growth is impacting housing costs and the availability of affordable housing.  
    • Wildfires in the surrounding region have caused steep declines in air quality, which leads to adverse health outcomes for which the burden falls disproportionately on environmental justice communities. 
    • Drought conditions in the West have necessitated water cutbacks and saving measures.