Note on Highlands Snapshot Data
Our intent with the data behind this piece was to see if we could find meaningful correlation between rolloff dumpsters and real estate events. We knew going in that we were essentially going to “gather and wait” as few homes with rolloff dumpsters in front are ready for market, if that was in fact its underlying intention.
This is basic snapshot data, collected over a period of one week (June 7 – 13) between I-70 and 26th Avenue and between Sheridan and I-25. Snapshot data has many faults, just like a photo of a person can only capture one angle (and never our good sides, somehow).
We used The Highlands because it was close to where we lived, which reduced drive times—to and from. It also has some very natural boundaries with Sheridan and two interstates. We initially felt like we should go all the way to 17th to collect Sloan’s Lake, but ultimately decided against it mainly to keep the four (4) Northwest quadrants roughly the same size. Highland is certainly smaller in square mileage but has more density of duplexes than the other neighborhoods; Highland is still smaller, but not as small as it might appear in terms of number of single family homes.
We didn’t drive down alleys or peek into backyards. If there were dumpsters in alleys, we either purposefully ignored them or didn’t notice.
We ignored dumpsters that were meant for apartment buildings or otherwise seemed commercial. There were only five (5) that we could remember, but we were trying to separate what we thought was commercial from residential. We are certain there is a bit of bleeding between the two, but just drops not buckets.
We did collect the location of dumpsters that were parked in front of new construction. While those dumpsters do not carry any burden of wondering if they will someday hit the market, they were public and available and likely important in some other version of this content. We are certain the dumpsters in front of new construction are not predictive of but rather part of a near future real estate event. And in most all cases, these homes have been sold before they are completed.
We started in the Northwest corner of extreme Denver proper and worked like a typewriter west to east, usually working between busier streets to minimize multiple delayed crossings. Once we hit a street, it was done. We saw a few dumpsters pop up days after we had gone down those very streets, but we did not retrace or do additional collections.
To that point, we were certain that some homes had a dumpster recently or needed one. Some we were certain the dumpster was out being dumped when we came by, destined to return to the grooves it has just made in the pavement. We did not attempt to see into the future nor reach into the past and just let what we could collect stand on its own.
We started taking photos with that morning’s Denver Post in each shot with the dumpster and the house, so that we could maintain visual proof of our findings rather than get into the digital code of when it was created. Then we forgot to grab a new paper, so the same edition appears in every photo, but we aren’t making claims they were all taken on June 7. Believe us, it is IMPOSSIBLE to drive every street in Highlands in one 12-hour period of daylight, and we aren’t claiming we did. It started out as a good idea and fell apart on us. We tried.