If you live in Boulder or Denver, are you sure you live in Boulder or Denver?

Looking around each of these cities, it's hard to tell. With the amount of changes and development occurring in both places, they've nearly become unrecognizable as they morph from the sleepy hippie meccas and humble cow towns they once were into booming glitz havens infused with lots of money and little melanin.

Rampant development, skyrocketing housing, gentrification, the influx of tech giants like Google and Twitter, the explosion of the weed industry, population growth and a significant shift in both places' traditional cultures have made many Coloradans wary of these changes as they witness their hometowns evolve. After all, it's not just the outer facade of these cities that's being changed; it's their souls.

Are these changes good or bad? Are they evolving or stunting Coloradans' way of life? Is there still room for the natives amongst the throngs of enterprising San Francisco tech people named Kent?

We talked with some square state natives to find out how they're feeling about it all — for better or for worse — and wowww do you guys have some strong opinions! It was fascinating to see the diversity in mindset about Colorado's changes and just what about them either concerned or delighted the people that live here. Clearly, from talking with you folks, there's no wrong or right attitude to have about these changes or way to approach them because, like it or not, they're happening. The only thing we can do is hang on for dear life, continue to talk to each other about it, and hope for the best, we guess.

"It's turning into the Bay Area. I feel like I finally understand gentrification, although in this case it's white people gentrifying other white areas."
– Natasha, 26

"Denver sucks now. Before, it was charming because it still had some grit and its own vibe, but now I feel like it's fabricated. As far as Boulder goes, I feel it's becoming culturally dry because its used its legacy as this hippy grassroots place as a selling point for tech people. Every time I go back, it makes me sad."
– Caleb, 29

"I was born in Boulder and grew up there. It was my home, but it doesn't feel like it anymore. Pearl Street has become this ultra-swank mini-Aspen for the uber-rich, and it feels totally cold and inaccessible. It's like 'If you don't have a Land Rover, what are you doing here?' Like, sorry, but I don't have $200 to spend on dinner. I don't need a parking garage where robots park my car. I don't want my view of the Flatiorns obscured by million dollar apartments. It's just depressing."
– Chelsea, 28

"I've lived in Denver long enough to see the monumental changes that have been happening. Just a few years ago, it was this kind of 'kept secret,' a relatively quiet place with a subtle soul. Now, with its expansion and growth, I feel like it's developing a true personality and that's something that's exciting to be a part of. It feels vibrant and alive to me. It's cool to feel like something so familiar to you can always be new."
– Dayton, 30

"The only thing I can say I'm happy about is the explosion of food culture. There are so, so many great new restaurants and dining has become this sort of Coloradan emblem for progress. Some of the new places are expensive, yes, but a lot aren't; they're just super thoughtful, inspired restaurants that are, in my opinion, better than New York, L.A. or San Francisco. Just a really exciting place to be if you love food."
– Zach, 29

"Everywhere is changing. Either deal with it, or be the reason another place you move to changes."
– Callie, 25

"When it comes to change and growth I think the number one thing to remember is that it needs to be done with the best interest of the community in mind. My largest concerns as a business owner and homeowner in Boulder is the City Council's ability to protect the community and have a level playing field that benefits existing businesses and adds to the infrastructure and amenities in town. With Google coming into town, I'm curious as to how it will use those additional tax dollars and revenue to benefit everyone's quality of life."
– Raul, 36

"In Denver I get annoyed that everyone's new, and I get annoyed at how hip Denver is turning. I like Colorado because I used to be able to wear pajamas to the bar and now when I go to Denver from Boulder I look, smell and feel like a dirty hippie. Maybe it's because I don't have tattoos or perfect eyebrows or the best clothes in the world and I wear flip flops everywhere I go … Denver is just too hipster for me."
– Maddie, 25

"Day to day, you see little changes like traffic and new buildings and new businesses that you never noticed before, but at some point, that will normalize and it'll just seem like home again. We're only pissed at all this now because it's new, but soon, it will be old again."
– Mandy, 25

"What you don't hear about is the stories of the minority families and non-millionaires being negatively affected by all this growth. Boulder and Denver were already not the most diverse places, but this influx of tech and weed money only intensifies the problems these people were already facing. And now, since everyone is so wealthy, we're really cracking down on the homeless population and treating them like a mess that needs to be cleaned up. They're not. They're people."
– Gabe, 30

"Denver is awesome! Google, Twitter and all those other Silicon Valley entitled dickheads should move where there's enough housing, roads built for traffic, no pedestrians or cyclists in your face and no natural environments and wildlife to fuck up. All these businesses and people moving to Boulder have now really confirmed the death of a lovely town that had already exceeded its population capacity five years ago. Shame on the city and country planners who don't want to protect Boulder from exploding cancerous growth."
– Carla, 59

"My feeling is that once people catch on to the fact that the entire country is moving to their little mecca, they won't see it as special anymore. Things that belong to everyone generally lose their special quality."
– David, 39

"Other than marveling at how many fucking cranes there are downtown right now, I try not to think much of it. The people who I see bitching about 'old-Denver' are generally under 35-years-old, so really have no clue yet what kind of changes we'll actually see in a lifetime — people holding on to a past like culture never cycles into anything new. This shit happens all the time, everywhere. There isn't a place in the world right now not changing. Really, our issues have less to do with weed and tech booms, or people moving here, than actual American problems of class disparities and wealth distribution. Colorado's in a growth-spurt right now, and yeah, sometimes those hurt.

Most importantly, we should really stop trying to make the phrase 'nü-Denver' a thing. It's not a thing."
– Rikki, 34