Minneapolis 'Boldly' Making History for Zoning, Community Engagement

January 10, 2019
Minneapolis streetscape
Photo: Unsplash/Isaiah Rustad

In December 2018, Minneapolis City Council approved its Minneapolis 2040 plan to upzone the city, as a result of a new model of community engagement that local leaders say must continue as the initiative is put into action.

Heather Worthington, city director of long-range planning and a co-author of the Minneapolis 2040 initiative, anticipates that enactment will be a 3 year process of rezoning, “We’ll pretty much touch every piece of the city map again,” she tells Curbed. The success of the plan's passage is being attributed to the strong push for community engagement among citizens, advocacy groups, and local officials, and as Patrick Sisson writes, discussion and debate of the initiative at the neighborhood level may well decide its scale and success. “This process showed that we have a planning commission, council, and mayor who are interested in seeing this progressive plan for the city’s future,” says Lauren Richards, a member of local YIMBY advocacy group Neighbors for More Neighbors

The initiative turned Twin Cities planning into a national news story—“the most wonderful plan of the year,” “Minnesota nice in action”—and made zoning history with a bold gesture that frankly acknowledged the history of discrimination tied to land-use policy.

Cities large and small from North Carolina to California have contacted Minneapolis officials to learn more about the set of 14 policy proposals which would upzone nearly the entire city, allowing taller buildings with more units to be built in areas that previously only contained single-family homes.

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