Like a lot of other places, Minneapolis has a zoning code that promotes areas of low-density or high-density with little in between. That rapidly shrinking segment of homes in between is often referred to as the Missing Middle. One advantage (among others) of small apartment houses is that they’re less expensive to build per unit compared to single family homes or large apartment buildings. In the midst of a housing shortage and widespread concern about housing affordability, we’ve zoned the missing middle out of existence.
Since 1990, Minneapolis has lost over 6,000 units in the 2-, 3-, and 4-unit category, while adding almost 2,500 single-family homes. According to building permit data, 126 single-family homes were built in 2016, compared to only four total units in the duplex, triplex, and quad category.