Some charts and maps to consider as we close in on the comment deadline for the draft of the Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan. You have until July 22 to comment at minneapolis2040.com!
Minneapolis and neighboring cities are adding more people than homes for those people to live. A housing shortage is a game of musical chairs that hurts those with the least money. The next Minneapolis comprehensive plan needs to help us shift that equation in Minneapolis and set an example for neighboring cities.
These charts show how the Minneapolis and St. Paul are losing the sort of housing that is least expensive: 2, 3, and 4-unit homes. Why? Because zoning codes make them illegal to build on the vast majority of residential land.
Minneapolis lost over 6,000 duplex/triplex/fourplex units since 1990. The city added around 2,500 single-family homes in same period.
St. Paul lost about 3,300 duplex/triplex/fourplex units since 1990. The city gained around 2,000 single-family homes in same period.
Below is a map of racially restrictive covenants, courtesy of Mapping Prejudice. Areas of South and Southwest Minneapolis dominated by racially restrictive covenants in the first half of the 20th century are dominated by single-family zoning today.
The FHA promoted zoning as an effective tool for assuring a “homogenous and harmonious neighborhood.” In the view of the FHA, however, zoning was not enough to accomplish the segregation of races as a means to protecting property values. The FHA underwriting manual made the case for racially restrictive covenants, using language that described people of color as undesirable neighbors in the same vein as nuisances such as odor and high traffic.
In case you missed this post from a few days ago, here’s a chart breaking out Minneapolis residents by renter/owner and income. The low-income, cost-burdened renters are disproportionately people of color; they’re also far less likely to receive a housing subsidy than the high-income homeowners.
This map from Scott Shaffer debunks the notion that low-density zoning keeps the bulldozers away. Right now under existing zoning in Minneapolis, homes are bulldozed and replaced with larger single-family homes — we make it illegal to build anything else. We could choose to allow homes that are cheaper to build, rent, and own. Instead, we’ve chosen expensive housing.
If you aren’t yet fed up with exclusionary zoning, watch my award-eligible documentary film “It’s Always Single-Family in the Twin Cities.” Don’t forget to comment on the Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan!