Author: Evan Roberts

Evan Roberts

About Evan Roberts

Evan Roberts is an Assistant Professor of Population Studies and Sociology at the University of Minnesota, where he teaches and researches demography, labor and urban issues. He counts it as a successful week if he has run more miles than he has driven. Connect on twitter @evanrobertsnz

Take it on Down to Highway 61: A Book Review

Nathan Johnson’s Highway 61 Through Minnesota is published by Arcadia Press in their Images of America series. The series has, according to their website, a whopping 8,223 titles. Just 69 of these are from Minnesota. It’s a proven format, almost certainly a commercial success, and yet I’m sad to report it doesn’t really work for […]

Learning from the Land Down Under

This post is co-authored with Nathanael Lauster, Author of The Death and Life of the Single-Family House: Lessons from Vancouver on Building a Livable City. The authors met when Lauster lived in Minneapolis from 2005-6. Lauster is now an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of British Columbia. This post is cross-posted from https://homefreesociology.com/. Exciting […]

Road closed signs

Let’s Put Gates on the Minneapolis Parkways

The Covid-19 pandemic has given many of America’s governments—local, state, and federal—an opportunity to fail spectacularly at basic governing. A virus which has been contained in many European, Asian, and South Pacific countries within a couple of months rages on in the United States. One government that has done a decent (not perfect) job with […]

Car Bike Stp

Minneapolis Needs Better Street Design, but Minnesota Needs Better Enforcement

A few weeks ago Our Streets Minneapolis published a statement of their position on the Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan, drawing attention for their view that they did not support greater enforcement of traffic laws. Meanwhile, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s 2020 proposed budget includes funding for a reconstituted traffic enforcement unit with three additional officers, a […]

Saint Paul's 1922 zoning map (MN Historical Society)

St. Paul 2040 Could Learn Something from St. Paul 1922

As Saint Paul debates its 2040 plan, it is revealing to look back at one of the city’s first zoning maps from the early 1920s. A little inspection of the map reveals some of the origins of the city’s current social geography and social divides, but also some elements worthy of resurrection. The dominance of […]

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How Do We Price Dockless Bikes?

Nice Ride’s recent move into the dockless bike sharing world has been interesting for its distinctive approach with virtual, or at least painted hubs, a modest $5 fine for parking outside a hub, and people who repeatedly leave bikes outside hubs banned from the system. If they’re being nice I’m going to guess you’ll probably […]

Low rise housing near downtown Wellington in the neighborhood of Mt Victoria

Positively 4th St: One Block Shows Us the Way in Minneapolis 2040

The draft Minneapolis comprehensive plan, Minneapolis 2040, is both a bold proposal at odds with the direction of the past century of American municipal policies, and yet unfortunately deferential in places to existing power structures. In other words, it’s a totally normal political document. The bold part, in housing policy, is to do away with […]

Chart of the Day: Visualizing Our Backlog of Home Building

Many people have observed on this site and others that we’re not building enough housing in the United States, and that this has a significant impact on affordability. Housing lasts for a long time if properly looked after, so if the population and people’s household arrangements don’t change, we don’t need to build much housing. Neither […]

Minneapolis Neighborhood with 4plexes

Inclusionary Zoning: Understandable Politics, Terrible Policy

Inclusionary zoning–a local government mandate that some new developments set aside some housing units at an “affordable” price point–is being discussed in Minnesota. Several Minneapolis council members have been supportive of an inclusionary zoning ordinance, and the council gave notice at the end of last year that they’re studying inclusionary zoning with an eye towards […]

Shoveling is Hard Work

I walked to the grocery store on Sunday, pushing the jogging stroller all the way. I’m an able-bodied person and one of the things I like about taking the kid for a walk is that I get a greater appreciation for how others see the city: if you are mobility challenged, the winters must be full of […]