Author Archive | Scott Shaffer

It's fine. Doesn't it look just fine?

Here’s Some Research Backing Up Minneapolis 2040

Some Minneapolis 2040 detractors have complained that no evidence has been offered that building more housing where people want to live (i.e. “density”) is good. “I just don’t see it as a way that we would get a measurable impact, and especially from an affordability standpoint,” Ward 13 Council Member Linea Palmisano told the Star Tribune. Another […]

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Starter Homes Are Dead, Long Live Starter Homes

As you may have heard, the Minneapolis draft comprehensive plan includes a proposal to lift the ban on small (2-3 story) multifamily buildings in most of the city, and to allow new fourplexes in all residential areas. Council Members Cam Gordon and Andrew Johnson have said they worry these policies will cause the destruction of […]

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Low-density Zoning Threatens Neighborhood Character

A few months ago the American Planning Association dubbed the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis a Great Place in America. They cited a lot of the things I like about the neighborhood: parks, bike paths, grocery stores, light rail, community events, small businesses, and the people. There’s one way that planning limits the opportunities of low-income […]

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A Plan for Tearing Down Exclusionary Zoning Walls

Earlier this month, The New York Times ran an op-end titled “The Walls We Won’t Tear Down” about how some of society’s worst problems have a very boring cause: exclusionary zoning laws. Here’s the conclusion: Just as it is shameful for government regulation to exclude people from neighborhoods on the basis of race, it is similarly deplorable […]

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What I learned at YIMBYtown 2017

Last week Anton Schieffer and I formed the Minnesota delegation at YIMBYtown 2017 in Oakland, Calif. YIMBY stands for “yes in my backyard,” which is in opposition to NIMBY, “not in my backyard,” which is a name you can call someone who opposes a thing you like, if you’ve given up on being persuasive or […]

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Where the Minneapolis DFL Candidates Stand on Housing

It’s election season in the Twin Cities, and Minneapolis, among other cities, will elect City Council Members and a Mayor this year. While the general election isn’t until November, the city’s dominant Democratic Farmer-Labor party will begin its endorsement process next week. The party endorses through a caucus process, and their website has information on the location and […]

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Exclusionary Zoning: the New Redlining

In the 1930s, Hennepin Avenue in Uptown Minneapolis was a redlining boundary. Banks were instructed to give loans to people who wanted to live west of Hennepin, but the neighborhoods just east of Hennepin were labeled “definitely declining” and people who wanted to buy a home or renovate one were systematically denied loans. The redlining categories […]

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Map Monday: Minneapolis Low-density Neighborhoods with Good Transit Service

Alex Cecchini recently argued that we should allow multifamily buildings along leafy, quiet streets. One of the points he used to support his argument was that transit service in many Minneapolis neighborhoods is flexible. This point seemed particularly ripe for further analysis and visualization. How good is transit in low-density neighborhoods in Minneapolis? Is our zoning code preventing […]

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Metro Transit Upgrades Route 2

Metro Transit recently announced upgraded service for Route 2 in Minneapolis, effective this week. There are about 25% more daytime buses per hour versus last week. This means that the average wait time for the 2 fell from 7.5 minutes to about 5 minutes. Zig-zagging to success The 2 is a pretty weird route, for three […]

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Charting Residential Stability and Race

I hate moving. It takes physical, mental, and emotional energy. It’s expensive to pay for security deposits, non-refundable pet deposits, first month’s rent and last month’s rent, and professional movers. From 2004 to 2012, I probably lived at 12 different addresses in Minnesota, California, and Scotland. I’m not sure if that qualified me as a […]

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