Archive | Housing

Two Perspectives On The Housing Crisis: Affordable Housing vs Housing Affordability

The battlefield of the urban housing crisis is a confusing place to find oneself these days. At a time when American politics are as starkly divided as they have been in a century, housing politics do not fit comfortably into the familiar right-left narrative. Among a variety of constituencies, from older homeowning liberals to younger […]

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Everyone Loves Ice Cream: A Case for Land Co Ops

I think a wild blind spot at StreetsMN is the idea that there are only two possibilities for residential property development. A) Private ownership by young growing Single Family with golden retriever and infinite sums of cash to refinish the cool old house. B) Private ownership by profit driven private developer. Considering the golden retriever […]

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St. Paul Housing: A Modern Historical Tragic Comedy

The “character” of a place means various things to different people. The Las Vegas strip clearly is of a different character than Boston’s North End. Highland, with it’s strip malls, peripheral stroads and a dendritic-street designed neighborhood by golf courses is of a different character than Mac-Grove, with its older buildings, grid structure, and more atomized zoning. […]

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Chart of the Day: Twin Cities Rents Versus Vacancy

MPR News published an excellent article yesterday about the lack of housing for people with Section 8 vouchers. It contained this eye opening chart about the state of the rental market in the Twin Cities these days. Here’s a quote from the piece: Voucher holders usually have just a few months to find an apartment […]

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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 […]

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Minneapolis Comp Plan Review: Access to Housing

This post is the first in a series originally posted by Neighbors for More Neighbors that will take a deeper dive into the draft Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan. The city is soliciting feedback on the plan until July 22nd, and it is important that they hear input on the elements that will help support N4MN’s […]

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Architectural Style: High Style vs Vernacular

We know well Winston Churchill’s famous statement, “ We shape our buildings, and they shape us.” But architectural historians know that how we shape our buildings is the outcome of cultural influences within the history of a particular time period. Realizing these factors is key to a deeper appreciation of architecture that goes beyond learning […]

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Why is New Housing So Expensive?

Minneapolis needs more homes. That idea is one of the core tenets of the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan. For a number of reasons (demographic, economic, cultural, etc.), more people are, and soon will be, living in the city. We need enough homes for everyone who is choosing to live here, or we’ll continue to see […]

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Who Gentrified This Minneapolis Starter Home?

In 2009, my wife and I were looking for a house. I had just finished law school. I had temporary work as a law clerk and wasn’t sure where (or if?) I’d find a permanent job—the legal job market had cratered along with the rest of the economy. So we looked for a place near […]

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Confessions of a Former NIMBY

When I was a teenager, a multi-family housing development was proposed next door to my family’s home in Little Canada. The developer wanted to put two rows of townhomes where there was a small home on a large lot. People in the neighborhood resisted (including my family), and ultimately the city council decided not to […]

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