Category: Policy

Will Minneapolis’s Zoning Code Update Allow More Multi-Family Housing?

A version of this article was posted to the Neighbors for More Neighbors blog. When many people imagine housing for a family, the stereotypical image is a single-family home and expansive turf yard. And in many cities and towns around the country, minimum lot sizes and zoning requirements ensure that the only options available to […]

Map of the Day: Substandard Lot Sizes in Minneapolis

There are more than 14,000 residential lots in Minneapolis that are smaller than what is currently required to build on per the current zoning code. Now, this is a messy statement. There are multiple minimum lot sizes (5,000 square feet, 6,000 square feet, and a large lot zone where the number is based on the […]

Why Minneapolis needs a Land Value Tax

This image shows a mostly undeveloped parking lot, occupying a full block of prime real estate in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. Why does this lot remain underdeveloped? The owner of the land could increase their income drastically if they developed the land to its fullest potential. Additionally, the city as a whole would gain […]

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It’s Not Density That’s Driving the American Pandemic

Well, to begin, please stay home when and if you can and avoid close contact with people for a while. Preventing a huge outbreak that would overwhelm our healthcare system is critical right now. But with that out of the way, here’s something I’ve been thinking about. This spring, I’ve been teaching a urban geography […]

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Local Reactions to the Coronavirus Pandemic at the Urban-Suburban Edge

How has Coronavirus affected your neighborhood? There are several components to the way neighborhoods react: people, business, transportation, etc. Some reactions are common, some unique to each neighborhood. So yesterday I decided to document the most public & specific of these reactions: businesses. Everyone needs to shop & run errands, so how does the pandemic […]

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A Climate Emergency Means it’s Time to Stop, Drop and Roll

The City of Minneapolis has declared a climate emergency. What does it mean to be in a state of emergency? If you’re having a health emergency, you ride in an ambulance with sirens blaring. The normal rules of the road are suspended as drivers get out of the way. When your house is on fire, […]

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Car Subsidy as a Cost-Recovery Measure for St. Paul: Time to CARPe Diem

The Climate Action and Resilience Plan (CARP) recently passed by the St. Paul City Council is an excellent, and necessary, first step to move St. Paul toward a sustainable future. You can read the plan here. Making the plan’s vision a reality will require developing many specifics that the plan does not flesh out. It’s […]

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Neighborhood Character and Redlining’s Legacy

“Neighborhood character,” it turns out, can be legally defined and covenanted, as I learned recently when I spent a morning conducting research at the Ramsey County records division. I found the warranty deed abstract for the multi-block plot of land that includes my lot and house, and a significant swath of Highland District Council (HDC) […]