Upzoning a City – Lessons from Minneapolis 2040 Community Plan

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Upzoning a City – Lessons from Minneapolis 2040 Community Plan

Paul Mogush, AICP
Manager, Community Planning Long Range Planning Division, Minneapolis

In 2019, the Minneapolis City Council adopted a new comprehensive plan, named Minneapolis 2040, which included two major land-use changes to spur taller, bigger housing complexes in more places around the city: (1) to allow new three-to-six story buildings along some transit corridors; and (2) eliminate single-family zoning and allow housing of up to three units, or triplexes, in all parts of the city. The three units must remain in the building envelope of the original single family home.

For all the buzz generated by the plan, far less attention has focused on a very basic question about the change: If, or to what extent, will the elimination of single-family neighborhoods actually help with housing affordability in Minneapolis? Or, will the zoning changes give only middle- to- upper class residents more options for owning or renting? What has Minneapolis – a city of almost half a million people – learned during their pilot programming phase of an innovative new policy?

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