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Opinion: End of Single-Family Zoning Won’t Solve Minneapolis' Housing Problems

Even as density increases in Minneapolis, affordable housing is not going to be accessible to the people who need it, according to an article by James S. Russell.
October 8, 2019, 8am PDT | Camille Fink
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Gian Lorenzo Ferretti

While the Minneapolis 2040 plan took the bold step of ending of single-family zoning, housing is still out of reach for the city’s low- and moderate-income residents, writes James S. Russell. Allowing multi-unit buildings throughout Minneapolis will increase density, but rents are still on the rise and poor people are being displaced.

"The Minneapolis plan only indirectly addresses the needs of those low-income residents, relying on the market to lower rents by adding to the supply. While developers are already eyeing single-family houses to convert to duplexes and triplexes, many experts believe there is little evidence that adding market-rate units will have a trickle-down effect in thriving cities," says Russell.

Russell notes that upzoning in other cities, such as New York and Seattle, has resulted in an influx of more expensive units but not the lower-rent housing that these cities desperately need. "Without a more robust policy to address housing costs for those most affected by the tightening market in Minneapolis, the 2040 plan could produce the result opponents have feared: the wrong kind of new housing and a continuing concentration of poverty."

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Published on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 in Architectural Record
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