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.

1 minute read

October 8, 2019, 8:00 AM PDT

By Camille Fink


Twin Cities

Gian Lorenzo Ferretti / Shutterstock

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."

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 in Architectural Record

View of Mount Hood at golden hour with Happy Valley, Oregon homes in foreground.

Clackamas County Votes to Allow ADUs, Residential RVs

County officials hope the zoning changes will help boost the housing supply in the region.

June 18, 2024 - Mountain Times

Single-family homes in a suburban neighborhood in Florida.

New Florida Law Curbs HOA Power

The legislation seeks to cut down on ‘absurd’ citations for low-level violations.

June 16, 2024 - The Guardian

Aerial view of intersection in New York City with yellow cabs and zebra crosswalks.

Planners’ Complicity in Excessive Traffic Deaths

Professor Wes Marshall’s provocatively-titled new book, "Killed by a Traffic Engineer," has stimulated fierce debates. Are his criticisms justified? Let’s examine the degree that traffic engineers contribute to avoidable traffic deaths.

June 13, 2024 - Todd Litman

View of Palos Verdes Drive along Pacific Ocean in Palos Verdes, California at sunset.

Erosion Threatens SoCal Road, Lloyd Wright Icon

The city of Palos Verdes is closing parts of a roadway to cyclists, citing safety concerns as the land underneath moves between 7 and 12 inches per week.

6 hours ago - Daily Breeze

Faded image of vacant storefront in rural area with American flag stars painteind on windows.

COVID Isn’t to Blame for the Retail Vacancy Crisis

A drop in demand for retail space began well before the seismic shifts of the pandemic.

June 23 - Slate

Heavy New York City traffic headed toward Holland Tunnel in Manhattan.

Judge Rules in Favor of MTA in Congestion Pricing Suit

Advocates of the program are calling on Gov. Hochul to reinstate the program in light of the decision.

June 23 - StreetsBlog NYC

City Planner I

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner II

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner Supervisor

Department of Housing and Community Development

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.