Access to Housing: Increase the supply of housing and its diversity of location and types.
The population of Minneapolis is growing. Housing demand exceeds supply in many areas of the city, resulting in rising rents and sale prices. More and more residents are experiencing the strain of spending 30% or more of their income on housing, which is the U.S. Census threshold for identifying cost-burdened households. Between 2000 and 2015, approximately 15,000 housing units in Minneapolis became unaffordable to those making 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI). More housing is needed to meet the demand and help stem rising housing costs.
The Housing policies of this plan outline the City’s approach to proactively meeting the housing needs of Minneapolis residents, including the production of affordable housing. In addition to those strategies, the Future Land Use and Built Form maps are intended to reduce barriers to new housing construction in the marketplace by allowing flexibility in the location of new housing along with clear guidance on built form in order to increase the predictability of approval processes.
Increased demand for housing is accompanied by demographic changes that affect the types of housing Minneapolis residents will need between now and 2040. The people of Minneapolis and the region as a whole are becoming older and more culturally diverse. In many parts of the city, aging single-family home dwellers do not have the option to move into multifamily housing close to their established social support networks. This further restricts access to single-family homes for households with growing families who desire that housing type and would prefer to stay in the city.
Areas of our city that lack housing choice today were built that way intentionally. In the first half of the twentieth century, zoning regulations and racist federal housing policies worked together to determine who could live where, and in what type of housing. This, in turn, shaped the opportunities available to multiple generations of Minneapolis residents.
Following the Great Depression, redlining and other loan underwriting guidance from the federal government steered where private investments in housing were made. This practice prevented access to mortgages in areas with Jews, African Americans and other minorities, as well as in the more densely-populated and mixed-use parts of the city. Related guidance in Federal Housing Administration Underwriting Manuals encouraged the segregation of land uses in order to reduce the financial risk of backing single-family home loans near land uses deemed undesirable, such as factories and even multifamily housing. This guidance, from 1934, reinforced the approach that Minneapolis and other cities in the United States began years earlier through the introduction of zoning ordinances.
The FHA promoted zoning as an effective tool for assuring a “homogenous and harmonious neighborhood.” In the view of the FHA, however, zoning was not enough to accomplish the segregation of races as a means to protecting property values. The FHA underwriting manual made the case for racially restrictive covenants, using language that described people of color as undesirable neighbors in the same vein as nuisances such as odor and high traffic: “The more important among the adverse influential factors are the ingress of undesirable racial or nationality groups; infiltration of business or commercial uses of properties; the presence of smoke, odors, fog, heavy trafficked streets and railroads.”
These policies and regulations left a lasting effect on the physical characteristics of the city and the financial well-being of its people. Areas of Minneapolis with higher densities and a mix of land uses experienced disinvestment, in part because banks were not lending in these areas. On the outskirts of the city, a post-depression development pattern emerged with little variation in housing types and density, and few areas for commercial development. Today, the zoning map in these areas remains largely unchanged from the era of intentional racial segregation.
To address this, the Future land Use and Built Form maps allow a greater diversity of housing types through the following strategies:
|Allow multifamily housing on select public transit routes, with higher densities along high-frequency routes and near METRO stations.|
|In neighborhood interiors that contain a mix of housing types from single family homes to apartments, allow new housing within that existing range.|
|In neighborhood interiors farthest from downtown that today contain primarily single-family homes, achieve greater housing supply and diversity by allowing small-scale residential structures on traditional size city lots with up to four dwelling units, including single family, duplex, 3-unit, 4-unit, and accessory dwelling unit building types.|
In Minneapolis, 9 out of 10 trips are taken in personal automobiles, accounting for approximately 26 percent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions in the city. Achieving the City’s goal of an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 requires reducing the number of daily car trips by 37 percent. This ambitious goal is possible only if more people have access to employment and other daily needs via frequent, fast, and reliable transit. Building more housing near transit provides the opportunity for people to live without a car, or with fewer cars in each household, helping to work toward a carbon-free future.
To address this, the Future Land Use and Built Form maps allow greater development intensities in these areas that have or will have frequent and fast transit connections through the following actions:
Allow multifamily housing on public transit routes, with higher densities along high-frequency routes and near METRO stations.
Allow the highest-density housing in and near Downtown.
The City will seek to accomplish the following action steps to increase the supply of housing and its diversity of location and types.
- Allow housing to be built in all areas of the city, except in Production and Distribution areas.
- Allow the highest-density housing in and near Downtown.
- Allow multifamily housing on public transit routes, with higher densities along high-frequency routes and near METRO stations.
- In neighborhood interiors that contain a mix of housing types from single family homes to apartments, allow new housing within that existing range.
- In neighborhood interiors farthest from downtown that today contain primarily single-family homes, achieve greater housing supply and diversity by allowing small-scale residential structures on traditional size city lots with up to four dwelling units, including single family, duplex, 3-unit, 4-unit, and accessory dwelling unit building types.