On Friday, Minneapolis’ 2040 Plan, which eliminated single-family zoning throughout the city, got the official nod from the City Council. Hours before, The Atlantic published a piece calling it a “major turning point nationwide.”
“In neighborhood debates about planning and zoning policy, the loudest voices usually belong to people who are satisfied with the status quo,” wrote Richard Kahlenberghes. “What’s happened in Minneapolis is different—and so unusual that my colleagues at the Century Foundation and I undertook a detailed review of how and why reformers prevailed.”
Kahlenberg says Minneapolis has finally managed to do what most reform movements have not: make the public see the “victims of exclusionary zoning,” and understand that people do suffer when homeowners say, “not in my backyard.”
Proponents of the plan campaigned by reminding residents that single-family zoning has been used as a cudgel against people of color ever since zoning explicitly by race was outlawed in 1917—and that these areas are still overwhelmingly white today.
They also appealed to the market. Outlawing denser housing artificially keeps supply low and prices high. It creates sprawl by forcing families to move farther and farther out for a place to live, creating greater expense for roads and causing more pollution. And it all but ensures young people can’t afford to stay in the city, driving out the up-and-coming generation.
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"Minneapolis' new zoning law is a miracle of sorts; whether it works is another matter"; By Hannah Jones' ; CityPages; October 28,2019