Almost anywhere you look in Minneapolis these days, new construction is pushing the city skyward, inexorably changing neighborhoods that, just a few years ago, were smaller, quieter and roomier. Uptown. Northeast. Dinkytown. All are building up.
The building boom is needed to accommodate steady growth in population in the area: The Twin Cities metro area has added more than 83,000 households since 2010, while building less than 64,000 new homes to accommodate those newcomers, according to the Metropolitan Council. As a result, it’s not just new luxury apartments towering over Twin Cities residents, but rents, too, which continue to rise despite all the construction.
It’s an issue across the state, but it's being especially felt in Minneapolis. During his budget address last week, Mayor Jacob Frey called the shortage of affordable housing in Minneapolis a crisis unlike the city has ever seen.
Frey is not alone in decrying the city’s housing crunch. City planners, housing experts and other elected officials — including Gov. Mark Dayton — are all scrambling to find ways to alleviate the problem. But while they all agree on the solution — that we need to build, build, build to give people enough affordable places to live — what's less clear is how, and if, Minneapolis will be able to do that once theory meets practice; once political ideals meet political reality.
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