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Why Minneapolis Just Made Zoning History

The ambitious Minneapolis 2040 plan will encourage more dense housing development in single-family neighborhoods.
An encampment of homeless people outside Minneapolis, which just passed an ambitious zoning plan aimed at building more affordable housing throughout the city.
An encampment of homeless people outside Minneapolis, which just passed an ambitious zoning plan aimed at building more affordable housing throughout the city.Jim Mone/AP

On Friday, the Minneapolis City Council voted to support a comprehensive plan promising sweeping changes to the city’s zoning. Minneapolis 2040 comprises 14 goals, largely centered around housing, to achieve a vision for equitable growth and social stability over the next two decades. The plan is explicit in its recommendations for undoing racial and social barriers that have negatively affected the city’s communities of color.

Endorsed by a nearly unanimous vote, Minneapolis 2040 is the most ambitious upzoning guide yet passed by an American city. Since 75 percent of the city’s residents live in areas zoned for single-family homes, it promises to bring dramatic change to the fabric of Minneapolis. The plan has spurred fierce debate, which will no doubt continue as zoning guidelines are passed into law and single-family neighborhoods begin to introduce duplex and threeplex apartments.