Minneapolis once seemed like a beacon for liberalism and the American dream. New racial and economic realities have put all of this into question. The city now has to grapple with these realties and reimagine itself.
Minneapolis is known for its numerous bike lanes, well-maintained parks, vibrant night life and overall high quality of life, but census data tells an entirely different story.
The stark racial inequalities in the City of Lakes has become especially omnipresent after the killing of George Floyd by a white officer for the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25th.
Minneapolis was once credited for mixing affordability, opportunity, wealth and diversity. Before this year, the city was well regarded for its business freedom, robust economy, environmental quality and tolerance.
After the killing of Mr. Floyd, parts of the city were quite literally lit on fire – and its troubling past became ubiquitous in the flames of anger.
Systemic inequality is habitual in the Twin Cities. According to the most recent census data, African Americans are over four times more likely to be poor then whites. For instance, the cities Near North neighborhood is 56% Black and has a median household income of just $39,150 – while Edina, a neighborhood in South Minneapolis, is 85.9% white and has an average household income of $99,295.
The city has woken up to these harsh realities and is creating public policy solutions with the intention of remedying these inequalities.
In 2019, it became the first major U.S city to end single-family zoning. Now, buildings with up to three units can be built on any residential lot.
City Council hopes that this will incentivize the creation of more affordable housing and will ultimately remedy racial segregation across Minneapolis neighborhoods.
The Minneapolis City Council has crafted refreshingly innovative public policy plans that if implemented thoroughly – the city’s battered reputation would be corrected.
It has created the Minneapolis 2040 plan, which imagines a more healthy, sustainable and thriving city for all.
In this ambitious plan, the city wants to tackle deep seated income inequalities and ensure more affordable housing options.