Minneapolis 2040 sets new bar for what’s possible


A Green Line train at the University of Minnesota. (Image: Michael Hicks, Flickr)

Minneapolis, MN recently completed a routine update to its comprehensive plan that will guide the city’s growth for the next decade. But many of the policies and action steps laid out in the plan—called Minneapolis 2040—are anything but routine. The city used the opportunity to revamp its zoning, set ambitious goals for climate change, and pointedly address equity and racial disparities in the city. It isn’t just a plan that will sit on a shelf collecting dust.

This month on Building Better Communities with Transit, we chat with Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender to learn more. Lisa, a planner by profession and now a two-term city councilor, chats about public participation in the planning process locally and the discussions that led to the passing of the city’s comprehensive plan last December. Then, she talks about streets as public spaces and how Minneapolis 2040 plays into the city’s vision for transportation. Finally, she discusses what ‘value capture’ and ‘economic development’ mean to members of the community, and how the TOD plans in the document play into the long-range plans of the city.

Through the podcast Lisa emphasizes the importance of creating small incremental change as a way to shift the conversation and expand what’s possible on a variety of issues. “Sometimes I think it is worth taking on a fight,” she says, “over something that isn’t going to be a huge literal change, but is a big philosophical change because it opens up the possibility of having a totally different conversation than you’ve had in the past.” And that shift in thinking can help set the stage for much larger change like that seen in Minneapolis 2040.

Building Better Communities with Transit is intended to provide support to communities and local leaders who are working to catalyze new development around transit, give more people access to public transportation, increase access to opportunity, and build robust local economies. You can find this episode—and all of our previous episodes—on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Recent TOD news

Here are a few things that have been happening this week with TOD projects across the country.