In a 12-1 vote, the City Council of Minneapolis decided to do away with the concept of the single-family neighborhood in favor of dense development everywhere in the city.

How? By eliminating single-family zoning. Getting rid of that classification is one of several provisions that fundamentally alter neighborhood life adopted as part of the Minneapolis 2040 strategic plan.

It’s certain to have a massive impact: Fully 75% of people in Minneapolis live in areas previously zoned for single-family houses, according to CityLab.

Now, areas that were previously stable neighborhoods will face pressure to build denser and denser multifamily developments. In the eyes of the City Council — made up of 12 Democrats and 1 Green party member — that’s a feature, not a bug. The idea is to break apart neighborhoods in the name of undoing racial segregation and redlining and create more opportunities for affordable housing in desirable areas.

But the reality is that this will be an untested experiment that could have far-reaching effects over the coming decade.

Urban planners are already calling for this to be a national model.

Cover image of Minneapolis by Sharon Mollerus via Flickr (Creative Commons). 

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