Last year, Minneapolis did something historic. While it was years in the making, the current Council, led by Local Progress members Lisa Bender, Alondra Cano, Phillipe Cunningham, Jeremiah Ellison, Steve Fletcher, Cam Gordon, Andrea Jenkins, Andrew Johnson, and Jeremy Schroeder, passed a comprehensive plan for the city that directly addressed climate change and responded to long-time systemic racism in city housing.
These Councilmembers made history when they passed this plan (read more details about their plan here) and we’ve heard from many Local Progress members who wanted to know more about the process and nuances of this work. So we are pleased to include here the recording of our March webinar with Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender, Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison (Ward 5), Local Progress Board Member and Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham (Ward 4), and Director of Long Range Planning Heather Worthington.
The webinar focused on several aspects of the plan: process and timeline, key highlights, and the political conditions that made it feasible in the first place. In particular, the city grounded the work in the community through a robust effort to solicit widespread engagement from start to finish, which included the creation of a Civic Engagement Plan to help ensure efficiency and transparency. This commitment to community engagement produced a clear need for a long-term vision of the city grounded in racial equity that could begin to address past historical injustices. The goals of the legislation include eliminating disparities, creating affordable and accessible housing, and fostering a healthy, safe and connected populace, to name just a few.
Local Progress members share in the desire to see their cities and future growth serve everyone, not just those at the top of the wealth scale. In many cases, growth and economic development intentionally leaves people behind, particularly communities of color. Historically, communities have often been left out of decision-making and deprived of the ability to build wealth. Minneapolis acknowledges that there are systemic and racist barriers which they must address to move forward building a vision of their city that is for everyone. The Minneapolis plan 2040, both in creation and design, offers an exciting case for cities seeking to realize similar commitments to equity and justice for their communities.