Minneapolis Density and Population Growth (500k, etc)

Parks, Minneapolis Public Schools, Density, Zoning, etc.
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Re: Minneapolis Density

Postby MNdible » July 29th, 2013, 2:32 pm

If you look at the numbers on the map, you can see that the biggest driver for density isn't height, but rather building setbacks.

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Re: Minneapolis Density

Postby woofner » July 29th, 2013, 4:08 pm

I have been looking at the numbers on the map, and not finding anything about height or setback. Can you clarify what you mean?
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Re: Minneapolis Density

Postby MNdible » July 29th, 2013, 5:40 pm

Only what we intuitively know about the projects. Compare, for example, the red dots downtown. The projects with the highest dwelling units/acre aren't the tallest projects, but those that completely fill out their footprints with minimal setbacks.

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Re: Minneapolis Density

Postby RailBaronYarr » July 30th, 2013, 10:53 am

This is an observation that should be intuitive to most.. How much denser could our cities in the US be if most development filled out most of their parcels? Take it a step further, how much denser would we be if our public rights of way weren't as large as they are (ie skinnier streets & sidewalks)? It's why Paris is as dense as it is (from both a housing unit and population per acre perspective) even though it is mostly 4-6 story buildings (55k/sq mile vs 70k/sq mile in high-rise Manhattan).

I wonder how much size of the housing units play in as well.. is that something you're taking in to account? Have average apartment/condo sizes in these recent developments been smaller/same/larger compared to devs over the past 10-20 years?

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Re: Minneapolis Density

Postby MNdible » July 30th, 2013, 12:24 pm

That said, I think there's real benefit to "opening up" the urban environment. As much as everybody loves Paris, it can be difficult to get sunlight down in that environment and, were it not for the charm of the lovely old buildings, it may not be a terribly pleasant urban environment. There are reasons why they blasted huge boulevards through the medieval city, and letting in light and air is part of it. A six story built environment around narrow streets can feel very claustrophobic.

Vancouver is an interesting comparison. The typical "new" Vancouver project is a relatively slender tower on a fairly low plinth. In this regard, the LPM project is probably the closest to this model, although the Vancouver plinths are usually lower than this -- typically only three stories, which gives a nice building face to the street and sets the tower back.

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Re: Minneapolis Density

Postby mattaudio » July 30th, 2013, 12:31 pm

Well, nobody is forced to live in that hellhole known as Paris. There may be alternatives for people that are less dense.

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Re: Minneapolis Density

Postby MNdible » July 30th, 2013, 12:43 pm

Thanks for adding to the conversation.

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Re: Minneapolis Density

Postby RailBaronYarr » July 30th, 2013, 12:46 pm

I'm sure bringing some light and air in was certainly part of it, but the major reason for blasting a bunch of ultra-wide boulevards and avenues through Paris was to move troops quickly to disperse rebellions (and partially to come to the aid of defense). I will note, however, that Paris is not alone in the 6 story, narrow streets built environment as far as big cities go. Pretty much every successful European city is built this way. The whole sunlight thing boggles me, too. One of the first things people want in a nice urban environment is sidewalks with trees to provide shade. People literally come out in droves to protect cutting down old-growth trees with canopies providing shade and beauty. Savannah's streets rarely see the sun, yet are welcoming and gorgeous. I guess I personally don't understand the difference between providing shade from trees or buildings. And as mattaudio points out, if you don't want to live in a claustrophobic environment, the same width streets 5 miles outside of the major city will see 1-2 story structures. Just a perspective.

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Re: Minneapolis Density

Postby woofner » July 31st, 2013, 3:16 pm

MNdible wrote:If you look at the numbers on the map, you can see that the biggest driver for density isn't height, but rather building setbacks.
I don't doubt you, but I also don't have any data on lot coverage (I don't believe this metric is typically reported in CPED documents, but please correct me if I'm wrong because I'd like to start collecting). I do have data on height in terms of floors and unit density for the planned or under construction projects that I know about, and they suggest a relationship to this amateur statistician:

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Re: Minneapolis Density

Postby MNdible » July 31st, 2013, 3:46 pm

That may have been a bad phrasing on my part -- obviously, height plays into this a great deal, but so does coverage.

And coverage may also be a crude metric, as a building with a three story plinth and a svelte 40 story tower would have the same coverage as a squat 10 story block.

So, what's really my point? Nothing too earth-shattering, I guess. Just that you can achieve density in a lot of different ways, but that some of the truly eye-popping density numbers (for example, the Soo Line Apartments) are able to get their numbers because they're fully covering their sites and taking advantage of the air and light provided by their low or non-built neighboring sites.

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Re: Minneapolis Density

Postby twincitizen » September 8th, 2013, 11:16 am

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/edit ... 48561.html

Strib Editorial: Minneapolis needs population growth

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MPLS 500K

Postby MNdible » January 29th, 2014, 10:21 pm

Smart guy David Brauer asks some good questions about the push to a half million and just how easily it will be accomplished.

Yes, Minneapolis had 500,000 people in 1950, but that was when family size was much bigger. Met Council forecaster Todd Graham sees our current household average (2.22 people) as stable. This means the city will need nearly 50,000 new housing units. That means a *third* of Minneapolis’s housing would be new by 2025.

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Re: MPLS 500K

Postby helsinki » January 30th, 2014, 6:24 am

Concerning space, Minneapolis has vast potential to radically increase its population without touching a single single-family house or altering the quaint character of anything. There is so much underutilized land it is painful. Perhaps living day to day in the city inures one to the countless LA-style 'shopping plazas', the drive-through restaurants, the ubiquitous gas-stations, the vacant former industrial sites, or the gigantic suburban box store combinations (NE has a particularly hideous Target/Rainbow/Home Depot combo, Hiawatha-Lake runs a close second). And that's without mentioning surface parking lots, which doubtless number in the hundreds (if not thousands, seriously). Even within a stones-throw from downtown, there is so much empty space just off Marshall St. NE on prime land by the river it's outrageous.

Concerning the schools - it is of course a challenge, but the system has contracted so much (by tens of thousands of students) since I went to school, it's hard to imagine that there isn't latent capacity for growth.

Concerning finances - I think the author is off base here. The ratio of 100,000 new residents (and the tax revenue they would generate) vs the amount of infrastructure required to service those new residents is unequally skewed in the city's favor. The parks and bus lines are already there. Aside from a creating a few new parks and realizing a few streetcar lines (the latter admittedly rather expensive), the main task is just need to maintain and improve what exists (improve bus frequency and capacity, etc).

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Re: MPLS 500K

Postby mplsjaromir » January 30th, 2014, 8:15 am

At first I thought this thread was about a new, local mega-endurance race.

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Re: MPLS 500K

Postby bubzki2 » January 30th, 2014, 8:23 am

mplsjaromir wrote:At first I thought this thread was about a new, local mega-endurance race.
An endurance race for the hardiest of souls, touch every surface lot in Minneapolis, or die trying! The Minneapolis 500K

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Re: MPLS 500K

Postby twincitizen » January 30th, 2014, 9:23 am

If we're at 400k right now, getting to 500k by 2025 is not possible. That would represent a growth of OVER 9000 residents per year for the next 11 years in a row. I'm as pro-growth, pre-density as anyone in this city, but I'm also a realist. Rybak should have stuck with his initial goal of 450k that he stated just a year ago at his final "State of the City" address, because even that will still be tough to reach. 450,000 by 2025 would mean keeping up the absolutely torrid construction and absorption pace of the last 2-3 years. We can get there, but it's gonna take more than new construction. It's going to take a lot of oldies living alone dying off or moving out being replaced by couples with a kid or two. It's going to take a significant recovery and rebuilding of housing units on the North Side.

Our city has a staggering amount of room to grow, both on surface lots downtown and by replacement of 1-story buildings along transit corridors with larger, mixed-use apartment buildings. I have no doubt that we will reach 500,000 residents again, but it isn't going to happen by 2025. Hopefully I'm still around for the 2040 Census, but that would be my earliest possible guess, unless we stumble into some kind of Amazon.com situation like Seattle. I guess if that doesn't happen we could always annex the rest of Richfield and get to 500k a lot sooner.

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Re: MPLS 500K

Postby mattaudio » January 30th, 2014, 11:39 am

Look forward to an upcoming adaptation of the Vancouver laneway dwelling program for Minneapolis. If the Council is serious about 500k (or 450k) they can adopt what the AIA is already working on and we can have turnkey processes for incremental intensification.

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Re: MPLS 500K

Postby RailBaronYarr » January 30th, 2014, 2:26 pm

Need to take this in broader context, as well. There will always be high demand from families of 4-5 looking for the 1/4 to 1/2 acre lot in the suburbs. But we're constantly fueling this by making more and more areas cheap for development, which includes a LOT of apartments that young single people or young families live in. Near my office in Chanhassen are no fewer than 3 major apartment complexes and a bunch of townhomes that share side and rear walls with little-to-no yard space. It's not like these apartments are necessarily cheap - they rent for $950 to $1,380 for a 1BR apartment, not that different than many Minneapolis mid-to-lu*ury apartments (although admittedly parking is included in suburban places). 2BR/2BA townhomes run upper 100ks, 3BR 3BA run upper 200ks. And this is not an uncommon development pattern in exurban MSP.

Anyway, this stuff, and the related office and commercial space are in direct competition for growth in the core, and will continue to be as long as MnDOT allows it with new construction.

Beyond that, I do think Minneapolis won't come close without a change in household demographics. There's plenty of capacity for young and old people to live in smaller units built on under-utilized land or laneway homes/apts, but at the end of the day, twincitizen is right that families with 2+ kids are going to have to replace retiring/dying folk in current housing stock at a much faster churn than today to really make an impact. For families to want to do this, couple things need to happen, all of which are possible to achieve in 11 years IMO (but we still won't hit 500k):
- Minneapolis' share of region jobs needs to increase, meaning families with 2 workers have a greater chance of at least one of them (if not both) being able to live in Mpls and get by with only 1 car +bike/transit/car share to make up the difference in housing costs (and for that to be possible...)
--> Transit service needs to improve. I think there's enough going on beyond LRT projects that can make an impact on transit's viability for people who could afford a second car
--> More connected and safer bike facilities, which the city has pledged to do
- Noted above, but. Schools. I personally put much less stock in this than many since I think family income and parenting are much better predictors of educational attainment, but people really do look for areas with good schools. Building the tax base first through rentals with few kids can allow schools to play catch-up a bit.
- Finally, I think a wider range of housing choices needs to be available for families. We've got a LOT of SFH stock, a lot of 1-2 BR apartments coming online, and some high-rise condos. Not much in between, IMO.

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Re: MPLS 500K

Postby John21 » January 30th, 2014, 7:47 pm

Plenty of open lots on the northside.

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Re: MPLS 500K

Postby matt91486 » January 30th, 2014, 9:35 pm

Am I correct in reading that map that Minneapolis annexed some of Richfield in 1998?


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