Advancing Racial Equity Through Land-Use Planning

PAS Memo — May-June 2021

By Paul Mogush, AICP


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In the fall of 2016, planning staff at the City of Minneapolis were given their marching orders for updating the city's comprehensive plan: Develop a plan that addresses racial equity, housing affordability, and climate change — with racial equity at the top of the list.

Fast forward two years and the result was a comprehensive plan that gained national attention for eliminating single-family zoning, making Minneapolis the first major city in the United States to make such a move. Many have asked: How did that happen?

This PAS Memo answers that question. It begins with a summary of the housing crisis facing Minneapolis, the racial disparities that cause that crisis to disproportionately impact people of color, and the historical context of racist housing policies that contributed to the current situation. It outlines the approach the Minneapolis 2040 plan and subsequent zoning reforms have taken to help overcome these disparities and atone for past injustice, including the process that created it. The Memo closes by sharing specific tools Minneapolis is using to implement this approach and offering other action steps that planners can take to adapt these ideas to their own communities.


Page Count
Date Published
May 1, 2021
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Author

Paul Mogush, AICP