Earlier this month Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and Adam Duinick, chair of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council, hosted a regional mayoral roundtable convened by HUD Secretary Julian Castro. The roundtable discussion, which brought together 100 local leaders and community members to discuss housing successes and challenges facing the region, was the second of five meetings on the national Prosperity Playbook tour.
The Twin Cities region faces challenges to its efforts to improve housing inclusivity and diversity that are broadly similar to those facing other communities across the country.
Inclusionary housing involves the use of planning to help provide access to affordable housing to all individuals, including those who may be disadvantaged on the basis of their identity. One such effort, led by the Minnesota-based Philanthropic McKnight Foundation, organizes monthly meetings of mayors within the Twin Cities Regional Area to help address regional disadvantages and perceived affordable housing challenges facing the metro area.
This collaboration, via the Urban Land Institute's mayor consortium in the Twin Cities, is indicative of how folks can get together, talk about common success and swap best practices.
As professional planners, we should each echo the hopes that were expressed at these meetings for productive collaboration between our communities towards having decent and affordable housing for all citizens.
The development of HUD's Prosperity Playbook, which is intended to be a toolkit of best practices for how to go about advancing intentional policies of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule, is a step in the right direction, and proof that we can make progress on this issue.
The discussion surrounded the development of HUD's tool kit can also help us meet the needs of future generations through improved community planning conversations and debates. On behalf of professionals in the Twin Cities area I can say that I am greatly excited about the next steps in this debate and in finding out how APA as an organization can positively contribute toward these efforts and the hopes and dreams of our communities.
About the Author
Andrew Mack is a principal planner with the firm Rural & Urban Planning Services. He is also co-chair of the APA Minnesota Chapter Legislative and Law Committee and has served the chapter since the early 1990s. Mack has worked with the chapter's board over the past 10 years to reassess and define the legislative role of the chapter and the need for statutory reform. He is also a regular presenter at the annual state planning conference. Mack has 30 years of experience in the planning profession serving rural and urban communities in Minnesota and Texas.
Image: The downtown Minneapolis skyline as seen from the Broadway Avenue bridge. Photo by Flickr user Ryan Fonkert (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).