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Working Toward a More Livable Minneapolis

MN Mayoral Photo
AARP Minnesota volunteers and staff with Minneapolis Mayor, Jacob Frey.

There is a lot of work happening in Minneapolis to make it a community that is livable for all residents – including older adults.

After an extensive process that drew thousands of public comment submissions , the City of Minneapolis passed a groundbreaking 2040 comprehensive plan that is consistent with many AARP goals around housing, transportation, safety, and aging. The 2040 plan will guide future development in the city, for years to come.

The Minneapolis 2040 plan sought to eliminate single family only zoning restrictions city-wide, to allow for what architect and housing expert Dan Parolek has termed “missing middle” housing – defined as small-scale, multi-unit or clustered housing in livable, walkable, urban communities. Minneapolis will now allow triplexes in all of its neighborhoods and higher densities along transit corridors across the city. Also included in the comp plan was an exclusionary zoning ordinance that focuses on affordable housing policy.

Prior to its adoption, AARP Minnesota weighed in as supportive of the comp plan and held a “Missing Middle” housing event to increase member awareness around innovative housing types and bring an alternative narrative to the discussion surrounding the zoning ordinance. While the prevailing narrative had in many cases pitted young vs. old, AARP research shows that 42% of Boomers actually prefer to live where there’s a mix of homes along with 59% of Millennials who prefer the same.

When it comes to community preferences on transportation policies, AARP survey data also shows that the majority of Americans prefer walkable neighborhoods which offer a mix of transportation and housing options. Minneapolis 2040 expands on the Complete Streets action plan adopted by city council in 2016 that is intended to benefit users of all ages and abilities, particularly vulnerable populations and underserved communities. Older Americans are a particularly vulnerable segment in this equation-- according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the pedestrian fatality rate rises significantly at age 45, and by age 75 a person is more than twice as likely as a 16 to 20 year old to die by being hit by a car. In response, the city of Minneapolis, along with cities like New York and San Francisco, committed to a goal of zero pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries through the Vision Zero initiative. AARP strongly supports the concept of Vision Zero and the Minnesota office now serves on the newly formed Minneapolis Vision Zero Advisory Committee tasked with drafting a high-level action plan while engaging neighborhoods and community members in the process.

Shortly after the passage of the 2040 plan, 30,000+ AARP members who call Minneapolis home were provided an opportunity to directly connect with their mayor on December 10 th, 2018 via a live telephone town hall event with Mayor Jacob Frey to discuss the passage of 2040 and work the city is doing to become more livable and involve older residents. AARP volunteers joined in as the “live audience” for the event, which began with a special meet & greet with the mayor.

Minneapolis has been a committed partner in striving to be great place for people of all ages and AARP applauds its passage of the 2040 comprehensive plan. The city achieved an official Age Friendly Community designation in 2015, based on criteria and action steps set forth in partnership by AARP and the World Health Organization. AARP Minnesota has been working to connect our volunteers and members directly to the process ensuring that while communities are addressing a range of needs in land use, housing, transportation, parks and infrastructure, they are doing so through a lens that views older adults as an asset.

Great Places for People of All Ages

AARP Livable Communities supports the efforts of neighborhoods, towns, cities and rural areas to be great places for people of all ages. We believe that communities should provide safe, walkable streets; age-friendly housing and transportation options; access to needed services; and opportunities for residents of all ages to participate in community life.

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