In December 2018, Minneapolis became a national leader in zoning policy when the city council voted to allow the development of duplexes and triplexes in every neighborhood in the city, even in neighborhoods that area currently zoned for single-family residential and are dominated by single-family houses. The plan is currently before the Metropolitan Council, the regional planning board, and will see a vote later in the year.
The new zoning is a deliberate attempt to undo existing zoning systems that perpetuate segregation and inequality and provide an avenue for creating more diverse neighborhoods. Proponents of the change also argue that allowing more density in existing neighborhoods will increase the supply of housing to better accommodate increasing demand while also addressing growing affordability concerns. The new zoning is also designed to help support density around transit corridors thereby providing a supportive land use for transit operations.
Densification is gaining a foothold in other parts of the country as well. Seattle’s city council has voted to support a plan to upzone 27 neighborhood hubs and require affordable housing construction or fees in lieu developing units. In Oregon, state lawmakers approved a bill to eliminate single-family zoning in cities with more than 25,000 people around the state. By right, duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes and clusters of cottages would be allowed on parcels currently zoned single-family. In cities with 10,000 people or more, duplexes could be built by right on single-family parcels.
For more information, please check out the following sources: