You may have heard that Minneapolis recently approved a new Comprehensive Plan, which for the first time attempted to address racial segregation in the City’s housing patterns. To do this, the plan removed single-family zoning and allowed duplexes and triplexes in formerly single-family-only neighborhoods. While this move was controversial within the city, it was ultimately approved, and is being heralded across the country as a concrete step to address the challenges of racial equity and affordable housing.
At our January Grow Smart CLT event, we wanted to take a look at what Minneapolis did, and see if Charlotte can learn from it. As Charlotte begins developing its own Comprehensive Plan, Charlotte 2040, we wanted to give the 130 attendees a chance to reflect, discuss, and provide feedback about what can be done in our community to address a similarly segregated housing stock.
We heard from Mary Newsom, former Director of Urban Policy Initiatives at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, about Minneapolis’s plan, then attendees had a chance to break into small groups and discuss several questions related to Charlotte’s development patterns and the Charlotte 2040 plan. While we recognize that we were unable to fully address the history of racial segregation in our community, we’re heartened by the ideas that attendees had to move our community forward in diversifying our housing and development patterns, including:
- Read and understand the many development plans for the City of Charlotte
- Encourage pop-up shops and tiny homes, as well as co-living, as alternatives to traditional single-family housing
- Ensure that public transit access is aligned with housing availability and options
- Work to make amenities available via walking to neighborhoods with diverse housing options
- Vote for candidates who speak out on these issues
At the conclusion of the event, City planning staff kept the input sheets where attendees recorded notes from their conversations, so their ideas can be incorporated into the planning process for Charlotte 2040.
Weren’t able to make it out? We’re resolving to focus each of our six Grow Smart CLT events this year on a different focus area of Charlotte 2040, viewed through a racial equity lens. Join us for one of the upcoming events to have another chance to share your input.