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Overview

The Metropolitan Council works with local governments to ensure the orderly and economical development of our region, particularly in coordinating land use among local governments, transportation, aviation, wastewater and regional parks.  Employers choose locations to optimize their efficiency – whether that means access to materials, markets or employees.  The Council’s regional planning, investment in infrastructure and services help create the places where employers can compete and prosper.

Considerations (Did you know?)

-- Private enterprises need access to the global economy; and highway interchanges, railroads, intermodal freight terminals (train to truck), the airport, and river ports connect our region to regional, national and global markets.  70 percent of the region’s jobs are within ½ mile of a major highway; 28 percent are within ½ mile of existing or under construction transitways.  Industrial and commercial businesses that need access to a navigable river or railroad have limited choices. Once other uses crowd out these access points, they are difficult to recreate in the same places.  This increases the costs of connecting to the global economy – for the business and for the community.

-- Jobs in the Twin Cities have decentralized, and residential uses are moving into vacant industrial sites – such as apartments in Saint Paul’s Schmidt Brewery or the emerging residential uses in Roseville’s Twin Lakes area.  As buildings and neighborhoods transform from industrial to residential, it becomes harder for existing industrial uses to remain because of both rising land prices and neighborhood compatibility concerns. 

-- People of color are four times more likely than whites to live in poverty; the region’s black unemployment rate is three times the white rate.  Industrial jobs in production, distribution and repair offer the highest wages for workers without a college degree.  Anchor institutions, such as educational institutions and hospitals, provide career ladders.  Where these jobs are relative to where people live influences household budgets.

-- Development on undeveloped land often requires investment for new infrastructure (roads, wastewater, etc.); redevelopment on previously-developed or infill land generally needs less new major infrastructure, but often necessitates demolition of previous uses, realigned connectivity, and remediation of polluted land – creating a different set of costs.

Discussion

As you respond to the following questions, consider how the Thrive outcomes, principles and goals inform your responses as well as what tensions you discover that might inform public policy. How do we recognize success?

  1. What kinds of connections and locations are significant to the regional economy and why?  Should there be regional expectations for future land use in locations that connect the region to the global market?

  2. How might business and employer voices inform regional and local planning processes?  When business needs conflict with resident desires, what balance should planning decisions strike?

  3. How could land use and infrastructure decisions enhance access to opportunity for workers at all skill levels and communities of color across the region?

  4. How might the region develop common priorities for development sites across the region to align infrastructure, public investment and attract private investment?

Topics

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