Dense

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The argument amongst Minneapolis’s self-appointed “elites” isn’t whether to make Minneapolis into a high-rise, high-density city full of condos for the well-to-do and poverty-warehouses for the poor – but just how dense to make things.

Pun intended.

But as Lincoln said, you can’t fool all the people all time. Even people who vote for Alondra Cano1. As the Strib found:

A city staffer explained the rising burden of rental prices on poor residents, and gently pushed a central theme of the draft plan — that the city must build more homes in more places — to a group peppered with skeptics.

“If you just let the market promote density, that doesn’t necessarily trickle down to affordable housing,” said Lara Norkus-Crampton, a south Minneapolis resident. “If it was just density that provided affordable housing, then Hong Kong and New York City would be the most affordable places on the planet, and they’re not.”

Norkus-Crampton’s view cuts to the core of the debate as the city takes public comment on a comprehensive plan that will be finalized before the end of the year. It would be a bold experiment, allowing fourplexes the same size as a large home in every residential neighborhood, and dramatically loosening restrictions on the height and type of buildings allowed on dozens of transit routes throughout the city as part of an effort to drive down rental prices.

Not a bad grasp of economics for someone who clearly votes DFL (the hyphen is the tell); if you make something more scarce (by artificially jiggering the availability of crappy apartments by crappy transit, for example), the price will rise.

The plan, we’re told, is to eventually bar all new single-family homes from the city – turning it into a hipster haunt and poverty warehouse (depending on the neighborhood) with a thin film of the wealthy grandfathered in around Lake of the Isles and Minnehaha Creek and West River Road (someone’s gotta administer all the rest of the housing – and it’s so hard to concentrate on other peoples’ best interest when you’re jammed into a four plex next to a train station…

1Just kidding. You can convince Alondra Cano’s voters of pretty much anything. Someday, I may turn to short con games in her ward for a little side income.

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