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04/5/2019 | Local Progress: A National Network of Progressive Local Elected Officials

Local Progress Hosts Webinar on North Star for Minneapolis

Local Progress is a network, housed within CPD, that supports progressive elected officials, facilitates best practice sharing, and connects members in their shared efforts for a more equitable and just future for communities across the country. One of the most elusive challenges faced by localities large and small across the country is to plan for growth and the decades to come in an inclusive way that rectifies historical injustice. Fortunately, this past year, Minneapolis succeeded in providing a north star from which communities all over can draw inspiration.

On March 15, Local Progress hosted a webinar about Minneapolis 2040, the city’s comprehensive plan, which the council passed in late 2018 after an in-depth three year process. The webinar featured Council President Lisa Bender, Councilmembers Phillipe Cunningham (ward 4), and Jeremiah Ellison (ward 5) and Long-Range Planning Director Heather Worthington.

The content focused on several aspects of the plan: process and timeline, key highlights, and the political conditions that made it feasible in the first place. In particular, the city grounded the work in the community through a robust effort to solicit widespread engagement from start to finish, which included the creation of a Civic Engagement Plan to help ensure efficiency and transparency. This commitment to community engagement produced a clear need for a long-term vision of the city grounded in racial equity that could begin to address past historical injustices. The goals of the legislation include eliminating disparities, creating affordable and accessible housing, and fostering a healthy, safe and connected populace, to name just a few.

Local Progress members share in the desire to see their cities and future growth serve everyone, not just those at the top of the wealth scale. In many cases, growth and economic development intentionally leaves people behind, particularly communities of color. Historically, communities have often been left out of decision-making and deprived of the ability to build wealth. Minneapolis acknowledges that there are systemic and racist barriers which they must address to move forward building a vision of their city that is for everyone. The Minneapolis plan 2040, both in creation and design, offers an exciting case for cities seeking to realize similar commitments to equity and justice for their communities. Watch the webinar here.