What’s your deal?

As more people move to Minneapolis and St. Paul, they need places to live. Minneapolis has grown by 30,000 people from 2010 to 2015, and has not added enough housing to accommodate this increase in population. This is the primary reason that rents are rising across the city. MSPyimby is dedicated to increasing the housing supply in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Don’t new buildings lead to gentrification?

People should be free to live where they want to live. When more housing is built, especially in areas that have wonderful amenities (low crime, transit access, bikeable, walkable, etc.), then more people can live there, and existing residents won’t be forced to move. Gentrification happens when wealthier residents move into an area that has limited housing available, which causes landlords to raise rents, which then pushes poorer residents out. The best way to prevent that is by building more housing. So new buildings do not lead to gentrification, but they help minimize its effects.

Wait, but surely these new buildings will cause high rents in a neighborhood?

No, the lack of available housing leads to higher rents. New buildings create more available housing. Without any new developments in my former neighborhood (near uptown), my rent went up about $200 in less than 4 years. If there were more available apartments, I could’ve moved to a nearby apartment instead of accepting rent increases. More housing empowers renters.

The rents for these new apartments are expensive! I can’t afford that!

Good news, you don’t have to live there! I’ve never been able to afford a new car (or even a new bike). But if they stopped building new cars simply because low-income people can’t afford them, we wouldn’t have *any* used, affordable cars. Likewise, the rent in your current apartment building was also probably quite high when it was built. Over time, this goes down. Let the rich people buy the new stuff and the rest of us can have it when they’re done.RentLessExpensiveWithAgeRents Become Less Expensive As A Building Ages

If rents are going up, why don’t you focus on affordable housing?

The region-wide rise in rental cost is due to an overall lack of housing. If we build enough housing for everyone, more housing becomes affordable. In addition, affordable housing often becomes concentrated in poor areas of the city. This concentration of poverty leads to continued racial and economic disparity, which helps no one. Affordable housing is rarely going to be built in wealthy areas, due to high land costs. We are facing a housing shortage, and need more market-rate and affordable housing.

But some new developments are actually tearing down existing affordable housing!

This is true and unfortunate. There aren’t many vacant lots in wealthy areas because they’ve already been built upon. Sometimes single family houses are torn down so that multiple families can enjoy the neighborhood. If a single-unit residence is torn down to make room for a four-plex, that’s at least three more people who can live in an area, and three people who aren’t driving up the cost of your apartment.

Hey, there’s a lot of vacant lots in North! Why can’t developers just build there instead?

“Build it elsewhere!” This is the rallying cry of the NIMBY (Not In My BackYard). North has other problems, both real and perceived, which prevent many from considering living (or developing housing) there. These problems have been ongoing for decades, and there are many groups advocating for changes.

North needs the amenities and infrastructure that already exist in other parts of the city. Developers build where there is demand, and low land values indicate there is little demand in North Minneapolis right now. Better infrastructure and services will improve the low land values and increase the desirability of this area of Minneapolis.

What’s “missing middle” housing and why do we need it?

There’s a good piece in MinnPost on it:

Missing Middle Housing