Zoning and Racial and Ethnic Change in Minneapolis 1960-2020

Haku Bo, University of Minnesota
Kate Knowles, University of Minnesota
Evan Roberts, University of Minnesota
Camille Samuelson, University of Minnesota
Ying Song, University of Minnesota

American racial segregation has received significant attention from demographers and historians, particularly changing neighborhood demographics. However, demographers have paid relatively little attention to changing legal limits for how much can be built in different areas. These municipal limits on housing production and form—“zoning”—are well recognized as driving differences in segregation levels between metropolitan areas. Cities that place more limits on housing production tend to be more racially segregated. In this paper we map parcel level changes in zoning in Minneapolis from 1960-2020, and relate zoning changes to changing neighborhood composition. Historical zoning maps are straightforward yet highly time consuming to digitize, and match to population level data at a fine spatial scale. However, we find that the boundaries for zoning and population data are often similar. We discuss how to measure zoning that varies on a finer scale than population data. Substantively we find that whiter areas of Minneapolis close to downtown, which initially allowed for substantial increases in population density were downzoned from the 1970s to 1990s after periods of population growth. The changing treatment of inner-ring neighborhoods from being an area of projected growth in apartments across multiple blocks to an area that allowed apartments only on main streets reflected changing orthodoxies in urban planning, and local neighborhood organization to propose lower-intensity zoning under the guise of historic preservation. Conversely, downzoning was significantly less apparent in North- and Northeast Minneapolis, whose populations became less white between 1980 and 2010.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 67. The Production of Spatial Exclusion