Background

Blue Line Anti Displacement Initiative

The METRO Blue Line Extension Light Rail Transit project will extend the existing Blue Line from Target Field Station in Minneapolis northwest to Brooklyn Park and connect communities along the way. The communities along the way include North Minneapolis, Robbinsdale, Crystal, and Brooklyn Park. Currently, the project is deciding between two alignments in North Minneapolis. Around this alignment work, CURA has been contracted by Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council to lead the Blue Line Extension Anti-Displacement Project. This project serves to lead the community through a project to examine the extent to which displacement is or will occur as a result of the Blue Line Extension planning, construction, and operations and support community for developing recommendations to prevent such displacement from occurring in the communities the Blue Line Extension would operate in.

When examining major public infrastructure projects, like the Blue Line Extension, we recognize a pattern that is quite troublesome: public infrastructure investment in vulnerable communities can often exacerbate harm instead of catalyzing repair and prosperity for existing residents in proximity to those projects. We recognize that while investment in historically disinvested communities is a good thing, it often happens at the same time existing residents are being displaced. It is necessary, then, for Hennepin County, the Metropolitan Council, and City governments in Minneapolis, Robbinsdale, Crystal, Brooklyn Center, New Hope and Brooklyn Park to invest in the communities that the Blue Line Extension will serve through both capital investments and anti-displacement centered policy. Primarily, this investment should serve to prevent displacement, repair historical harm in disinvested communities, and build the capacity of marginalized communities to have more agency in public works projects that Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council pursues. 

Principally, Hennepin County, the Metropolitan Council, and other governments have the chance, within the Blue Line Extension Project, to ensure that current residents along the planned line will not be displaced as a result of the transit investment. CURA uses our Racial Equity Framework to support community-driven efforts towards systems and policy change. By combining our research capability and issue expertise with our community organizing approach that centers community members' vision, we think project stakeholders can produce a robust package of investment that will keep current residents to be the primary benefactors of its work. 

Working alongside organizing in the community

  1. Co-developing expanded research agenda with collaborative community partners to ensure research
  2. Convening community and governmental stakeholders to process and participate in research and the work of the Anti-Displacement Work Group
  3. Convening a process to develop recommendations for anti-displacement investment and policy
  4. Working with Hennepin County, Metropolitan Council, City of Minneapolis, City of Brooklyn Park, City of Robbinsdale, and City of Crystal staff on an implementation plan

Anti-Displacement Work Group

Central to this work is the creation and facilitation of a new Blue Line Extension Anti-Displacement Work Group. The work group’s 26 members include residents and business owners in the area, people with lived experience of displacement, and people from the philanthropic community and government agencies. CURA began seeking input on the development of the workgroup in Fall 2021. The application period opened in December and was promoted widely to corridor communities. More than 60 applicants were interviewed before final selections were made in February by a committee that included CURA and project staff, as well as corridor community and business representatives. In addition to monthly public meetings, the work group will host four day-long workshops between May 2022 and February 2023. Each workshop will focus on a single topic or activity:

  • Lessons from the existing Blue and Green Line projects
  • Housing and cultural displacement
  • Business displacement
  • Finalizing recommendations

CURA will lead these workshops and provide qualitative and quantitative research, and the work group will develop final recommendations. Input and support from community, government, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations will inform both the workshops and final recommendations. CURA and our partners will be our co-creators for the work that we’re doing. Within our research model, this group are the community leaders we are working powerfully alongside. Work group members and their organizations can be found below: 

  • Adam Arvindson, Minneapolis Parks Board
  • Kareem Murphy, Hennepin County
  • Sam O’Connell, Met Council
  • Joey Dobson, City of Minneapolis
  • Jim Voll, City of Minneapolis
  • John Sutter, City of Crystal
  • Tim Sandvik, City of Robbinsdale
  • Kim Bergerren, City of Brooklyn Park
  • E Coco, Northside Funders Group/CLCLT
  • Joel Luedtke, Phillips Family Foundation
  • Nichole Buehler, Harrison Neighborhood Association
  • Ricardo Perez, Alliance for Metropolitan Stability 
  • Tom Thao, Move MN
  • KB Brown, West Broadway Business and Area Coalition 
  • Terry Austin, NEON
  • Amanda Xiong, CAPI
  • Candy Bakion, North Minneapolis resident
  • Diane Cormany, Robbinsdale resident
  • Kristel Porter, North Minneapolis resident/MN Renewables Now
  • Kiara Williams, North Minneapolis resident
  • Victoria Kepa, Brooklyn Park resident
  • Ignatius Samuel, Brooklyn Park resident/Crystal business owner
  • Karla Arradondo, Pueblos Unidos Por Justicia
  • Kenzie O’Keefe, Pillsbury United Communities
  • Jackson George, LIBA

Outcomes

  • A research report that details displacement risk as a result of planning and constructing the Blue Line Extension, indicators that will alert Hennepin County to displacement, and recommendations for how to Hennepin County can mitigate risk for displacement as a result of Blue Line Extension completion
  • A developed constituency both in community and government to do anti-displacement work
  • A recommended plan for public and private sector investment and policy to prevent displacement along Blue Line Extension Corridor, including:
    • A recommendation that addresses potential displacement of residents
    • A recommendation that addresses potential displacement of commercial businesses
    • A recommendation that addresses displacement during planning, construction, and long-term effects after line completion
  • A recommendation for Hennepin County, the Met Council, and city governments  investment to address other negative externalities of the Blue Line, including:
    • A recommendation that addresses any residual concerns regarding transit connections, bicycle and pedestrian connections, cultural preservation, and others. 
  • Guidance on implementation of recommendations for Hennepin County, the Metropolitan Council, and city governments.

Team

  • C Terrence Anderson
  • Dr. Brittany Lewis
  • Dr. Edward Goetz
  • Ned Wik Moore
  • Malik Holt-Shabazz
  • Jeff Matson
  • Kristen Murray
  • Dr. Tony Damiano
  • Allison Bell (Bellwether Consulting)
  • Margaret Kaplan (Housing Justice Center)

Partners

Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council

Links