Background

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. 

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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 Reparative 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. This group would be composed of community members that are potentially most impacted by the threat of displacement as a result of planning and constructing a Blue Line Extension. This group will be created and will exist for the 18 months of this full project. CURA and our partners will be our co-creators for the work that we’re doing. Within our research model, this group are of the community leaders we are powerfully alongside. Group members could also include representatives from Hennepin County, the Metropolitan Council, or any of the cities along the right depending on the general feelings from those same governments and the approach we take on how to build support for the work happening within the group.

Anti-Displacement Work Group application

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 MetropolitaI n 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