December 19, 2021

Background

blue-line-extension-adwg.jpeg

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 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. 

The Anti-Displacement Work Group will serve as a body of community that will:

  • Advise on CURA’s anti-displacement research agenda and project organizing 
  • Participate in anti-displacement engagement to different interests on the project
  • Co-interpret meaning of research findings
  • Make recommendations to address displacement within Blue Line Extension Corridor, both policy and investments that the public and private sectors can implement

Apply for the Anti-Displacement Work Group

Learn more about Anti-Displacement Work Group: 

Expand all

Commitment

9 Required Meetings

  • Four full Saturday meetings (in person)
    • Data/research deep dives
    • Speakers from community/governments/private interests
    • Discussion on policy/investment recommendations
    • Four themes:
      • Learnings from existing Blue/Green Lines and previous Blue Line Extension Work
      • Housing/Cultural Displacement
      • Business Displacement
      • Finalizing Recommendations
  • Four 1.5-2 hour weekday meetings (online)
    • Advising on research and engagement
  • One final 2 hour meeting (in person)

Membership

The Anti-Displacement Work Group will have 21 members. Work Group members will include government staff, community members, and foundation staff from major philanthropic organizations that serve the Blue Line Extension project area. We have designed the group to be made up of these members because we are looking for a broad representation of interests that exists around the project. We see the ADWG as a collection of members that can speak into the tensions that already exist around the project, advise on the best ways to engage the constituencies that they are a part of, and implementers that can assist the group in making achievable recommendations. We do not imagine that there will be one voice in this group, but rather represents the challenges that various groups in community face in presenting a vision that is both possible and impactful

The Work Group members will include this representation:

  • 5-6 from governments
    • Hennepin County Gov
    • Metropolitan Council
    • Minneapolis City Gov
    • Robbinsdale City Gov
    • Crystal City Gov
    • Brooklyn Park City Gov
    • Role:
      • Structure recommendations back to responsible governments to get inputs
      • Assist ADWG in developing achievable recommendations 
      • Provide data and other information to research team
      • Provide response back to ADWG recommendations in real time
      • Participate in general ADWG activities
  • 6-7 community members from organizations/businesses
    • 3 businesses, 3 non-profits 
    • Housing and/or anti-displacement centered organizations
    • Small businesses owned and operated by people of color that have been around for awhile and are struggling to stay open
    • Role:
      • Structure recommendations and interests from organizations/partnerships back to ADWG
      • Connect research to organizations/partnerships constituencies and members
      • Participate in general ADWG activities
  • 6-7 non-affiliated community members 
    • Youth
    • Person that has experienced displacement
    • Person at risk of displacement (renter/homeowner)
    • Residents from the jurisdictions within the Blue Line Extension Corridor 
    • Role:
      • Participate in general ADWG activities
  • 3 Philanthropy
    • Roles:
      • Structure learnings back to foundations
      • Find areas of opportunity for philanthropic support of ADWG

Timeline

  • Applications open December 20
  • Interviews: Will occur as received through deadline
  • Deadline for applying is January 14, 2022
  • Group Announced: End of January
  • First Meeting: Early February