Listen: Minneapolis

On this regional public affairs program, a discussion on trends regarding the health of the city of Minneapolis. After a downturn of 1950s-1960s due to suburban growth, the 1970’s show positive changes, including increase in middle- and upper-income families moving back into the city, and investment in neighborhoods and older buildings.

Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.

What we try to do is always look at where we are sort of in relation to other cities around the country. We know for example that our neighborhoods are less deteriorated physically more stable socially then the number of the older Eastern cities. So on this kind of relative scale if we see a continuation of some of the trends that the Eastern cities are the oldest cities of demonstrated that are kind of negative in nature. Then we worry about the health if we can see some of those turning around and we say we think we got a city whose house is fairly good.the city for example, which can you show a continuing good mixture of age groups of economic groups from World Whopper income a good mixture of homeowner versus rental a good mixture of occupation types has a better chance of maintaining its stability than one that gets overbalanced in One Direction or another Okay, how is Minneapolis doing on that particular score? For a number of years we were not doing too well from about 1950 on through 1970. It was quite evident that we were showing Transit were typical of older cities across the country tending to lose our middle-income productive age families to Suburban locations, seeing an increase in the proportion and often the number of poor families and individuals and increase and young adults an increase in senior citizens know none of these Trends in Minneapolis happened as fast or with as serious consequences as happened in the number of other cities, but the evidence was there this year's report. We look particularly at what's happened in respect to these kinds of movements in and out since 1970 and we begin to see some of the pre 1970 Trends change. I guess the most notable thing in this respect was an increase in the kind of upper middle and upper-income families who before had been quite clearly slipping away. Other locations in the metropolitan area are we saw an increase in the managerial and professional types of occupations? We saw an increase in employment in the city 2 expansion of manufacture that turned around the 1971 where we had been losing employment. It's now coming back again slowly about 400 jobs easier, but that's a good sign. Any idea why middle and upper income people are moving back to the city. I think there's several factors involved. One of them is just simply the state of the housing market at the present time housing starts are dropped to virtually nothing throughout the metropolitan area. A lot of people who might have moved out to the new house and some some some development on the Suburban Fringe Now find that that's priced even out of the reach of some of the upper income families and that they can find equal or even better values by buying some of the older housing of the Central City then fixing it up. I think another cause has been their number of our areas have some very unique amenities that people recognize and with that maybe there's been some kind of attitude and lifestyle changes were people are saying, you know, I kind of value living in a neighborhood that's got older houses right in there a beautiful Park system or lake or something like this. It's going to be on a manatee areas such as a Southwest or the Unico, Masseria that are doing quite well. Their number people also who attribute some of the Moon and back to the city to increase energy and transportation costs. This may figure in the future. We're not sure that we yet see that as a major influence on this kind of movement. Are you encouraged by the trends you found out I have to go to the next answer. Yes. I am encouraged and we were delighted to find some of these indicators which had turned around since 1970. I would also have to count balance that however against the fact that in some of the less strong areas within the city of those are black natural amenities those in which the housing is much older and much poor condition those which have undergone more radical social change over the years that the problems we have are not much different from some of the other cities. We have our share of problems within these areas and what seem to emerge this year in impression Mystic fast-fashion was rather interesting kind of hardening up with the good areas in the kind of further softening of the poor areas so that there was more definition between them in a white No, I do not think the Minneapolis has to be concerned that it will see some of the same kinds of problems emerge at the scale and with the disastrous consequences that have happened where problems of poverty of racial conflict of deterioration of the physical structure of virtually overwhelmed Cities Minneapolis is in the Unseen Paul as well. I think this holds true I have never had such a scale of problems if they weren't manageable if there was some public and private dedication to try and do correct them kind of guy the city into a directions it wanted to go we aren't there yet. And I don't know that anybody has all the solutions for this. Are you so much surprised that the semi blight did not spread further out in the city. Yes compared with what projections might have been. Let's say about 10 years ago. When you had a kind of vacuum being created by a lot of people moving out of some of the areas of really weren't too deteriorated that much of the predictions of more often the word that there be around the Rapids butter spread of light to use outside as an example of further shelters in the area. I think very healthy sign one of the right good science here is it that has not occurred it nearly that rapid rate and it would suggest them that the neighborhood's further south or holding up quite well and that the sort of pelamela forces it some other cities have seen inside of a wholesale turn over in the ocean if they operated operated a much slower Pace conversely then how are the better neighborhoods improving? They seem to be improving in levels of Maintenance. They are improving particularly and kind of confidence levels or seems to be the key to it. I think that people are saying there's a very good neighborhood and I want to make sure that stays that way I invest in their housing they organized into a very active vocal and effective neighborhood groups. They get it together on washing for the Dutch elm disease this kind of thing and it's reflected in a market sensor in a rather striking increase in the value of housing within the area now inflation and housing values is a phenomenon that goes across the region and across Nation but there's some neighborhoods in Minneapolis that have had far more rapid increase in value than virtually any other apart of the metropolitan area. That's a rather surprising statistics because usually you think that the housing values increase greatest in the Suburban areas. I think it's explainable in part by some of the factors that cited earlier the Very few new housing starts within the area explainable by the fact that people are getting back in on some of these are is it a few years ago would not have been considered as competitive which parts of the city are growing so rapidly and property value in the Loring Park Kenwood Lake of the Isles type barrier when I say Loring Park them more accurate would be Lowry Hill area to the west of Loring Park. It's evident Southwest Round Lake Sand is evidenced over around Lake Nokomis in that area. So it is with the exception of Lori Hill still farther the further out you go the greater the property values increase. Yes, this is true of most of the indicators of the relative stability and condition physical condition of neighborhoods of phone is pretty much as we've always seen her in the past that the area is nearest to the center of the city are the ones that seem to suffer the most problems as for the you got out the more of the problems diminish and at some point the transition is into an area which seems to have no discernible concentration of any of deteriorated houses or anything like this was due on the Northside of the Northeast and the part of the Northside in the Canton area. There are few exceptions to what to do show up where there has been a major public-private effort to restore neighborhood st. Anthony the Old Saint Anthony neighborhood would be a very good example over south of East Broadway shows the same kind of thing increase in home values increased in gums and everything else what you find. Some of the area's I forgot South that I decided what do your findings about the condition of an age of Housing and the socioeconomic status of parts of the city tell you about the the housing programs and so forth that were engaged in in the 60s. I guess it says we didn't have enough resources to do the job. There's been a lot of money poured into these areas and you don't solve problems by throwing money out. The my use. The money is just a surrogate to description for what was a lot of effort made to resolve some of these problems in some neighborhoods. It was pretty successful. I mention St. Anthony experience large areas of south side door. For example, when I'm afraid to parts of areas of near North as well. Sure scale of the problem was greater than even the more lavish resources available a few years ago. We were able to address a kind of estimated that whole area from o Franklin downtown out maybe to the first year of neighborhood south of Lake Street this needs attention and there's a lot of housing in there that needs fixing up. There's a lot of people Need the various social services and programs persistence. And at the present scale resources available computer in your effort know. Those are there is of major Current public programming and private individual and community and neighborhood effort. But so far we have not seen I think success comprable to that than some of the other neighborhoods like Saint Anthony are sororities on which clearly did forced all kinds of decline. I would not want to be in a way. We've been talkin here in terms that seem to relate to high value versus low value on upper-income versus low income and so on wouldn't want to give the impression that the health of the city is dependent upon its becoming a higher income place. The challenge is I think to assure that their opportunities throughout the metropolitan area for persons of all income right now because the City of Minneapolis has the older house because it has the bulk of lower cost or rent housing because it has provided the Lion Share in our half of the metropolitan area of Publican subsidized housing. It tends to be the only place that person's below a certain income can find a home where is strongly supportive and I think some of the date of this report indicates, it's a wise policy strongly supported at the Metropolitan council's efforts to promote wider Low Income Housing Opportunity throughout the entire region in suburbs as well. What arguments can you offer that it would be to the suburbs advantage to have low income or moderate income housing? Why was cut out first of all mine by saying simple equity and Justice? I think the man's opportunity for everyone within the area. I think you can get down to some specific cases for example, as take senior citizen population. What's the central City's have build heavily over the years subsidized senior citizen housing, but it's reaching now the point where the those who are going to become seniors within the next 10 years 20 years are those who left the city 10 20 30 years ago and are not living in Suburban areas. So the suburbs are faced with the very interesting question. Are they going to provide the same kinds of opportunities for seniors to remain in their Community subsidizing as often has to be done with the senior citizen on limited income subsidized housing for them, or are they going to say no the senior who has been most Life here has to go back into the Central City in order to live. This is cause Minneapolis to take fairly strong position on not over building in the future on such things as a subsidized or public housing for senior citizens. And I think it's a good argument for the Suburban areas to begin to provide for their own. This is where this is going to happen. In fact, the number of steps. I've been able to sell it with their populace on the idea of taking care of their own. I think our interest as well. All of them get back to the equity question goes to the family population particularly in terms of proximity job opportunities that with what had been that 20 year or so trend of jobs particularly manufacturing and lower school jobs going into Suburban areas. All the jobs are out there, but the people who would fill them tend to still live in the city of Minneapolis. It makes sense from the standpoint by me. Opportunity for the lower skull person but also for saving and transportation costs for building the kind of community in relation to the job market it make sense to provide housing and you were those Suburban job opportunities also. You make the point in this report that the general housing stock in the City of Minneapolis is quite old. What are the implications of that fact? The implications are primarily that it's going to need some attention so that it doesn't wear out. There is a very strong relationship between the age of Housing and the rate at which it deteriorates for 50 or 60 years houses in this part of the country. Hold up pretty well past that 50 or 60 your point the percentage which require Rehabilitation of some kind increases dramatically with each year that the ages that the house ages. With most of our stock having been built more than 50 or 60 years ago. It says we have a major need for preservation maintenance Rehabilitation of the presents. And the for a few years that needs is going to increase more rapidly even than it has in the past lot of houses are just about reaching that that 60 year point right now. Are the existing programs to deal with that adequate? We know that the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency is providing some Rehabilitation loans. There is the the home the $1 Urban Homestead Act in Minneapolis, and some of the banks are making low interest loans available, but is all of that adequate and if not what needs to be done? You left all one other program the city is very proud of which has its own local Loan program that functions much as the state Housing Finance Agency and actually predated it by a couple of years. I suppose. The easy answer is to say that resources are never sufficient to accomplish everything that you want to do. All those programs have been very popular. I think they've been very beneficial but we suffer somewhat particularly on those areas that require more than normal maintenance require a fairly intensive effort. We suffer the effects of what has been a rather. Or what was I should say a rather serious withdrawal of the federal interest in rebuilding cities this occurred in the previous administration mail previous. I don't know what the hell you describe our present Administration. It occurred does a kind of strategy of the Nixon Administration when it's can't want to came in to kind of slow down some of that great society and put this on rebuilding cities and it showed up in a slowing down in federal resources. Some of that is coming back now with Community Development block grant says, they're call replacing the old the categorical programs which used to address this. Most of our bot grant money falls into Rehabilitation of housing, but we had a rather unfortunate Hiatus there for two or three years where the money just wasn't coming in and we Face a rather appalling future if the present legislation that governs Community Development block grants continues and that it gives money to cities on a formula basis and our formula would have us begin to after next year or decline very abruptly in the amount of funds. Would you receive from the federal government that may be changed legislatively, but I am having to believe myself that no matter how much and how energetic are local efforts are such as the state and local programs that the problems of cities are such that they do require that brought her resource base, which comes from the federal level right now. I would have to say that local resources are not sufficient to do the job entirely. And it's going to require some good initiatives both locally and nationally to get the amount of support in here to really address that maintenance of our existing housing problem. The government has for a long time. He had the policy of encouraging homeownership primarily through the GH4 the GI in the FHA loan and there has been some effort and encouraging new construction by the income tax credit, which was granted last year for the purchase of brand new homes. Do you think that the magnitude of the rehabilitation problem is such that a similar kind of policy ought to be encouraged by the federal government. One of the most important areas is to assure that some of the programs such as the FHA VA mortgage programs on don't run counter to this effort to preserve and Revitalize the central City's for example, it was probably true that the red ready availability of GI and FHA mortgages for new Suburban housing Construction in the fifties and sixties contributed to our a big population drain in those years that was easier to go out and build your new house on the 58 retract out in the suburbs someplace and get the financing for it while financing is a tight ball game all over the place right now. I think there are some healthy signs of both within the Real estate financing industry and within the federal government itself of turning their attention and their resources to the problem of maintaining order cities. This report is just chock-full of interesting little tidbits and one could spend easily an hour just going over a few of them, but there's one and when start missing the the thrust of the whole thing with there's one that I would like to to ask you about and that is with regard to rental housing. The image has always been at the problem with rental housing is the slum landlord the individual or the corporation that owns 20 or 30 or 40 buildings and lets them all run down your report points out that most of the apartment buildings owned in Minneapolis are held by just one person who might own one building or two buildings or something like that. And these small buildings are really the ones for the greatest problems occur. Yes, I think that's the data shows that show that fairly well and that is different than the common perception of it. I'll part of the this is due to the fact that Minneapolis is not a very high density City and we don't have the block on block of large apartments that you would get her to New York or Philadelphia or something of this nature. It's a lot of them tend to be in the 2 3 4 unit type of structure which commonly is not the attractive investment for the big guy who is dealing in a lot of rental property with a lot of income. But it also have those create the problem that uses to turn mine in the in the report her to mon population of owning maybe a couple of income duplexes. And so on those those are all people frequent don't have the cash for an income to keep him fix up very well what tip percentage of people in Minneapolis rent versus those who own? Approximately and I don't have the figure at my fingertips are approximately 40% of the population of the city live in rental housing in about 60% in owner-occupied housing. Now, the actual proportion of rental housing units is larger in the cities total housing stocks more like a 50/50 split. But the number of people who live in rental housing household size is much smaller in rental housing than it is in family housing. So we still have a majority of the population that are in owner-occupied family type structures. Then I have to ask you about this very interesting statistic 62% of Minneapolis residents filing a tax return in 1974 reported in comes under $10,000. So are we to conclude from that that a fair number of people who have incomes under $10,000 do on their own homes? Yes, many of them are senior citizens was income for very frequently lies at the lower end of the range. We have a surprising proportion of our owner-occupied housing is owned by senior citizens about the 30% Mark. No. Their income maybe law, but they've also paid off the mortgage about the other equity in the house and so on and they like to remain in them. So then if you take a look at the these various maps that that you've provided that show the family income breakdown by neighborhood and property value by neighborhood. You see that in the central part of the city in the little bit south of there actually in the Powderhorn neighborhood the median family income for example might be somewhere in the vicinity of under $9,000. You have to the average price of a home sold in that area is about $21,000. When we conclude then that somebody with a low income is owning a $21,000 house. I could be in that isn't too far off. The old rule of thumb was what was it the value of your house to house should not be more than two and a half times your annual income something of this nature. Now, they revise that downward. Yes, and I think appropriately so I think what this also would suggest is something that probably some other day to demonstrates quite well and that is what we have in the areas of lower-income many people paying more than a an appropriate chair that income for shelter paying up 30-40 50% or something like that. Some of it is the traditional role of a large city in being the place for single young adults to come to for education for jobs. For their first time away from home and I think the tendency in recent years has been for those single young adults to find their own housing two more often live alone and moving in to say a rooming house or group quarters of some kind. Moreover I think we are seeing the this trend augmented by the fact that we're feeling the effects of at least the latter part of the post-war Baby Boom a lot of the kids born then there now reaching the age of young adults when they're striking out on their own leaving their families setting perhaps to find their own housing. It causes them an increase in the number of one-person household within the city what percentage of the Minneapolis population is single 22% of the population in 1970 was single that's increased so that we know estimate the single population is 27% of the city's total. What are we to make of the increase in the number of singles? What does that mean as far as public policy is concerned? I don't know there an increase in sings singles is a good or bad sign in relation to Cities Health. I think what we're concerned with is that we constantly strive to achieve a pretty good population mix so that the city or particular areas of the city. You don't become overwhelmingly made up of one type of individual that's kind of a relation. So to speak the truth from public policy standpoint. We would try to try to avoid I expect your public handle on this is and how are able to help the city develop a mixture of housing types singles require a particular type of Housing and although we have seen some evidence of single individuals buying up large older homes fixing him up and that's their choice. Now same time some of that may not utilize housing as well as a larger family could Does the large increase in or does that you are definition of singles include couples who are unmarried? Well, we're Bound by our date on this one then so it would depend entirely on whether they filed separate tax returns. That's how you got the information through tax returns. Yes under some very strict confidentiality or procedures were we do not see the individual Returns the state tax department automated files permit the aggregation of this data together on the census tract basis to give us a sense of probably our only current source that is nonsense is source of what the socio-economic makeup of the city is like so you would not have for example gone to and and correlated by address. So is to determine how many single people are might be living in one residence and so forth? No, we don't do that for privacy reasons. That's what being on weren't invasion of privacy in our opinion. We are seeing some evidence. What is it change in attitudes and Lifestyles is having a quite significant impact on the city in particular its population level. And that is a major decrease in family size and it's so since 1970. The birth rate is simply plummeted in. This is a national phenomenon course what has effect on the city is well and so we're in a lot of area is a few years ago. You would have seen the family buying in the either had mama papa and two or three kids. It was going to have it now. It's just mama papa and frequently both of them working this may cause some re-evaluation then all the neighborhoods function or what kind of facilities they need might not need as many tot lots and waiting pools for instance, maybe more cross country ski runs or something like that and schools for having sex. That's a tremendously expensive proposition for the city has been quite evident in some of the recent studies and reports released by the school board. The decline and School enrollment has been steady and strong for Number of yours, and it raises questions of what kind of school plant in school program can all serve a much-reduced pupil population that reduction that will probably is going to continue don't necessarily mean closing lot of schools doesn't mean an opportunity to offering to get rid of schools that are no longer adequate to the educational program and it does mean some new investments in schools have some of the recent school construction is indicated has the number of senior citizens gone up in Minneapolis know if anything is going down. I think we're beginning to see evidence about 73-74 of a decline in the total of the Sioux City Senior Citizen population. I think that this relates to what we were talking about a little while ago that the replacement population so to speak for seniors in the city those living in the city. Now we're becoming seniors that population is growing less and less precisely because that was the population Group which declined with the Suburban movement after 1950s always think that this is going to continue rather dramatically total decrease in seniors, assuming that senior those who will become senior is now resident in other communities choose to remain in those communities and have the option to remain in those communities. If they don't have the options and given the large amount of housing appropriate for senior citizens. We have within the city or given perhaps continued building at a high rate of this then that senior population wouldn't go down but if things remain Daddy can people exercise a choice to remain with where they wish I think within a couple of decades we're going to have a dramatically small or senior population was in Minneapolis. What kind of changes have there been in the minority population of Minneapolis. The minority population has increased it is not increased at a anymore rapid rate since 1970 than was ever evident in the decade 1960 to 1970 the modest increase of about 5% a year for the black population about 8% a year for the Native American population to the extent that one can cross Native American population data. There's generally and under counter of both black and Native. This is not a large increase. We have not had it is probably due in part in migration and in part to natural increase nationally and I expect locally to birth rates are higher with in the minority population than what was in the white population. Does this increase in minority population pose any particular problems for the city? Only to the extent that the minority population is more likely to suffer from lack of opportunity discriminatory barriers poor job opportunities lower job skills and lower-income. And that is of course a very familiar thing and it's one of the one of the challenges that unless we can ensure an equal opportunity for minorities to primarily a secure economic advancement within the city. Then we have a quote problem unquote, which is the same problem but exacerbated by a discrimination that it puts other low-income populations of the city. Where do most of the people who live in Minneapolis work? a most of them work in Hennepin County But a decreasing a number have work directly in Minneapolis and this is been pretty characteristic are they here is no more recent than 1970. But in that you're 72% well almost seventy-three still work in the City of Minneapolis over. This was a decline from the 87% who would work in Minneapolis 10 years before that have businesses moved away. Is that the reason he has primarily it's been a matter of well, if not business is moving away at least of expanding job opportunities within the more I was lying areas. The city has had trouble maintaining as competitive a posture for business and industry as many of the newly developing areas and there's a lot of things involve land cost difficulty of assembling sites. In some cases of the obsolescence of factories built to 40 or 50 years ago. We by no means have lost the competitiveness of certain areas of the city are downtown is tremendously strong and does grow as a popular as a as an employment. There's no question in more in the manufacturing sector and this is where I think right at the outset. I mentioned we found one of them or right Trends in this is really quite pleased about that that loss of jobs in manufacturing stopped about 1971. And since then we have been showing a definite increase positive increase in employment within the manufacturing sector of the Central City. It is still not a proportional share to what that girls would have been compared to the metropolitan area is a hole so we still got some challenges there, but it's a good sign of progress. What is the rate of unemployment in the city? Unemployment rates are difficult to arrive at for the City of Minneapolis data are in perfect on this we're working at it. But to get get a broken down to the city and its sub areas is just virtually impossible now, I think it is everyone's sense that the central cities have a higher unemployment rate than the metropolitan area has a hole in the metro area. I think is something around what the state rate is. We do not face the severe unemployment problems with less the first five manufacturing cities in parts of the country do but within sub areas of the city notably areas of low income in minority unemployment rate as I'm sure our Serious problem particularly for minority use the last good date on this available 1970 show does high as twenty-five 30% minority was unemployment. And that was pretty recession data. What do you foresee for the City by say the year 2000? Encouraged by some of the trends we've seen since 1979 shut those continue. I think we could be encouraged to say that by the year 2000 we will continue to have that kind of good reputation. We seem to go around the country is being an urban area that if it hasn't solved all this problems is doing a better job than most. I think that you will continue to see the growth of Minneapolis and particularly if it's downtown as a service center. We're not a heavy manufacturing City are big Industries the least the ones that seem to grow best are the the brain Industries the ones with the small lightweight product and very high value or the typical Financial Insurance Real Estate Services kind of Occupational opportunities. I see that roll continuing and continuing quite strongly I think by 2011 what I would like to see in that is a better balance within the City's population as we have talked about 4, we have a good mix of look more like that of the metro area is a hold the weather like for chief does much as we want by mm is difficult to safe. I think the biggest challenge is going to make sure that some of those parts of the city which now look like they're not improving and maybe getting somewhat worse aren't don't continue that Trend and buy $2,000 or the kind of thing that we're seeing some other cities and want to try to avoid have you in your planning taken into account some of the predictions by the state demographer about population changes within the state. Yes, we've taken those into account. Do I suspect become a population projections from a little different point of view than the demographer Hazel tends to say. Well this is where the people are going. And so you walk to build and shape or facilities for that. We say if this is what the projection say and we're not sure we want those projections to happen within the city. What can we do to alter them? What can public policy or private ever? Do you say that the projections don't come true. Well now I'm stating two extremes on that one. The figures don't concern us as much as who make up those figures. That's the important thing and here I don't think we're in any case of conflict one projection or another something like this. We just want to make sure that the sum of what we see is essential components of a very livable City and that is some of this population mix productive age families. For example are not lost. It's not that people are not going to be having as many kids as they used to a certainly if that Trend continues that will be the case. You will have houses by the year 2000 which in many cases will be as old as a hundred years old. How do you think that those two factors will combine to cause construction of a different kind of house altogether in the city or can there be a rehabilitation like in another fifty years of some of these houses lot of large cities in a large houses in the city and maybe there won't be much use for them if people don't have large families. There's no question right now, but what the popular very popular attitude of City residents and I expect residents everywhere is I looked this good housing stock. We have the let's preserve it. Let's maintain it. And I think it's appropriate otherwise would be facing some some real very short-term problems or deterioration of the city recent editorial in one of the papers pointed out the old at that. Maybe I could be balanced should be balanced by look also at the question replacement over the long term. Get down to Serious more complex questions and I are really wouldn't want to try to answer in a few minutes Bob the but it could include such things as some districts because of historic Association because of fine quality of original construction because of there just to find amenities. I think we'll have no trouble making that hundred your points will have no trouble finding the families to fill them even though you may not have six persons and I also have two or three enjoying it very much affording it there's some houses within the city fortunately not too many concentrated. We we grew up kind of enough shotgun spread fashion back in the 80s and 90s, but there's some of these that of probably not going to make it to that hundred your point maybe shouldn't and I think you're some recognition of this for example is that he has a new house Program which and effects picks up on a voluntary basis. The little old houses that people just don't want to even try to sell any more tears of Dawn and provides a lot for somebody to build a new house and it's been quite successful but I do think that yes as we get over. What is the current necessity to make sure that this big chunk of turn-of-the-century housing doesn't doesn't fall apart past then we ought to begin to think about what other kinds of new options for housing. Can we provide for what will probably be different structures of families lifestyles in the future?


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