Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins, and Councilmembers Jeremiah Ellison (Ward 5) and Alondra Cano (Ward 9) are pushing to amend the city’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan to include a new policy aimed at establishing Cultural Districts in Minneapolis.
They argue Cultural Districts strengthen neighborhoods made up largely of people of color, indigenous, and immigrant communities by accelerating economic development and housing affordability strategies.
“Cultural Districts function both as a driver for equity and inclusive economic growth,” said Frey. “Areas like East Lake Street and West Broadway are packed with potential – potential that can and will be realized by galvanizing the very communities and people presently contributing to and rejuvenating them. Our Cultural Districts can be more than an undesignated, imprecise area. They can be sought-out destinations with thousands of different tastes, smells, sounds, and people – all of which make our city great.”
“Cultural District designations pave the way to create destination communities by building on the cultural assets and through encouraging investments in housing, economic development, cultural centers and cultural activities that serve to build community and counter displacement,” said Jenkins.
Jenkins, through her leadership on the Strategic and Racial Equity Action Plan, has also introduced amendments to the 2040 Plan centered on racial equity. The new Cultural Districts policy will complement goals in the 2040 Plan to advance racial equity, prevent displacement, and fuel economic growth through inclusion.
“The purpose of Cultural Districts will be to equip creative, powerful, and resilient communities with the tools to build wealth, solidify the historic roots that have defined different parts of our city, and remedy the harms caused by longstanding disinvestment,” said Ellison “It’s no secret that all over the country major cities are facing various forms of displacement – of people, or local businesses, and of cultural identities of whole neighborhoods. Minneapolis has an opportunity to get ahead of this problem before it drives out the character of our city. In everything we do as a city, we must ask ourselves, who benefits? If it’s not the people who have made a place a place, then it’s not the solution we need. Cultural Districts will stand as one of our many anti-displacement strategies.”
“This work has been fermenting over the years,” said Cano. “The framework grows from the decades long effort by the Indigenous community to establish a cultural corridor on Franklin Avenue. This City effort is meant to partner and support their work while expanding the vision to welcome additional diverse communities to thrive and lead with culture first.”