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Development Debacle

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The Minneapolis Warehouse district has changed a lot in the last ten years, and the most recent addition to the list will be the new Twins Stadium. This construction and development of that area has displaced many families and individuals. Leaving the homeless and with no extra cash in pocket to find a new place to live. A solution must be found, this cannot continue.

A design issue in Minneapolis I identified is in the neighborhood of the Target Center a few blocks of Nicollet Avenue. In this area, behind the Target Center, developers have demolished the old apartment buildings that used to exist there, and replaced them with new nicer higher income housing. The new condo’s and apartments that stand there are nicer than the previous buildings, and can be leased and sold for a much higher price. Developers bought the land for relatively cheap and made out well after selling the units. The condo's prices are made all the higher by the location in the city. The buildings are integrated into the warehouse district located close to both the Lightrail Transportation system, and Nicollet Avenue. Being Nicollet Avenue is the main shopping district in the city, it attracts a higher clientele than a normal mall would. The higher income individuals that want to have a safe condo that is integrated into the city, and also is in a great location would flock to these units.

This is a problem because the previous residents get forgotten. Their leases in their old buildings just ran out, they were asked to move out and that was that. They did not get any money for the land owner selling the land and building. They just got a notice saying their leases were up and they would need to find new places to live. This is not fair, as designers we should be able to find alternatives to either place those people in the same building or in an alternative location by building low income units specifically so they will not have any problems or issues about the new construction happening in the area. One possibility would be for the developer to dig into their profit margin a little bit, buy land somewhere else and build new houses for the displaced families and individuals. This is not very likely because the goal of most companies is to maximize the profits. Another would be to hire some temporary faculty to find housing for the displaced people. A strategy that we discussed to a similar problem in discussion today brought to my attention that in Europe, mixing of incomes in buildings is a very common practice. It may not work very well because it is not the tradition in our country to have that be the case. As American’s we do not like change and therefore this solution is a far from perfect one. There is no perfect solution to this problem because the developers will always be looking for a way to make a buck, and they will always be forgetting the displaced from their projects. It is our job as the community to take a stand and force the designers and developers to figure out ways to help the people that for whatever reason cannot help themselves.