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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. 

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

To learn more or join, go to https://www.cura.umn.edu/project/blue-line-extension-anti-displacement-work-group-call?utm_source=CURA&utm_campaign=ada86bc919-CURA_Housing_Forum_nov_18_reminder_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_580f30cfc5-ada86bc919-190628557

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