| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed

Development News

Big Picture Project aims to focus affordable housing possibilities for Central Corridor

Last month, the Big Picture Project kicked off with a public meeting at the Profile Event Center in Minneapolis, themed around equitable transit-oriented development in Seattle.

It'll help inform future affordable housing projects along the planned 11-mile Central Corridor Light Rail Transit line that is to connect downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The Big Picture Project is an effort to come up with a comprehensive affordable housing strategy for this key stretch.

Ryan Curren, a special projects coordinator for the city of Seattle's Office of Housing, who spoke at the meeting last month, says of the project, "It's smart to set affordable housing targets along the corridor and stations years ahead of when the line is running.".

"It gives something to aim for and a way to orient policy proposals toward those goals, with inclusionary goals or new sources of funding or existing sources of funding," he says.

To meet those goals, Seattle has found that "It takes more targeted public subsidy and a tool or policy that requires market-rate developers to create some level of affordable housing in their development," on-site or off-site.

TC LISC, a local branch of a national organization that helps leverage resources for community development, is leading the Big Picture Project in partnership with the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, with the support of the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, according to TC LISC program officer Kristina Homstad.  

As it is, over 30 plans envisioning future affordable housing developments near the line have been put together, but there's no "coordinated plan that brings synergy to this wide range of effort," the project's website reads.

The idea is to "move beyond projects to placemaking."

A "big picture" strategy can help attract investment to the area, stabilize existing housing stock, preserve affordable rentals, and ensure that any new developments are in the best interests of community members, the website explains.

To carry out the project, a team that includes government, finance, community, and development representatives is studying the various affordable housing plans, maps, national case studies, and more.

Based on their findings, the group will come up with some recommendations and policies, which the public will be able to weigh in on in a series of community forums and neighborhood meetings that are underway through September.

In November a final plan will go before various project partners, including the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Hennepin and Ramsey counties, the Metropolitan Council, and Minnesota Housing, according to Big Picture Project information.

Ultimately, the group hopes that the plan will lead to "better coordinated housing that helps create a sense of place along the Central Corridor and improves residents' lives," the website states. 

Source: Kristina Homstad, program officer, TC LISC, Ryan Curren, city of Seattle
Writer: Anna Pratt

Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts