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Continued: Twin Cities falls short in taming sprawl, but change is afoot

  • Article by: DAVID PETERSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 2, 2014 - 7:12 AM

Zweifler, who is not impressed by the Met Council’s draft plan, said it’s important not to assume that a millennial-driven urban apartment craze will redefine metro development for eons to come.

“We know what they’re doing in their 20s,” he said, “but what happens 10 years from now when they are having children and looking for schools? The old suburban patterns could reassert themselves unless we make sure that urban settings provide them with what they will need.”

Smart Growth’s Preuss is more confident.

“There is just an entire demographic shift going on,” she said. “Over 20 years we project three-quarters of households will be without kids, and a quarter will be single persons. That means a demand for different kinds of housing that’s not just coming from millennials but also aging boomers.”


David Peterson • 952-746-3285

  • related content

  • The view from I-35W south of Minneapolis may look like a great example of urban sprawl, but pockets of dense housing and retail may be changing the game.

  • Sprawl scores, by county

    Hennepin County ranks as the least sprawling, and exurban counties as the most, in the new national study.


    County: Anoka

    Density: 101.07

    Land use: 111.72

    Centering: 98.03

    Street connect: 105.23

    Composite: 105.07

    County: Carver

    Density: 94.8

    Land use: 100.1

    Centering: 82.7

    Street connect: 100.41

    Composite: 93.05

    County: Chisago

    Density: 91.23

    Land use: 72.57

    Centering: 80.16

    Street connect: 79.33

    Composite: 75.77

    County: Dakota

    Density: 104.83

    Land use: 115.9

    Centering: 86.85

    Street connect: 107.32

    Composite: 104.71

    County: Hennepin

    Density: 114.74

    Land use: 127.82

    Centering: 151.96

    Street connect: 129.69

    Composite: 139.24

    County: Isanti

    Density: 91.07

    Land use: 89.01

    Centering: 80.16

    Street connect: 86.9


    County: Ramsey

    Density: 117.31

    Land use: 135.35

    Centering: 105.13

    Street connect: 148.75

    Composite: 133.66

    County: Scott

    Density: 96.04

    Land use: 104.74

    Centering: 81.51

    Street connect: 85.26

    Composite: 89.75

    County: Sherburne

    Density: 92.57

    Land use: 80.55

    Centering: 85.4

    Street connect: 79.35

    Composite: 80.37

    County: Washington

    Density: 100.91

    Land use: 108.44

    Centering: 82.51

    Street connect: 109.35

    Composite: 100.38

    County: Wright

    Density: 92.03

    Land use: 88.12

    Centering: 85.17

    Street connect: 74.14

    Composite: 80.87


    County: Olmsted

    Density: 98.99

    Land use: 108.08

    Centering: 166.15

    Street connect: 100.70

    Composite: 123.35

    County: St. Louis

    Density: 95.96

    Land use: 113.02

    Centering: 140.27

    Street connect: 103.63

    Composite: 116.7

    County: Stearns

    Density: 95.49

    Land use: 112.29

    Centering: 109.13

    Street connect: 96.54

    Composite: 104.25

    Development density: Combines total density, percentage of the population living in low-density suburban areas, percent of population in medium to high-density areas, urban density within total built-upon land, the relative concentration of density around the center, and job density.

    Land use mix: Balance of jobs to total population and mix of job types within one mile of neighborhoods, plus walkability.

    Activity centering: Measures things such as proportion of jobs and people within a central business district and other employment centers.

    Street accessibility: Factors such as average length of a street block, average block size, percentage of four- or more-way intersections, a measure of street connectivity.

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