Minneapolis Resolution Establishing "Green Zones"

On April 28 2017, the Minneapolis City Council approved a final Resolution establishing a Green Zones policy to facilitate community-led planning in socioeconomically vulnerable neighborhoods in Minneapolis, Minnesota with the goal of prioritizing city initiatives to combat a range of resiliency challenges. Within Green Zones pilot areas, city officials will work with the community to develop work plans, focused on specific neighborhoods, that will be designed to prioritize initiatives and link city policies on economic development, gentrification, racial equity, and climate resiliency, to achieve an equitable distribution of resources. 

The goals of the Green Zones as stated in the Resolution are to:

  1. Remediate contaminated ("Brownfield") sites
  2. Improve air quality, livability, and habitat (with a focus on pollinators) through vegetation, clean energy, and energy efficiency
  3. Improve air and environmental quality in business and transport
  4. Increase economic opportunity and green jobs
  5. Increase the availability of affordable and environmentally high quality housing
  6. Increase access to healthy and affordable foods and supporting local systems of growing, production and distribution
  7. Advance environmental awareness and education in the community and schools

The resolution designates two "Green Zones" within the city focusing on low-wealth, pollution-burdened neighborhoods, communities of color, indigenous communities, and communities with high populations of youth, people with disabilities, low-income residents, and elders. The resolution establishes a Northern and a Southern Green Zone, with initial pilot projects to be implemented in both sectors. The City Coordinator’s Office, the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department, and the Health Department are convening a Northern Green Zone pilot specific workgroup to develop a Northern Green Zone Work Plan for the selected area.

 

These zones were designed based upon criteria established by a Green Zone Workgroup established in 2016 through Resolution 2016R-040 entitled “Promoting racial equity and sustainable community revitalization through the development of a Green Zones Policy and creating the Green Zones Policy Task Force".  To develop criteria, the Workgroup overlaid environmental data (land, air and water) along with race and income data sets, to demonstrate the intersection of race, wealth and pollution burdens. The Workgroup also was charged with building goals and metrics as well as environmentally-conscious strategies for improving health and supporting economic well-being in vulnerable communities. The Workgroup policy resolution states that Minneapolis has social inequities disproportionately affecting low-income communities, First Nations people, and people of color to the impacts of climate change, and notes that a person's zip code has become a predictor of his or her health outcomes. 

Publication Date: April 28, 2017

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