City of Minneapolis, Minnesota Neighborhoods 2020: Community Engagement Working Group

The City of Minneapolis’ Neighborhoods 2020 initiative is a process to restructure how the City serves and supports neighborhood organizations. As part of this process, Minneapolis formed a Community Engagement Policy Work Group, which created a framework for a Citywide Community Engagement Policy. This framework outlines the processes and stakeholder commitments necessary to improve the City’s engagement with community members, and places an emphasis on a thoughtful, integrated community engagement policy that extends to all members of Minneapolis. 

In 2015, the Minneapolis, Minnesota Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission (NCEC) established the goal to make the community engagement process, as facilitated by neighborhood organizations, more inclusive and effective. In turn, the Neighborhoods 2020 initiative was developed in 2018, in which  the City Council established three working groups to help provide recommendations on how to best support the neighborhood and community organizations. The Community Engagement Working Group was tasked with forming a Citywide Community Engagement Policy. 

The Working Group is made up of five neighborhood organization representatives, three cultural community representatives, two representatives from the NCEC, one Neighborhood Revitalization Program Policy Board representative, two undoing racism/equity representatives, two representatives of the City Council and one representative from the Mayor’s office. After eight meetings, the work group provided a Citywide Community Engagement Framework in December of 2018. 

The Working Group recommended that the City use the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) model for community engagement. Therefore, the structure of the engagement policy includes goals to inform, consult, involve, collaborate, and empower, each with their own associated promises to the public. 

The framework details the who, what, when, why, and how of Minneapolis community engagement. Of note, there are certain city activities that the Working Group recommends to be always subject to community engagement: 

  • City Council and Mayoral allowances 
  • Developing and adopting a comprehensive plan 
  • Adopting small area plans 
  • Considering or adopting a local law or ordinance
  • Considering or approving zoning changes
  • Considering or approving variance requests
  • Undertaking road construction, closures or modifications
  • Considering or approving the selling, exchanging or leasing of City-owned land

The framework dictates that community engagement should be undertaken through collaborations with a variety of stakeholders and organizations, including The Neighborhood and Community Relations Department (NCR), Neighborhood Organizations, Cultural Community Organizations, and City departments. These engagements should take place at multiple stages of projects or initiatives when any changes are considered, when an issue is raised and requires a decision, or when more information is necessary in order to make a decision. The first step should be connecting with Neighborhood Organizations and Cultural Community Organizations, and then after the full process of engagement, the City should report back to the community and perform evaluations of the process.

The framework incorporates social equity into the recommended best practices and the core principles of community engagement. The Working Group recommends that best practices should empower citizens, maximize diversity, and be readily accessible to the community. The core principles emphasize recognizing the needs of all and incorporating representative participation at all levels of the engagement process. 

Publication Date: December 2018

Related Organizations:

  • City of Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Resource Types:

  • Best practice
  • Engagement
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

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