West Side: Action to Equity - Only the power of community combats gentrification
Over the next five years, the West Side will see millions of dollars in private development and public investment projects. Nearly a thousand new housing units are planned. Thousands of square feet of new commercial space. New streets and trails. New parks and playgrounds. After decades of disinvestment and neglect, many West Siders are hopeful about this new chapter. And yet, the threat of gentrification looms large.
Gentrification displaces long-time residents and prices out would-be neighbors. Gentrification tears at the beautiful fabric created via racially, culturally, and economically diverse places. Gentrification may look “shiny” from the outside but lack community and connections to neighborhood history and culture. Fortunately, gentrification is NOT an inevitable part of new development.
Together in community, we can combat gentrification while supporting new development and investment. Our community’s vision and values, including justice and equity, can become the very grounds on which every new building sits. But how?
In partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), WSCO is hosting a three-part series in September. These are not just “community conversations,” they are deep-dive workshops that will produce the West Side Development Scorecard.
Similarly, this scorecard will not be just another “tool” or plan that once created no one thinks about again. This Scorecard will be used by residents to evaluate every new development project, big or small, happening on the West Side. The Score on each project will determine whether West Siders will offer a supportive welcome or if we will use every action at our disposal to stop development that does not have the agreed-upon community benefits. It's that simple.