One vision, one metropolitan region

Thrive MSP 2040 is the vision and development framework for the seven-county Twin Cities region over 30 years. It calls for regional investments that support a prosperous, equitable, and livable region now and in the future. More than 2,000 residents, local officials, business people and community advocates helped shape the framework.

Under state law, the Metropolitan Council prepares a long-range plan for the Twin Cities region every 10 years. Thrive MSP 2040  sets the policy foundation for systems and policy plans the Council develops. These include:

The vision in Thrive MSP 2040  can only be realized through partnerships with local governments, residents, businesses, and the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.

Thrive addresses issues that transcend any one city or county as we build and maintain a thriving metropolitan region. Our region’s investments provide an important economic foundation so all residents can prosper. Transportation, jobs, community development, affordable housing—these are the bricks-and-mortar basics that make other things possible.

People walking with LRT in background

Thrive responds to changing demographics, changing needs

In 2013, the Council forecasted more than 800,000 additional residents by 2040, and more than 500,000 new jobs in the region. The region’s population is also getting older. More than one in five residents will be age 65 and older in 2040, compared with one in nine in 2010. By 2040, 40% of the population will be people of color, compared with 24% in 2010. 

Council employee monitors water quality in local stream.Thrive identifies five key outcomes for the Twin Cities metro area to strive for over the next decades:
  • Stewardship: Natural and financial resources are managed wisely.
  • Prosperity: The region’s economic competitiveness is enhanced through investments in infrastructure and amenities.
  • Equity: All residents share in the benefits and challenges of growth and change.
  • Livability: Our great quality of life is maintained and improved.
  • Sustainability: Regional vitality is protected for generations to come.

Grounded in community engagement and efficiency
The regional plan reflects more than two years of outreach, discussion, and deliberation among Council members, local officials, residents, and business and community organizations. More than 2,000 individuals and dozens of communities and organizations participated and provided input. The Council paid particular attention to reaching communities that are traditionally underrepresented in public debates. This includes people of color, people with disabilities, and people with low incomes.

The Thrive plan is grounded in principles that led to the creation of the Council nearly 50 years ago: integration of policy tools and coordination across disciplines and jurisdictions; collaboration with the range of stakeholders; and accountability for results. It provides a framework for municipalities to provide abundant choices, accommodate residents in different life stages, and meet local needs as they evolve.

Policies in Thrive MSP 2040 address:
  • Boatworks Commons ApartmentsApproaches to new development and redevelopment in the region.
  • The growing need to preserve and maintain aging infrastructure, including highways, wastewater, and multifamily housing.
  • Strategies to encourage development near transit investment.
  • The role our quality of life plays in attracting and retaining talent.
  • The value of housing and transportation choices.
  • New planning challenges and opportunities based on anticipated regional needs.
  • Environmental challenges and considerations, including natural resources, water sustainability, and climate change.
  • Development and engagement practices that are equitable and empower communities to intentionally support prosperity for all residents.

Working with local communities to achieve the vision

Kids in classroom

The policy direction in Thrive—and in the system and policy plans that follow—assists local governments in creating consistent, compatible, and coordinated local comprehensive plans. These plans strive to achieve local visions while ensuring efficient and cost-effective regional infrastructure.

Under state law, the Council reviews local comprehensive plans to ensure they fit within the overall framework provided by the regional plans. The review helps determine how a community’s planned actions relate to the interests of the whole region over the long term. It helps ensure that costly public infrastructure, like roads, sewers, and transitways are built in an economical and coordinated fashion, so that public resources are used wisely. 

Thinking ahead and working together helps the region achieve a high quality of life, economies of scale, high quality regional services, and a competitive edge envied by other metropolitan areas.