Make room, demography: Geography is destiny, too.
Combined, the dual dynamics will mean that Minneapolis will be a dramatically different city by 2040. By then, according to recently released projections from the Metropolitan Council, Minneapolis will have about 105,000 more residents.
The growth is great news. But it brings up essential questions for a city that by 2040 will be the hub of a region that will add 31 percent more residents, 41 percent more households and 37 percent more jobs.
From projections a decade ago, the shifts are striking. Then, 30 percent of growth was predicted to occur in the metro’s “developed area” (central cities and suburbs). Now it’s 55 percent. Conversely, the amount of growth in “developing suburbs” declined from 60 percent to 36 percent. (“Rural areas” went from 10 percent to 9 percent.)
To be sure, the less-developed areas are still growing: Despite the surge toward Minneapolis, St. Paul and inner-ring suburbs, the counties with the highest projected household growth rates remain Carver (up 76 percent by 2040) and Scott (up 65 percent).
So with nearly the entire metro area expecting robust growth, it’s well past time to discard the distractions of city vs. suburb vs. exurb. Instead the focus should be on how to grow smartly, in order to retain the very qualities that will lead so many to choose to live here in the first place.