Regional Economic Framework

Stakeholder and community engagement

Imagine 2050 will set the regional policy foundation for land use, housing, transportation, water resources, and regional parks. It will also address critical issues that cross policy areas, like climate and the regional economy.

Throughout our process for Imagine 2050, we have heard from more than 1,000 people and numerous groups from across the region as we envision the future we want. We also want to hear from you. Please take our brief survey on topics that interest you and how you might like to be involved.

Sign up for periodic email updates about the Regional Economic Framework for Imagine 2050.

Learn more

Met Council member discussion from Nov. 15, 2023: Video | Presentation (PDF)

Imagine 2050, the upcoming update to the regional development guide, will include a Regional Economic Framework chapter that examines and summarizes the region’s economic conditions, trends, needs, and opportunities. It will also help the Met Council respond to current and future economic issues as part of our responsibility to help guide the orderly and economical development of the region.

Background

The Regional Economic Framework chapter will update and build on the 2020 Regional Economic Framework (PDF) that the Met Council adopted in partnership with GREATER MSP and the Center for Economic Inclusion.

The Regional Economic Framework serves as the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the region. It identifies important economic strategies and recognizes the numerous organizations involved. It enables local governments, tribal governments, and other eligible entities to access funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). It was also essential in helping the region overcome the unique challenges encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EDA requires that a CEDS is updated every five years. The Imagine 2050, Regional Economic Framework chapter will ensure that the region has a planning document that meets CEDS requirements.

Two people install a solar panel on a roof using powered tools. It’s a partly cloudy day and both people are wearing a hat and work gloves.

Critical topics

The updated Regional Economic Framework chapter will revisit the critical economic topics identified in the 2020 Regional Economic Framework. We will consult community stakeholders, trusted experts, and policymakers on how to incorporate these economic issues into Imagine 2050. In addition, we hope to better address how these issues impact different communities and different parts of the region as we manage its growth.

Our region includes many unique economic strengths and is often lauded for its high quality of life. On the other hand, our image is associated with police brutality and negative experiences for people of color. These negative perceptions impact our ability to retain, attract, and nurture talent, especially entrepreneurs of color.

Racism, racial income and wealth disparities, and economic injustice are significant and chronic challenges. BIPOC communities and recent immigrants, regardless of income, are more often disproportionately impacted by shocks like a pandemic, economic recession, and civil unrest.

Learn more about efforts to support young professionals of color at CONNEXTMSP.

The skills required for future jobs are changing as the economy faces labor shortages exacerbated by racial disparities in education and training.

Learn what the state of Minnesota is doing about workforce development.

The region is not creating jobs as fast as peer regions. There are opportunities to adapt to an evolving economy in ways that deliver more equitable outcomes.

Itasca Project: learn how regional leaders are addressing our economic needs and challenges.

Learn how the Met Council and other agencies help communities support job growth through pollution cleanup and redevelopment.

People are our region’s greatest asset, and we can work together to build a region that better attracts and embraces a diversity of people from around the nation and world, ensuring that they feel welcome and part of the community.

Make. It. MSP.: learn about efforts to attract talent to the regio.

New ventures continue to succeed in the region at high rates relative to peer regions, and our Fortune 500 companies continue a tradition of innovation. Continuing that legacy is critical to the region’s overall economic vibrancy and quality of life.

Forge North: learn about support for startups and their growth.

Climate change negatively impacts the economy and disproportionately impacts people who are vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat and drought. Addressing climate change by moving toward a carbon-free economy provides opportunities for business innovation, entrepreneurship, and workforce development.

Learn about the Met Council’s related work on Climate Action.

A reliable and efficient transportation system supports the region’s economy, workers, and industries. Mobility and transportation choice are strengths of the region, though accessibility to living wage jobs via transit is more limited. The region must continue to efficiently invest in the transportation system in ways that improve accessibility for workers, meet the needs of industry, and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Learn about related work on the 2050 Transportation Policy Plan.

Affordability, especially housing affordability, has been a competitive advantage for our region. It enables us to attract talent and provide a high quality of life for our residents. If our region is to remain competitive and reduce burdens on moderate income households, maintaining and improving housing affordability and choice requires deliberate action.

Learn more about related work on the 2050 Housing Policy Plan.

Learn how the Met Council supports the development of affordable and mixed-income housing through the Livable Communities Program.

A Metro Transit employee uses a megaphone to direct transit users to where they need to go.

Frequently asked questions

Is the Met Council expanding its regional role?
No. By better understanding and integrating the economic needs of the region and its residents, we hope to develop more effective policies and programs under our existing authority as defined by the Minnesota Legislature (e.g., regional transportation systems, regional parks, regional wastewater systems, and regional housing policy).

Is the Met Council getting involved in local economic development?
No. The Met Council will continue to support local economic development initiatives that address regional issues through its Livable Communities Act grant programs. By maintaining a regional CEDS, we also want to make it easier for communities to access federal dollars.

Why is the Met Council addressing issues that are not related to regional planning?
The Met Council is responsible for guiding the growth and development of the region which is significantly impacted by complex economic factors and market conditions. When there are issues outside of the scope of the traditional work of the Met Council (such as job training, business support, and marketing), we recognize the important strategic work of others. Strategic partnerships are key to impacting the wellbeing of the region including its residents, workers, and businesses.

Will the Met Council be a gatekeeper for funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration?
No. The Met Council will provide letters of support for local applications that address regional priorities and needs. In the future, it is possible that the Met Council could participate in efforts led by others that coordinate and prioritize requests from our region.

Key contacts

Michael Larson, Planning Analyst
Local Planning Assistance
Community Development Division
michael.larson@metc.state.mn.us
Todd Graham, Research Analyst
Research Office
Community Development Division
todd.graham@metc.state.mn.us
Marcus Martin, Senior Planner
Livable Communities Program
Community Development Division
marcus.martin@metc.state.mn.us