Twin Cities Regional Dynamics - Phase 3

Principal Investigator(s):

John Adams, Former Professor and Chair, Geography

Project summary:

The project is a joint research and educational enterprise involving the Metropolitan Council, the University of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation. It has two components: 1) an analytical component aimed at identifying transportation system management and investment alternatives consistent with the region's desire to manage economic growth and land use development as it affects transportation systems; and 2) an educational component aimed at providing opportunities for private and public sector decision makers to discuss transportation and growth issues in an informed way. The analytical component of the project supports the educational component associated with long range transportation and land-use planning for the State of Minnesota, for the expanding Twin Cities metropolitan region, and for other expanding metropolitan regions in Minnesota.

The first study explored the movement of average prices and price changes for single-unit houses between 1970 and 1995 in three housing submarkets that radiate outward from downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul. The researchers investigated one way of measuring gains and losses in housing values that might be traced in part to processes of economic growth, tax policy, and the outward movement of jobs, incomes, and the capital represented by housing assets. The study theorizes that these capital shifts are the result of the capitalized value of tax expenditures and property tax differentials between city and suburb, the impacts of utility pricing schemes, and the nature of consumer demand for housing. Additional factors that drive flux in this general pattern of outward movement are also discussed.

The second study used statistical methods to measure the relationships between improvements in highway transportation and patterns of land development in suburban and exurban areas of the greater Twin Cities. The methods used measure the timing and levels of residential, commercial, industrial, and residential land development as indicators of the strength and causality of those relationships. The researchers investigated the key question of leads and lags between highway improvement and land development. Findings suggest that the impact of major highway improvements on land development patterns took different forms in the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 1990s. Findings also illustrate how the lead-lag relationships differ by development type.

The third study examines how Minnesota settlement pattern and economy were almost completely transformed during the past three decades. "Urbanization of the countryside" is under way in functional terms, and the settlement system is catching up with the economic and social transformation that has been proceeding since World War II. Like the greater Twin Cities area, which spreads over more than 24 counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Minnesota's regional centers have been doing the same, whether or not their populations are increasing.

The fourth study brings together several aspects of land development dynamics that have been examined in previous reports of the Twin Cities Regional Dynamics section of the Transportation and Regional Growth Study, in a series of place-based case studies of Minor Civil Divisions (MCDs) and school districts within the Minneapolis- St. Paul metropolitan region.

Project details:

  • Project number: 1999025
  • Start date: 07/1997
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Planning and Economy
  • Topics: Economics, Planning