Despite the current downward trend of foreclosures overall in the City of Minneapolis, Wards 4 and 5 in North Minneapolis have experienced both the highest number of units foreclosed and the highest percent of units foreclosed since the first quarter of 2014 according to the most recent Minneapolis Trends Report. For example, in the first quarter of 2015, Ward 4 had 48 foreclosures, which was 30 percent of the total foreclosures in Minneapolis. In the second quarter of 2015, Ward 4’s number of foreclosures dropped to 28 units, while the percentage decreased slightly to 26 percent. So even though the number of foreclosures was cut nearly in half for Ward 4, its percentage stayed relatively high because the city’s total number of foreclosures decreased overall.
Of course, some information can be gleaned from this information right away. First, these foreclosures are occurring in parts of the city that face other types of urban decay and challenges.
For example, North Minneapolis has the highest concentration of condemned and vacant buildings in the entire city, which are centrally located in Wards 4 and 5, respectively. North Minneapolis also faces some of the highest unemployment rates (possibly 2 to 4 times higher depending on the group’s non-dominant, “racial,” status) in Minneapolis; depressed educational opportunities and potential market competitiveness; and higher levels of health issues ranging from heart disease to sexually transmitted diseases as was reported by the Minnesota Department of Health in a recent news release. Moreover, North Minneapolis exists in what’s often referred to as an urban desert. This is an urban environment where the inhabitants lack the access or resources to acquire healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Another piece of information that can be gleaned from the comparison between Wards 4 and 5, and Ward 2 (Figure 1) which is located in Northeast Minneapolis and Wards 4 and 5, and Ward 10 (Figure 2) which is located in Southwest Minneapolis. The obvious difference is the number of foreclosures and it is quite distinct. As the tables illustrate, the foreclosures in Wards 4 and 5 have remained relatively high while the foreclosures for Wards 2 and 10 have remained relatively low. In fact, compared to both Wards 2 and 10, Wards 4 and 5’s foreclosure numbers are several times higher.
From this information, it is not a reach to suggest that the opposite of North Minneapolis is happening in Southwest Minneapolis and Northeast Minneapolis. That is, low condemned and vacant units, low unemployment rates, better educational and potential market competitiveness, and lower levels of health issues. In fact, and in the case of Southwest Minneapolis, specifically Ward 10, it is located in proximity to both Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. And it is relatively near healthy food stores. Both the access to healthier foods and the natural resources perpetuates a healthier lifestyle which in turn fosters increased mental health benefits.
These comparisons, as painful as they may be to some, are important because they begin to tell a tale of two different cities. These comparisons begin to paint a picture of life for a group of residents who experience a much different side of Minneapolis from their fellow citizens in Southwest Minneapolis or in Northeast Minneapolis. Moving forward, there are questions that arise, for example, how did this difference come about? Why are these trends continuing with what seems like no change in sight? And how do these discrepancies play into the picture of the Minneapolis system?