Urban Council 1

Urban Land Institute and Regional Council of Mayors

Since 2007 the Family Housing Fund has partnered with the Urban Land Institute MN and the Regional Council of Mayors on a major initiative designed to increase preservation and production of a full range of housing choices throughout the region and improve linkages between housing, regional growth, and regional systems. The initiative has attracted national recognition and enthusiasm. The Housing Initiative fosters a platform for regional collaboration through the Regional Council of Mayors and its advisory committees.

Regional Council of Mayors

There has been growth in the impact and influence of the group, now slated at 54 mayors, with a significant increase in the monthly engagement and peer to peer dialogue. The Regional Council of Mayors has become an influential voice for the region. This influence and the active participation of the mayors has resulted in suburban communities being represented within key regional initiatives and providing the strong regional support needed to attract public, private and nonprofit resources in support of a full range of housing choices. The four primary focus areas of RCM are: Expanding Housing Choices, Connecting Transportation and Land Use, Building Healthy Communities, and Increasing Regional Competitiveness.

Advisory Services

Navigating Your Competitive Future Workshops offer a practical approach to the new challenges of development and redevelopment. It focuses on the city –or a cluster of cities – in a way that strengthens their understanding of today’s realities of development and redevelopment. Navigating Your Competitive Future is designed to foster a dialogue about the opportunities and challenges inherent in a new economy based upon shifts in the market and changing demographics. City Council, Planning Commission, EDA/HRA members, and staff receive data on their city’s households, shifts in household moves, housing types, and labor and commute patterns, presented with a focus on strategies to support a full range of housing choices connected to transportation options and jobs. Additionally, the Housing Initiative offers technical assistance panels in a workshop format to bring interdisciplinary knowledge to specific development projects. In 2014, workshops were conducted for the Cities of Columbia Heights, Maplewood, Mendota Heights, Minneapolis, Minnesota Housing Staff, Plymouth, Savage, Shakopee, and Woodbury. Workshops scheduled for 2015 include the Cities of Wayzata, Shorewood, Osseo, Victoria, and Anoka.

Southwest LRT Corridor Technical Assistance

A corridor wide housing strategy and implementation plan in support a full range of housing choices was completed. Connections have been established to private market knowledge to influence local development plans and practices along the corridor, focused on building places that model innovation. The housing strategy and implementation plan was one factor that increased the Southwest LRT Corridor’s ranking among Federal Transportation Agency projects, from a medium priority to medium-high, boosting federal support of the project.


Other funding partners, including Minnesota Housing, Metropolitan Council, and The McKnight Foundation, have joined in to consistently support and expand this regional work.

2014 Outcomes

The Housing Initiative hosted six Navigating Your Competitive Future workshops in 2014, allowing policy leaders and real estate professionals to examine local challenges to development and redevelopment.  The workshops are designed to foster a meaningful dialogue among the public and private sectors to strengthen a mutual understanding of today’s economic reality, market preferences and demographic shifts.

In 2014, the Housing Initiative convened the Regional Council of Mayors Advisory Group on a quarterly basis to discuss housing in Minnesota.  With support from Family Housing Fund and Blue Cross Clue Shield of Minnesota, the Housing Initiative also hosted the 6th Annual Housing Summit “Designing Great Neighborhoods,” which engaged next generation leaders in strategizing how to encourage communities to embrace new developments.

More Information

For more information about the Housing Initiative and the Regional Council of Mayors, visit ULI Minnesota.

Photo courtesy of Twin Cities Housing Development Corporation