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Downtown Twin Cities investments displace low-income renters

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Fans arrive at Vikings-Packers game.
Fans arrive at U.S. Bank Stadium before an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 18 in Minneapolis.
Andy Clayton-King | AP file

Investments in downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis bring prosperity, but not for everyone.

According to a recent University of Minnesota study, gentrification is accelerating in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The university's Center for Urban and Regional Affairs found that rents are rapidly increasing, driving low-income individuals out.

Gentrification is when an influx of high-income residents to an urban area pushes up property values and displaces low-income residents. 

Large public investments — including multi-million-dollar light rail lines, U.S. Bank Stadium and public infrastructure projects like the Midtown Greenway — have caused uneven economic growth in both downtowns. Often these investments have led to increased housing costs and the displacement of existing low-wealth communities of color.  

Researcher Neeraj Mehta, the center's director of community programs, discussed the economic impact of downtown developments with MPR News host Tom Weber.