Taking a leaf out of major cities' books, many Twin Cities suburbs are divvying-up land and designating official city neighborhoods, as reported in this Star Tribune piece. The goal is to better facilitate community building and increase residents' engagement and satisfaction. In Minneapolis and St. Paul, the neighborhoods have councils directly dealing with issues specific to their neighborhood, acting as a go-between for residents and lawmakers. They also organize and host events, both small and large scale. Depending on the size and history of the neighborhood council, they may even provide access to grants for small businesses and projects.
Our major city neighborhoods councils have been especially busy in the past several years with the waves of redevelopment in St. Paul's Highland and southwest Minneapolis' neighborhoods. Providing forums for residents to voice concerns, organizing the consensus opinions into actionable plans and importantly, implementing the plans. While the civic focus of these neighborhood is certainly a key component, many of the people involved with forming new official neighborhoods in the suburbs are seeking community identities. Suburbs named in the article that have recently or are in the process of adopting official neighborhood designations are Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Edina, and Bloomington. It seems that Bloomington especially would be well-served to adopt these smaller community identities given the size of the city. As cited in the article, however, there are some parties concerned with creating divisions, fearing the divisions would foster rivalries and bad blood – much like the long-standing West/East Bloomington divide.
From a real estate perspective, neighborhoods eventually develop reputations which can automatically add or subtract value from a home. Parents with young children pay attention to how active neighborhoods are with events for children, playdates, and safety measures. A neighborhood's reputation can attract new business or figuratively post a "Warning" sign. Reputations take time to form, however, so newly-formed neighborhoods need to be intentional and perform the front-end work to ensure the eventual reputation is positive and desirable. If a (future) neighborhood has caught your eye, and you'd like to explore some home options – let me know!
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