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Doug Berdie, in his July 17 commentary "City of mistakes," argues that policy should be based on data. Here are six statistics shaping development in Minneapolis that every resident should know.

1) The cost of constructing new housing has increased 75% in real dollars since 2009 (source: Mortenson Construction Cost Index for Minneapolis). The cost of construction materials and labor have increased much faster than inflation over the last decade. New housing is substantially more expensive than existing housing. Because of this, we should preserve, not demolish, existing housing.

Also, the marketplace cannot provide housing at an affordable price for an increasing number of people. This is the root cause of our affordable housing crisis as well as the reason for the underproduction of housing. Subsidies will be needed to make housing affordable for many people. Almost all of the affordable housing built in Minneapolis over the last four years required subsidies.

2) About 95% of the housing built in Minneapolis since 2009 has been rental (Minneapolis city assessor). The corollary is that 1 in 7 single-family homes in Minneapolis are owned by corporations (Minneapolis Realtors). Home ownership is the best way for most families to build wealth. It's the biggest reason for the wealth gap between white families and families of color. It provides stable housing for families and stable communities for cities. Yet Minneapolis provides almost all of its housing incentives to create rental housing, housing that keeps residents poor.

3) Local transit ridership declined 25% in the six years before the pandemic and an additional 50% post-pandemic. The Minneapolis long-range plan presumes a 38% reduction in driving over the next 20 years, while the exact opposite is happening.

Transit ridership has plummeted in the face of competition from Uber and Lyft, gentrification, increased wages for low-income workers, and telecommuting. The region's largest transit market, downtown Minneapolis, had only a 55% office occupancy in July, and that includes people downtown only one day a week (Minneapolis Downtown Council). Building a city plan based on a massive shift to transit is just not realistic.

4) In Minneapolis, 1 in 5 persons is under 18 (U.S. census). Children are almost absent from Minneapolis planning, yet make up a huge proportion of the city's population.

5) Black families are twice as likely as white families to have four or more children, and twice as likely to have an adult outside the nuclear household living with them (U.S. census).

6) More than 90% of new housing units built in Minneapolis since 2009 have been two bedroom or less (HUD User). The private marketplace is not building housing for families with children and for families of color. The housing crisis foremost affects families and people of color, and housing policies need to start with their needs.

Berdie is right. Planning cannot be built on fantasies where everyone bikes to work in January and single-family homes just disappear. Planning needs to be based on the reality of how people live. Hopefully Minneapolis planners take these lessons to heart.

Lisa McDonald is a former member of the Minneapolis City Council.