Center cities of many of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas are registering their highest levels of population growth in decades, with some leading job growth in their metro areas as well. This trend, labeled by some as “the Great Inversion,” represents a reversal of patterns that have dominated the metropolitan landscape since the 1950s. The greater Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) region has experienced this trend, with population in the Twin Cities approaching levels not seen since the 1970s. Though population and employment trends demonstrate a resurgence of the center cities, the resulting economic opportunities are not shared by all. To address these disparities and define a new approach to economic development, a coalition of regional partners was formed to promote the role the center cities play in the larger region and underscore the importance of shared prosperity.
The coalition—which included the City of Minneapolis, the City of Saint Paul, GREATER MSP, Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, the Saint Paul Port Authority, the Minneapolis Regional and Saint Paul Area Chambers of Commerce, the McKnight Foundation, and Minnesota Philanthropy Partners—engaged TIP Strategies in 2015 to lead the preparation of a “playbook” to guide economic development in the center cities. By reviewing existing programs and initiatives and engaging more than 100 stakeholders, TIP led the coalition in defining a strategic framework to guide a new collaborative and coordinated approach aimed at accelerating job creation and investment in the center cities. The coalition committed to continuing and strengthening their collaborative and prioritizing economic development in the center cities through their on-going work.