City leaders look to reform groups

Daily Editorial Board

Minneapolis city leaders are working on a reform that has potential to use neighborhood associations to improve the community as a whole, affecting University of Minnesota students in particular. 
 
A survey found that city neighborhood groups are typically made up of white homeowners who went to college. This doesn’t represent Minneapolis, and officials realize this. In response, they’ve proposed the Blueprint for Equitable Engagement, which aims to diversify these organizations. 
 
Around the University, there has traditionally been conflict between student renters and permanent residents. Part of this stems from a lack of student representation on neighborhood boards. 
 
Sure, students may not be vested enough in the neighborhoods they temporarily live in, and they may not want formal engagement with them. But that doesn’t mean students don’t make up a population that’s significantly affected by city policies.
 
As the city moves forward with its blueprint plan, we hope it finds an easy way for those who may be disenfranchised by the formality of joining a neighborhood organization to still have their voices heard. These groups can have a powerful say in how an area grows and how its businesses and housing develop.
 
One way to engage a diverse swath of residents would be to make meetings more publicized. Neighborhood organizations would also do well to boost their outreach and include online options for residents to give their input on issues.
 
These changes won’t be easy for groups whose strongest members have day jobs and other commitments, but the changes will be worthwhile for the community at large.