Letter: Edina needs to take action to keep social classes mixed

To the Editor:

Thanks to David Valentine for raising the issue of the increasing number of disproportionately large, upper income houses being built in Edina’s older, mixed income neighborhoods (“How much house can go on 50 feet?” Dec. 6).

This issue goes far beyond the renewal of the city’s aging housing stock. A recent Pew Research Center study points to the rising segregation of American neighborhoods by social class. The percentage of upper income neighborhoods doubled between 1980 and 2010, rising 18 percent.  Neighborhoods of mostly low-income households rose from 18 to 23 percent.  Neighborhoods of predominantly middle class or socio-economically mixed households shrank.

If the city of Edina is to successfully manage its rising racial/ethnic diversity and preserve its traditional mixed-income character, it will take more than a “wait-and-see” stance on the part of policy makers. Market forces, absent countervailing city policies, will result in a higher concentration of wealthy households.  It will force out many “middle” folks like David Valentine who have lived here for generations.

Mayor (Jim) Hovland is correct when he says that the key is finding and preserving the balance. He is also right when he says, “We need to move on this.”

Hope Melton