Monday, January 23, 2023

Deciphering Demographics

In this webinar, presented live on January 18, 2023, we learned more about the demographic data available for your community and how it can be used in your sustainability planning.

  • 9:00am – Welcome
  • 9:15 –  Minnesota Compass: Sheri Holm, Senior Communication Specialist - Wilder Research
    • Wilder Research was created to "gather, research, and analyze data about Minnesotans for Minnesotans" and launched the Minnesota Compass tool around 15 years ago. 
    • Sheri shared that the Minnesota Compass tool can be used to explore data by who lives in Minnesota, where they live, their quality of life, and by special projects. The special projects include: 
    • Sheri also shared additional tools that GreenStep participants may be interested in: 
  • 10:00 –  Labor Market Information (LMI): Cameron Macht, Regional Analysis & Outreach Manager - Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
    • Cameron shared a few interesting facts including: Minnesota's population is 5,717,184 people in 2022, with more children/youth under 18 than seniors. The state has fewer workers in 2022 compared with 2020 - at 3,071,168 currently and we have a tight labor market with 2.3% unemployment rate. The state's labor force is expected to add 8,600 workers per year over the next decade, although most will be located in the Twin Cities. Our labor force has been diversifying; almost half of the state's labor force grew from foreign-born workers.
    • LMI resources include:
  • 10:20 – Community GIS Program: Jeff Matson, Coordinator - University of Minnesota Center for Urban & Regional Affairs (CURA)
    • CURA has been around for 55 years providing research and technical assistance. Find local government programs.

    • Jeff shared that the Community GIS Program is a walk-in technical assistance center that requires no fees for small, community-initiated projects such as: mapping, data analysis, poster printing, and customized trainings. Projects can be focused on neighborhood-level/census track demographics, statewide data projects and web maps, or data Indicators - (i.e. gentrification study and transitways).

  • 10:40 – Equity Considerations: Matt Schroeder, Principal Researcher - Metropolitan Council
  • 11:00 – Conclusion

View the workshop recording: 

View the slides and additional materials:

Additional Resources: 

Best Practice Actions related to this topic: 
  • 6.1 Adopt a comprehensive plan or (for Category B & C cities) adopt a future land use plan that was adopted by the county or a regional entity.

  • 7.4 Provide incentives for affordable housing, workforce housing, infill projects, or for life-cycle housing at or near job or retail centers, or for achieving an average net residential density of seven units per acre.

  • 7.5 Use design to create social trust and interaction among neighbors and allow developments that meet the prerequisites for LEED for Neighborhood Development certification.

  • 9.2 Participate in regional economic development planning with representatives from surrounding townships, cities, the county and business interests.

  • 14.4 Require new developments or redevelopments to prepare a travel demand management plan or transit-oriented development standards or LEED for Neighborhood Development certification.

  • 24.1 Inclusive and Coordinated Decision-Making: Use a city commission or committee to lead, coordinate, report to and engage community members on the identification and equitable implementation of sustainability best practices.

  • 24.2 Communicating Progress on Goals: Organize goals/outcome measures from all city plans (social, environmental, economic) and report to community members data that show progress toward meeting these goals.

  • 24.3 Measuring Outcomes: Engage community members and partners in identifying, measuring, and reporting progress on key sustainability and social indicators/ including energy use/greenhouse gas emissions, social vitality/social inclusion outcome measures.

  • 24.5 Planning with a Purpose: Conduct a community visioning and planning initiative that engages a diverse set of community members & stakeholders and uses a sustainability, resilience, or environmental justice framework.

  • 24.7 Expanding Community Engagement: Engage Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), renters, low-income, new Americans, differently abled and other traditionally under-represented community members by encouragement, and support to participate in current and new opportunities in city government.

  • 25.1 Grow new/emerging green businesses and green jobs through targeted assistance and new workforce development.

  • 27.4  Measurably increase institutional buying, and sales through groceries and restaurants.

  • 28.4 Use 21st century ecodistrict tools to structure, guide and link multiple green and sustainable projects together in a mixed-use neighborhood/development, or innovation district, aiming to deliver superior social, environmental and economic outcomes.

  • 29.1 Prepare to maintain public health and safety during extreme weather and climate-change-related events, while also taking a preventive approach to reduce risk for community members.

  • 29.2 Integrate climate resilience into city or tribal planning, policy, operations, and budgeting processes.

  • 29.3 Increase social connectedness through engagement, capacity building, public investment, and opportunities for economically vulnerable residents to improve their economic prosperity and resilience to climate change.

  • 29.6 Reduce the urban heat impacts of public buildings, sites, and infrastructure and provide resiliency co-benefits.

  • 29.7 Protect water supply and wastewater treatment facilities to reduce physical damage and sustain their function during extreme weather events.

  • 29.8 Improve local energy resilience by minimizing fuel poverty, installing distributed renewable energy systems, and developing microgrids that can improve energy system resiliency.

Metrics related to this topic:
  • #4 Infrastructure for Walking and Biking 
  • #5 Car, Transit, and Bike Options 
  • #6 Transportation Modes & Miles
  • #7 Land Use 
  • #10 Drinking Water
  • #11 Wastewater
  • #12 Solid Waste
  • #13 Renewable Energy 
  • #15 Local Food
  • #16 Jobs & Employment 
  • #17 Climate
  • #18 Additional Metrics

Register for upcoming GreenStep Cities and Tribal Nations workshops here. You do not need to be a GreenStep community to attend.

 Visit the GreenStep Cities and Tribal Nations program website at

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