Home Innovations GIS University launches Web-based community development mapping application

University launches Web-based community development mapping application

Minneapolis, USA, December 2006 – The University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), in partnership with the Labor Market Information Office at Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), and many other government agencies and nonprofit development organizations, has launched Minnesota 3-D (M3D), an Internet-based mapping system with employment, housing, services and economic development information and analysis tools.

A first-of-its-kind application in the USA, M3D brings together more than 90 data layers that may be displayed visually on a map and in report format using geographic information systems technology.

Over the next year CURA and other M3D community partners will be working to apply M3D to planning and development projects to achieve a greater balance between housing and employment opportunities within communities.

M3D, developed over the last two years, is made possible by a $600,000 Technology Opportunities Program (TOP) grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded to the University of Minnesota in 2004. The application is accessible online at

“The future vitality of our region depends on our ability to efficiently connect housing, jobs and services,” said Kris Nelson, CURA Project Director. “M3D provides a significant tool for communities to inform policies and implement strategies for efficient and sustainable development to assure the well being of working families.”

As reported in a recent study by the National Center for Housing Policy, working families in the Twin Cities metropolitan area spend 30 percent of their household income on transportation (and more than 27 percent on housing). The report recommends that “regions coordinate their housing and transportation policies to ensure they fully reflect the needs of working families–one example includes building more affordable housing near existing and planned transit hubs.”

Chaska is using the M3D application to help inform its strategies to support bio-sciences industries in the community; specifically what kinds of housing and commute pattern would support this industry. The Harrison Neighborhood Association in Minneapolis will use M3D to help plan and implement the Bassett Creek Redevelopment plan, which will add up to 10,000 new jobs to the area. Minneapolis is interested in using M3D to inform and implement its Northside Employment Initiative to support increased community development.

– About CURA
CURA is an all-university applied research and technical assistance center that helps the University of Minnesota fulfill its land grant and urban missions by connecting faculty and student researchers with nonprofit organizations, businesses, neighborhoods, local governments and state agencies in Minnesota. M3D is part of CURA’s continuing work to develop GIS tools and understanding for local communities to plan and develop vital places for people to live and work.

– About Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Developmentā€™s Labor Information Office (LMI) collects, analyzes and disseminates key labour market indicators, information, and analysis on the economy, workforce, industry base and job market in Minnesota to support informed decision-making. LMI produces data products, publications and services.