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New Suburbia, Part 1

Why Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, Is the New Face of Suburbia

After a period of rapid diversification, the town outside the Twin Cities faces rising poverty and housing challenges.

CityLab, Feb. 11, 2016

Brooklyn Park, which sits about 10 miles up the Mississippi River from downtown Minneapolis, used to be known for a few things—classically small-town, Midwestern things. The annual Tater Daze festival celebrates the humble tuber with a parade and carnival rides. Kids can pump well water and make apple cider at the Eidem Homestead, the living-history reincarnation of an old potato farm.

In the mid-20th century, fields gave way to subdivisions, and Brooklyn Park became a bedroom suburb of the Twin Cities. Now the arms of a championship golf course, Edinburgh USA, wrap around large detached houses.

But in recent years, Brooklyn Park has started to become known for things that its original homesteaders, and its first wave of suburban settlers, could not have imagined. Starting in the 1970s, first Hmong and then Liberian refugees were resettled in the Twin Cities area, and many found their way to Brooklyn Park. Meanwhile, African Americans were leaving Minneapolis and heading for the suburbs.

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