Aerial downtown

How a North Carolina Local Government Can Operate a Land Bank for Redevelopment

If America’s cities and towns are to realize their greatest potential as attractive and [more…]
Shell building under construction 2

When May NC Local Governments Pay an Economic Development Incentive?

News outlets regularly report about the latest company that was lured to North Carolina [more…]
maureen joy

Historic School Redevelopment (Durham, NC)

Yesterday, Sept 4th, community leaders, elected officials, school administrators and a team from Self-Help [more…]
Doherty Heights

Using a Redevelopment Area to Attract Private Investment

The neighborhood of Doherty Heights has seen better days. Once a vibrant residential neighborhood [more…]

The Community and Economic Development program at the School of Government provides public officials with training, research, and assistance that support local efforts to create jobs and wealth, expand the tax base, and maintain vibrant communities. We deploy the resources of the University to support the development goals of communities in North Carolina.

Recent Blog Posts |

  • Unrequited Demand in a World of Fixed Infrastructure

    It can be hard being a water utility when nobody needs you. Or worse yet, when you have to push people away. But the news seems rife with such stories of unrequited demand for service from water utilities that invested so much in the relationship, the infrastructure, now only to be left kind of empty.


    Read more »

  • Reimagining Shopping Malls

    gardensunderglassAcross the United States, malls are an endangered species. Once a marker of local economic success, the traditional, enclosed shopping mall are becoming abandoned, irrelevant, and forgotten structures. Many anchor tenants, like J.C. Penney, are relocating or closing down altogether. The high costs and time associated with upfitting malls prevent many towns and mall owners from investing in these structures, which often end up as abandoned, contributing to blight.

    Some towns and mall owners, however, have thought of economically feasible and innovative ways to make use of these large, empty structures. The Galleria Shopping Mall in Cleveland, Ohio was once one of the largest malls in central Ohio. In 2012, the Galleria had lost all of its anchor tenants and only had a total of eight retail stores remaining. In an effort to avoid foreclosure, Vicky Poole, the marketing and events director for the mall, thought of the Gardens Under Glass project. This project used the struggling mall’s interesting architecture to transform the space into a massive garden. Because the building was already designed like a greenhouse, growing things like tomatoes, lettuce, spices, strawberries, and basil proved to be a promising solution.  Read more »

  • City of Greensboro’s SC2 Challenge: Using A Prize Competition for Economic Development

    SC2StreetSignsIn September 2012, the City of Greensboro was awarded a $1 million grant from the Economic Development Administration to administer an “Economic Visioning Challenge,” as part of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Initiative. This post describes SC2, the “Challenge,” and Greensboro’s focus areas for economic development. Read more »

  • Rebooting Federal Workforce Development Policy

    The U.S. Congress passed and President Obama recently signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The bicameral legislation passed with near unanimous support and reauthorizes the Workforce Investment Act, which was originally enacted in 1998. WIOA streamlines federal job training programs and seeks to strengthen performance measurement and coordination of state/local evaluation efforts, among other changes. For greater detail, see the U.S. Department of Labor WIOA Fact Sheet and Overview.  The National Skills Coalition has conducted an analysis of WIOA provisions.  An Opportunity Nation blog post also provides a useful perspective on the enhancements that WIOA makes to federal workforce development policy.

  • Community Food Councils: Questions and Answers

    buy_fresh_buy_localOn April 17, 2014 a webinar was held by UNC School of Government, the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) and the NC Community Transformation Grant (CTG) on food councils. Community and regional food councils (sometimes called food policy councils) are rapidly emerging as important mechanisms to stimulate the kind of dialogue and concerted action necessary to improve local food systems.  In the last five years, food council activity in NC has grown to include more than 24 NC counties participating in or developing community-based food councils or networks. CFSA staff is part of the Community Food Strategies team, a CEFS initiative, that is leading food council support and development efforts across the state.

    This post is the second in a series over the next several months that will be cross-posted to Sweet Potato, UNC School of Government Community and Economic Development Blog, the Community Food Strategies blog, and various CTG blogs around the state. Each post answers specific questions asked by webinar participants. This post was written by Jared Cates, CFSA Community Mobilizer.

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  • 3 Things You Should Know about Social Impact Bonds

    SIB1Recent state and federal-level budget talks often stress that public funding is insufficient to adequately address pressing social issues that prevent capable citizens from fully participating in our economy. However, an emergent, long-term approach to financing social and health service delivery is gaining momentum—social impact bonds, or SIBs. Even though no formal SIB pilot has been launched in North Carolina, to date, organizations like the Nonprofit Finance Fund, which hosted a workshop in Charlotte targeted towards early childhood service providers, are already exploring how to build the capacity necessary to implement SIB-backed programs throughout the country.

    If you’re still wondering what a SIB is, here are three things that you should know: Read more »

  • What @sog_ced is reading on the web: July 2014

    CED_Icon_for_TwitterThe following are articles and reports on the web that the Community and Economic Development Program at the UNC School of Government shared through social media over the past month. Follow us on twitter or facebook to receive regular updates.

    North Carolina General Assembly updates:

    Extension of state historic rehabilitation tax credits added to technical corrections of Bill S763 – will it be enacted? ‪ 

    New North Carolina budget could impact state historic preservation tax credits: ‪ 

    North Carolina crowdfunding bill passes another legislative hurdle: ‪   Read more »

  • NC Local Governments, Meet Your New State Partner for Economic Development

    NC General AssemblyNorth Carolina local governments have a new partner in their economic development efforts. Session Law 2014-18 authorizes the North Carolina Department of Commerce to enter into a contract with a nonprofit entity in order to carry out many of the Department’s economic development recruiting and marketing functions for the state. The nonprofit entity has already been formed and dubbed the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. In order to assist local governments with understanding their new economic development partner, this post describes the enabling legislation and some of the significant requirements imposed on the entity. Read more »

  • HUD Releases New Proposed Rule On Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

    housingIn July 2013, HUD released a new proposed rule designed to address problems in program progress reporting and to provide program participants with a clearer understanding of their responsibilities to affirmatively further fair housing in their jurisdictions [1]. This rule was a response to a 2010 report of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that found inefficiency and inadequate reporting from program participants largely due to a lack of guidance and oversight from HUD [2]. HUD has since examined its reporting procedure and its level of guidance to program participants regarding the mandate to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH) and has found specific areas in need of improvement. This rule is designed to address those areas.  Read more »

  • Re-visioning the Research Triangle Park: How Innovation Districts Are Inspiring New Approaches to Local Economic Development

    rtpNorth Carolina recently received attention in Tom Ashbrook’s On Point segment discussing “innovation districts”. In this episode Bruce Katz, vice president at Brookings, references the Research Triangle Park’s Master Plan when describing this newly-coined approach to endogenous economic development. In The Rise of Innovation Districts: A New Geography of Innovation in America, a new report from the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, Katz and co-author, Julie Wagner, explain social and economic imperatives, contemporary models, and implementation strategies for designing these places, which leverage homegrown economic, physical, and networking assets to foster entrepreneurial economic development. This blog will explore what innovation districts are, unpack some of the factors behind the new development strategy guiding the next 50 years of RTP, and pose considerations for making innovation districts work in North Carolina.  Read more »

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