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 |

  • Taking a closer look at low wage workers in North Carolina

    Low Wage Work WebsiteBy many measures, the job market in North Carolina seems to be recovering well from the recession. In December 2014, the statewide unemployment rate stood at 5.5%, down from 7.5% a year before (December 2013) and a high of 11.3%. At a national level, though, some analyses suggest that a large proportion of the jobs that have been created since the recession pay low wages.

    What role does low-wage work play in North Carolina’s economy? In fall 2014, a UNC Department of City and Regional Planning (DCRP) student workshop collaborated with the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity to build an online data resource surveying low-wage work in North Carolina. This blog post takes a look at some important findings for North Carolina community economic development practitioners.  Read more »

  • What @sog_ced is reading on the web: February 2015

    CED_Icon_for_Twitter1The 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.

    Economic development incentives in North Carolina:

    Golden Leaf commits $50 million to attract an automobile manufacturer to North Carolina as multiple megasites take shape: ‪ 

    News & Observer op-ed on economic development incentives: ‪ 

    North Carolina Justice Center report says that the state’s Job Development Investment Grants program, a primary job incentives program, hasn’t delivered on its promises: ‪ 

    Quick primer on North Carolina General Assembly’s debate over economic development incentives: ‪ 

    Report says that North Carolina has more transparency around the performance of its state economic development incentives compared to South Carolina: Read more »

  • Local Government Strategies for Mitigating the Risks of Flooding

    With six feet (and counting) of snow on the ground in Boston, the only thing that local officials should fear as much or more than more snow is a heat wave. If it doesn’t melt slowly, communities and homeowners will have to deal with significant flooding. In an area as developed as the Boston metro, there are not a lot of places for that water to go. Mitigating the impact of flooding is not just a Northeastern issue.

    Read more »

  • CDFIs and Small Business Lending

    IMG_5221aPrevious blog posts have discussed the role of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in North Carolina. CDFIs are typically smaller financial institutions that engage in mission-drive lending intended to expand access to capital in low-wealth and underserved communities in order to foster economic development and revitalization.

    This post, one in a series of posts profiling CDFIs with links to North Carolina, will highlight Mountain BizWorks, a CDFI focused on supporting small businesses by providing short-term loans, credits, training and consulting to micro enterprises and small businesses. Mountain BizWorks works primarily in Western North Carolina with businesses who may find it difficult to secure funding from banks and other traditional sources. What makes Mountain BizWorks unique is that all its loan decisions and relationships are managed locally, and they work to ensure clients’ success by offering highly customized, peer-to-peer business coaching by an extensive network of local business owners.  Read more »

  • Ambitious Plans and Achievable Actions

    City planners like to quote Daniel Burnham, the late-19th century architect and planner. “Make no little plans” he famously said. “[T]hey have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.”

    That’s all well and good, but those big, unwieldy plans are hard to fund and hard to implement. In recent years, some citizens and planners are taking a different approach. “Do something!” they say. Focus on the small, cheap, and attainable actions. The concept goes by many names—Tactical Urbanism, Better Block Projects, Open Streets, mobile vending, temporary development, and more. Regardless of the name, though, the underlying concept is constant: achieve incremental actions to improve the community. This approach allows for low-cost experimentation; it is like pilot projects for community development. Read more »

  • Farmers Markets’ as a Tool for Economic Development and Healthy Food Access

    farmer's marketIn 2014, The Raleigh City Farmers Market began operating each Wednesday outside the city’s Historic City Market building. The market, comprised of fifteen vendors from around the Triangle region, offers produce, meat, cheeses, and other locally sourced food. It is part of a larger trend of farmers markets, which have grown in popularity in recent years, particularly in North Carolina. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently ranked it 7th among all states for growth of farmers markets. The number of markets in the state grew to 240 in 2014, almost triple the 84 markets that existed in 2004.  Read more »

  • System Leadership and Community Development

    From "The Dawn of System Leadership" (SSIR, Winter 2015)

    Stanford Social Innovation Review (Winter 2015)

    An article titled “The Dawn of System Leadership” was recently published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review by Peter Senge, Hal Hamilton, and John Kania and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in community development. While the notion of system leadership is not new—it is getting at similar ideas that others have called collaborative, integrative, boundary-spanning, adaptive or catalytic leadership—I believe the emphasis on “systems” thinking, change, and leadership is very helpful, and their short article does a great job of distilling down a lot of learning into a few key points that I’d like to summarize here.

    Read more »

  • CDFIs and Affordable Housing

    charCDFIThis post is part of our series on North Carolina CDFIs. CDFIs are financial institutions that expand access to capital in low-wealth and underserved communities in order to foster economic development and revitalization. See previous posts in the series: an overview of the role of CDFIs in North Carolina, and a profile of the Natural Capital Investment Fund.


    Like many CDFIs, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership focuses exclusively on investing in housing affordability. Founded in 1988, CMHP grew out of the work of a city-wide Housing Task Force that was searching for a new public-private model to address the city’s housing challenges more creatively, flexibly, and collaboratively than the Charlotte Housing Authority. One key to the new model was the ability to leverage private investment in a climate of dwindling public funding for affordable housing. Part of this collaborative approach has meant working closely with public partners to target specific neighborhoods for strategic investment. Read more »

  • Building Healthy Rural Communities in North Carolina

    The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust is framing a new place-based initiative around an important question related to the long-term prosperity and vitality of rural communities in the state:

    What if rural North Carolina was a healthy place? For example:
    • What if fewer people suffered from diabetes?
    • What if healthy food was affordable and staying active was easier?
    • What if each person in the county had a doctor they knew and who knew them?
    • What if grandmothers and pastors and business leaders and teachers all had a say?
    • What if we talked about health as critical to the future success of rural North Carolina? Read more »

  • What @sog_ced is reading on the web: January 2015

    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.

    Economic development incentives in North Carolina:

    Governor McCrory says that state economic development incentives should be a top priority in the next legislative session: http://‪ 

    Can the economic development incentive debate in North Carolina be explained by a rural-urban political divide? ‪

    Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and the state expect $2.6 million refund in Chiquita incentives after new owners announce that they are closing their Charlotte headquarters: http://‪ 

    Governor McCrory outlines a plan to provide economic incentives, NC Competes, that he says will help North Carolina attract and retain more businesses: ‪   Read more »

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