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
North 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 »
In 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 . 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 . 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
North 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 »
The Center for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS) at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently released a new report challenging the common idea that rural areas are the most distressed in the state. Instead, the report highlights urban areas as the most distressed. The data in the report should be helpful for Community Economic Development (CED) professionals in urban areas who need evidence of where troubled areas are located and how deeply distressed they are.
The report, North Carolina’s Distressed Urban Tracts: A View of the State’s Economically Disadvantaged Communities, can be found Read more »
A previous post by Tyler Mulligan explained how North Carolina local governments can utilize land banks to address vacant, abandoned, and tax foreclosed properties in their community. Additionally, case studies of land banks in Genesee County, Michigan and Fulton County, Georgia highlighted some unique programs and strategies being used to address vacant property in other areas of the country. This final post in the land banking series explores the lank bank model used in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, home to the City of Cleveland. Read more »
Whether your community is a large urban district or a small town, promoting it through traditional media outlets has become more challenging due to unprecedented changes within the communications industry. American newsrooms are in a season of disruption:
- More than 70 daily newspapers have closed their doors or been consolidated since 2004.
- Stocks of major media companies such as The New York Times and Gannet lost more than half their value from 2004 to 2014; The McClatchy Company, publisher of The Charlotte Observer and the Raleigh News and Observer lost more than 92% of its value during that time.
- Regular viewership of local TV news, still the most popular outlet for most Americans, is down six-percent since 2006; among 18 to 29-year olds it’s down 14%.
Among the triggers for these changes to the media landscape are a fluctuating economy and growing access to the Internet. News managers struggle to make their websites profitable while customers and former customers choose an abundance of free online information over paid subscriptions.
While the profitability of news coverage continues to evolve, this diversification of sources has created opportunities for local government and economic development professionals. You have more tools than ever to convey your message directly to your audience, so why not use them all? This post describes an all-of-the-above approach to community marketing efforts that involves a mix of paid, owned, and earned media. Read more »
In April, Rick Morse wrote on this blog about local councils, common purpose, and collaboration, and particularly the role an organized council can play in bringing common purpose to a collaboration. Quoting Mary Parker Follett, an early scholar of organizational behavior, Morse writes that “when people come together in dialogue and create common purpose, that purpose becomes an ‘invisible leader.’” Organizing a council can help make explicit the common vision that stakeholders want to bring to life, and that explicit common vision helps all stakeholders understand how to align their work toward the group goal.
This past spring, a UNC-CH STAR team made up of MBAs and BSBAs had the opportunity to apply these ideas about councils and common purpose in Beaufort County, NC, a rural Inner Banks county with about 50,000 residents. A small group of Beaufort County economic development stakeholders – the county economic developer and the heads of the downtown business alliance, the county Chamber, and the community college SBC – approached UNC’s Center for NC Strategic Economic Growth for help with the county’s entrepreneurship strategy. They in turn connected the Beaufort County stakeholders with UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s STAR program, which provides low-cost student consulting teams to global corporations, local companies, and public entities, every spring semester.
The STAR team’s initial expectation for the project was that they might recommend programmatic solutions – they’d craft some suggestions for improving access to capital, or perhaps they’d go with the always-tempting main street business incubator. A team of undergraduate public policy students working at the same time in Beaufort County on a river ecotourism strategy suggested that the STAR team might take an industry-focused approach – suggesting particular sectors that they assessed to be ripe for entrepreneurship in Beaufort County, most likely including ecotourism. Read more »
The 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.
Items of interest related to CED in North Carolina:
UNC School of Government Development Finance Initiative presents recommendations for the revitalization of Hendersonville’s Seventh Avenue District: bit.ly/VnM0SW
UNC School of Government’s Tyler Mulligan discusses closed sessions for real property acquisition and economic development during on-demand webinar: bit.ly/1nAjLYW
Chatham-Randolph industrial megasite certified: on.mktw.net/1jIotRJ
Report projects that transportation improvements along the U.S. 70 corridor from Raleigh to eastern North Carolina will have a positive economic impact: bit.ly/1jIo0PA
Many government-owned wastewater systems in the United States are enterprise funds. That is, they are business-like units within the overall government that should be self-sustaining, taking their revenue from the rates and fees charged to wastewater customers rather than from taxes. Ideally, wastewater utilities base their rates and fees on the full cost of providing wastewater service, not just on operating expenses and routine maintenance costs. Full cost rates and fees would also include taxes and accounting costs, contingencies for emergencies, and, perhaps most importantly, costs related to capital infrastructure—principal and interest on long-term debt and reserves for capital improvement. Read more »
This post reflects on the keynote presentation at this year’s “Reinventing Older Communities: Bridging Growth and Opportunity” conference hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, which was delivered by Dr. Raj Chetty, Professor of Economics at Harvard University and one of the principal investigators in The Equality of Opportunity Project. This team produced a 2013 study on intergenerational upward mobility in the United States by providing a data-driven snapshot of income mobility rates across the US, including North Carolina, where rates are amongst the lowest in the country. Their observations highlight the significance of community-level factors—levels of racial and income segregation, size of the middle class, school quality, social connectedness, and family structure— as the strongest correlates to income mobility, affecting young people before they even enter the job market. When interpreting these findings it is important to remember that the causal factors related to intergenerational economic mobility are cumulative, complex, and reflect past conditions. Crafting ‘silver-bullet’ policies based solely on these factors will not necessarily lead to higher rates of income mobility, but they can offer a framework for structuring place-based interventions. This blog post highlights some the key findings referenced here in Dr. Chetty’s lecture. The full study can be accessed here. Read more »