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.

Part III: The Start Up and Co-Working Scene in North Carolina

In the final post of this three-part series (Part I and Part II can be found here and here), the CED blog will explore the economic impact of startups on North Carolina’s economy and recent trends.

If Amazon were to choose the Triangle for its HQ2, it is almost hard to imagine the impact it would have on this area. HQ2 touts a $5 billion in investment that will eventually create 50,000 jobs.  It has been a source of controversy among many on whether local governments should be offering large incentives packages to lure in Amazon. Regardless, it is apparent that something like Amazon HQ2 would make a huge effect in an area like the Triangle which is why it has become such a hot news topic nationally.

But when you look at the impact the startup community has overall, it far exceeds the potential impact that an Amazon HQ2 might have. Read More…

It’s How Much?! Cost of Living Data for NC Counties and Select Cities

North Carolina communities are undergoing rapid economic change at different rates in different parts of the state.  Issues such as affordable housing, appropriate rate levels for public services, costs of commuting and wage growth (or stagnation) are now key for CED officials, whether your community is still struggling or dealing with the challenge of intense growth.  How do we know what ‘affordable’ is in Read More…

What Exactly is Workforce Housing and Why is it Important?

In many cities across the country, it is increasingly difficult for middle-income workers to buy or rent housing in the areas in which they work. This is in part due to wages not keeping up with increasing costs of living but is also due to the limited supply of housing affordable to these workers. In response to limited affordable housing options in the areas where they work, many middle-income workers move to the outer fringes of a region, leading to longer commute times for the worker, higher levels of traffic, and other negative externalities for the surrounding area (Parlow, 2015).

The term “Workforce Housing” is becoming increasingly used in affordable housing circles, but what exactly does it mean? The purpose of this article is to provide a definition of Workforce Housing, offer a brief history of its origins in the U.S., and briefly discuss ways municipalities can help stimulate the creation of more Workforce Housing in their communities. Read More…

Abandoned Manufactured Homes: What’s Next?


The state’s Abandoned Manufactured Homes Program has been underway for a decade but has not had the impact that its sponsors had hoped for. Over 100,000 abandoned manufactured homes litter the landscape posing environmental and public health concerns in every county in North Carolina. This post looks at the history and changing fortunes of the program and what could happen next. Read More…

North Carolina’s Opportunity Zones Certified


The Opportunity Zone (OZ) program was created as a part of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  An overview of the program previously posted on the CED blog can be found here. On May 18, 2018 the US Secretary of Treasury certified 252 census tracts in North Carolina as OZs.  The designation of OZs allows investors to gain tax benefits through investment in business activities – including real estate – in the certified zones. North Carolina’s OZ nomination process was guided by the North Carolina Department of Commerce using quantitative data and input from local communities.   This blog post will provide a brief overview of the designated OZs.  Future posts will discuss specific zones and potential development strategies for communities to take advantage of their local Zone designations. Read More…

What @sog_ced is reading online: June 2018

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:

Program offers incentives to Wilmington, NC landlords who lease to homeless, such as “risk mitigation funds.” 

Carrboro, NC passes a neighborhood conservation overlay district as a way to slow down gentrification and student housing in a historically minority, moderate income neighborhood — some fear unintended consequences:

Other CED items:                                           

HUD case study of Chicago’s troubled building program to preserve existing supply of affordable housing.

2018 national housing report finds that challenges persist for lower-income Americans despite some advances in home ownership, almost 1/3 of US households suffer housing cost burdens: Read More…

Can Households Afford Public Services When Faced With Unexpected Expenses?

At the Environmental Finance Center, we think a lot about the affordability of public services including environmental services such as drinking water.  Historically, many programs have measured affordability by looking at the cost of service compared to a community’s median household income, though this measure is limited.  A better way to measure affordability is to look at the cost of services over a range of income buckets.

All of these measures, though, are looking at affordability compared to annual income.  That can be a good measure if households only have regular expenses.  But what happens if a household has an unexpected expense?  Would that household be able to cover its regular expenses if it had an emergency expense? Read More…

Receivership: A New Tool for Addressing Vacant Problem Properties in North Carolina

Municipalities across North Carolina have long employed code enforcement tools to address problem properties and abandoned structures. A prior blog post describes the code enforcement options for repair and maintenance of commercial buildings. A book on housing codes describes the code enforcement options for residential structures. A bulletin describes local government authority to carry out inspections of structures. To see how all of North Carolina’s code enforcement tools can come together in a strategic approach, read the report produced by the Center for Community Progress for the City of High Point. Now municipalities have an additional code enforcement tool at their disposal to address problem properties. Effective October 1, 2018,[1] Session Law 2018-65 establishes receivership powers and authorizes North Carolina municipalities to request for a superior court to appoint a receiver to manage a vacant structure that has not complied with a code enforcement order. These vacant problem properties, whether residential or commercial, are deemed a “nuisance per se”—in other words, a nuisance in any context. This blog post provides an overview of the new receivership authority. Read More…

The Evolving Role of Universities in Community Economic Development

Source: UNC-Greensboro Community Development

The role and power of universities in regional economic development is well documented. Research from UNC’s Department of City and Regional Planning suggests that American research universities engaging in economic development missions have directly and positively influenced their surrounding regional economies. Similar results have been documented in Western Europe and throughout the developing world, where literature points to universities as a pivotal tool in catalyzing economic growth. In North Carolina, the UNC system actively promotes its 17 campuses as engines of economic development, committing broadly to a mission of entrepreneurship while outlining the targeted economic development strategies of each school. Read More…

Freddie Mac Pilots a Single-Family Rental Program

In January 2018, Government sponsored enterprise (GSE) Freddie Mac completed its first financing deal as a part of its new single-family rental pilot program, which launched in December 2017. The goal of the pilot program is to provide millions of dollars of financing for landlords and nonprofits to offer affordable single-family rental units. This deal finances nearly $11.1 million for TrueLane Homes, an investor in affordable single-family rental homes, in the form of a 10-year, fixed-rate loan secured by 196 homes across six states. Over 90% of the homes will be affordable for families earning at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI).

This landmark deal comes on the heels of Fannie Mae’s similar, yet controversial, agreement to provide $1 billion in financing to Invitation Homes, a subsidiary of the private equity firm, Blackstone Group, which was announced in January 2017. However, both of these deals mark a significant transition in the GSEs’ role in affordable rental markets, which have traditionally been limited to financing multifamily projects or small-scale single-family rental properties.   Read More…