Posts on Human & Cultural Assets

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  • Lessons for CED from Europe: Inclusive Communities and a New City-Run Food Pantry

    The photo was eerily familiar to anyone interested in CED.  The headline from the New York Times article on September 20, just days before the German national election, read, “Merkel Says Germans ‘Never Had It Better.’ But Many Feel Left Behind.”  The accompanying photo by Gordon Welters, shown here, features

  • Making the Case for Affordable Housing: Using BLS Statistics to ask Hard Questions About Salaries vs. Local Housing Costs

    Last year, nursing assistants in Goldsboro earned $11.83 an hour (median wage) for a mean annual salary of $24,610.  Is this a sufficient wage to sustain a person who wants to live and work there? Affordable housing for different demographic groups in North Carolina communities has been discussed in [more…]

  • What is the “special character” of the historic district?

    After a city or county establishes a historic district or historic landmark, the local historic preservation commission is authorized to prevent certain changes that “would be incongruous with the special character of the landmark or district.”  But, what is the special character? And what is incongruous with it?  This [more…]

  • Local Governments and Non-Profits: Building Community Through Partnership

    NBC News recently aired a short feel-good story during its Nightly News broadcast about a code enforcement officer working for the City of Petaluma, California. Joe Garcia had received multiple complaints about a dilapidated home surrounded by overgrown weeds. Clearly the home was out of compliance, and so the natural [more…]

  • North Carolina Education and Workforce Development: Work Ready Communities

    A powerful common denominator between economic development and human capital development is education. Communities with well-regarded schools incentivize businesses to be recruited to an area to make use of local talent. It is a cycle in which the economic vitality of an area is contingent upon the strength of [more…]

  • Mapping North Carolina’s Local Food Infrastructure

    Strengthening local food economies can be viewed as an important part of a holistic approach to community development. Local food can be a positive contributor to social capital, public health, environmental preservation, and overall quality of life. It also can be an important component of local economic development. In [more…]

  • Is Your Local Community Partner Ready To Go?

    In July 2013, I wrote a blog proposing a four-part framework for understanding if specific local organizations have the capacity to implement CED programs. How well does this framework hold up when actually used?  We answer this question using interviews with 31 local partners, over the past two years [more…]

  • New Book of Interest: This is Where You Belong

    I am just finishing a pre-publication version of a forthcoming book by Melody Warnick titled “This is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live” (available June 21, 2016). Warnick is a fellow-blogger on the Community Engagement Learning Exchange, writing about all things community from [more…]

  • Coordinating Staff Efforts for Development: Mixed Expectations and Missed Opportunities

    You are excited about a new grant possibility for the city to help with a business incubator initiative on which you have been working. You realize that you need to start getting the application together because you are certain that this grant will soon become a city priority.  You [more…]

  • Live Long and Prosper: Does CED Impact How Long We Live?

    I often think about ways in which local government matters in the daily lives of citizens. This month, a major study was released showing how local conditions, and community and economic development, infrastructure, and planning in particular, may have a direct impact on the most basic quality of life [more…]

  • Community Food Strategies: Food System Network Building in NC

    As I have written about before, I see local food organizing as a powerful community building enterprise. Because everyone eats, local food efforts literally can have an impact on entire communities. And because local food organizing touches upon all aspects of community capital (social, environmental, financial, and so on), [more…]

  • Local Government Economic Development Powers “Clarified”

    On October 20, 2015, the Governor signed Session Law (S.L.) 2015-277, placing into effect several “clarifications” to the primary economic development statute used by local governments, G.S. Chapter 158, Article 1, “The Local Development Act of 1925.” The modifications fall into three categories: first, broad discretionary language was removed; [more…]

  • Economic Development via “White Hat” Hacking? 2015 Statewide Conference – CityCamp NC

    The 2015 edition of CityCamp NC was held in Raleigh, June 11-13. It is the sixth year of bringing citizens, local and state government, and businesses together to improve the quality of life through information technology (IT) and the use of open, public data. Local elected officials from Cary, [more…]

  • Museums as Community Development: Whiteville, NC

    Museums can serve as community anchors, catalysts for revitalization, and vehicles for cultural preservation. One of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ goals has been to extend its reach beyond Raleigh, with special consideration for historically underrepresented communities.  There is a large need to reach underserved populations that do [more…]

  • Improving Higher Education’s Role in Workforce Development

    Human capital and talent are increasingly important drivers of regional competitiveness. States and localities recognize that their economic development success is inextricably linked to their ability to cultivate and develop a workforce that has the knowledge and skills required by key businesses and industries. Communities and regions must operate [more…]

  • The Heart of Collaborative Leadership

    The need for collaborative leaders in communities and regions has never been greater. Most, if not all, of the community development issues we grapple with are highly complex and “boundary crossing,” meaning they cut across organizational, jurisdictional, and sectoral boundaries. Collaborative leaders are catalysts who bring stakeholders together to address shared [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 [more…]

  • System Leadership and Community Development

    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 [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? • [more…]

  • Workforce Development Dollars — Has your community cashed in?

    In North Carolina, workforce training programs are primarily delivered through the 23 local, workforce development boards or through the state’s 59 community colleges. Most economic developers will be aware of these resources but may not know some of the programs these providers offer or the creative ways training funds [more…]

  • Sale of Historic Structures by NC Local Governments for Redevelopment

    Almost ten years ago, in the town of Bushwood, North Carolina, the “generous” owner of the historic textile mill building just off Main Street donated the property to the town (it was difficult to maintain and the owner didn’t want to pay property taxes on it any more). The [more…]

  • Many Mini-Bonds in the Mile High City

    $12 million in one hour: That’s not a report of the ticket sales for the Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood’s Greensboro show last week. That is how much the City of Denver raised directly from the citizens of Colorado for the final phase of its Better Denver capital campaign [more…].

  • Guidance for Small Towns on Community Development Outreach Using Information Technology

    While larger towns, counties and state governments are promoting their online services, and investing in social media such as Facebook and Twitter, how can smaller towns make sure they are not left behind? Community development entails on the ground, high-touch work. But potential employers and residents tied to their [more…]

  • University Roles in Economic Development

    Universities can help promote economic development in a variety of ways. As Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter notes in an article, universities contribute to regional competitiveness by supporting key industry clusters. According to Porter, universities themselves are part of a growing and increasingly important “education and knowledge creation” [more…]

  • Why’d She Do That? Explaining Workplace Behavior and Why It Matters to Organizations

    Community and economic development professionals, in working to accomplish their goals, must often lead and manage organizations. In recognition of that fact, this post is offered as part of series on leadership and management, written by faculty and staff who focus on those topics at the UNC School of [more…]

  • The Role of U.S. Counties in Economic Development

    In a recently released report, the National Association of Counties (NACo) examines the special role that county governments play in the process of economic development. The report’s findings are based on a national survey of U.S. counties and case studies of local economic development in 34 selected counties. The [more…]

  • Reimagining Shopping Malls

    Across 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 [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 [more…]

  • Can you manage the organizational culture of your local Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Board?

    An organizational culture will be established or will occur… be proactive.    Elected leaders in Oceanboro promised voters that they would transform the way economic development services are delivered in the city—incentive policies, support for entrepreneurs, and new industrial sites—but they haven’t offered any specifics. The task of figuring [more…]

  • The Potential Impact of Baby Boomer Housing and Community Preferences on Downtown Revitalization

    Downtown redevelopment to attract talented Millennials has become an important and popular economic development policy in many cities across the country. By now it is almost common knowledge what it takes to attract talented Millennials to your town or city: walkable, diverse and vibrant neighborhoods in close proximity to [more…]

  • Councils, Common Purpose, and Collaboration

    I read a terrific blog post at Harvard Business Review (HBR) the other day about collaboration. The author explained that “purpose is collaboration’s most unacknowledged determinant.” Community collaboration has never been more important as today’s challenges are too complex and interconnected for any one organization–government or otherwise–to handle alone [more…].

  • Rethinking Higher Education?

    There are calls from many quarters to reform higher education and make it more accessible, affordable, and relevant in the dynamic, global economy of the 21st century.  A recent study produced jointly by the Lumina Foundation and Gallup reinforces this theme.  The study reports the results from both a [more…]

  • Using a Crisis to Localize Your Rural Economy

    Imagine that the employer your community has depended on for decades shuts down unexpectedly. Suddenly, ten-thousand people are now out of work and the local economy is in flux as residents begin searching for employment in neighboring municipalities. How do you respond to the sudden uncertainty and loss of [more…]

  • Neighborhood Resistance to Redevelopment: A Case from Memphis, TN

    The City of Memphis, Tennessee was an early adopter and frequent user of HOPE VI funds to demolish traditional public housing and redevelop mixed-income sites. Over the past 15 years, the Memphis Housing Authority (MHA) has received more than $155 million Federal dollars to demolish five public housing complexes that had housed [more…]

  • Local Foods as Community Development, Some Questions and Answers

    Earlier in this Fall I reported on a webinar co-sponsored by the UNC School of Government and the Center for Environmental Farming System (CEFS) on local food and local government. The purpose of the webinar was to educate local government officials about how the local food movement can be an [more…]

  • Arts-based Community & Economic Redevelopment: Artist Relocation Programs

    How can we build on our existing assets to revitalize our downtown? How can we attract new residents and entrepreneurs into distressed areas? How can we encourage the kind of culture and vitality that keeps young professionals in our downtown? Many North Carolina towns are asking themselves these questions [more…]

  • Why Local Governments Should be Thinking About Local Food Systems

    Last month I hosted a webinar here at the School of Government, in partnership with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (or CEFS for short),  on the topic of local foods and local government. I was fortunate enough to have with me a who’s who of local foods experts [more…]

  • Five Possible “Game Changers” for Economic Development in the U.S.

    The economic recovery in the U.S. has not gained enough steam in order to produce significant increases in private investment and job creation.  While the overall unemployment rate has steadily declined, the level of joblessness, particularly for certain segments of the workforce, remains very high.  In addition, labor force [more…]

  • Preparing for the Silver Tsunami: Participatory Planning for Aging in Orange County, NC

    The United States is turning gray, and that isn’t a reference to the wet weather we have seen lately. The number of older adults aged 65 and older is expected to double by the year 2050 to an estimated 88.5 million seniors. North Carolina is no exception, especially given [more…]

  • Does Your Community Have the Capacity to Undertake Community Economic Development?

    Say you have learned of a community economic development (CED) program that seems to be a perfect fit for your area.  The need is already there and well documented, the program provides the right mix of projects, and all the program financial resources are available and already approved.   All [more…]

  • Community Development and a Sense of Place

    The work of community development is very much tied to place. Even though today we speak of virtual communities or communities of practice that are disconnected from place, when we speak of community development we are talking about developing the capacity of local communities–neighborhoods, towns, regions. Wendell Berry is [more…]

  • Try using “yes, and” in your next economic development strategy session

    You are meeting with members of your economic development board and trying to make decisions about infrastructure investment to promote growth. One member wants to focus the discussion on the need to construct a new shell building, while another member wants to talk about water and sewer infrastructure. The [more…]

  • Measuring quality of life or “livability” within a community

    What draws and retains residents to a specific community?  Are there characteristics that make a local jurisdiction a particularly livable place, and can this concept be measured?  As many local jurisdictions seek strategies to encourage economic development, some are giving equal attention to the concept of livability to ensure [more…]

  • A Strategic Roadmap for Kinston Promise Neighborhood

    The School of Government and the Kenan Institute collaborated recently to create a strategic business plan for Kinston Promise Neighborhood, Inc., a nonprofit community collaborative organization modeled after the highly successful Harlem Children’s Zone in New York.  Kinston Promise Neighborhood, Inc. is focused on serving children and families in [more…]

  • Higher Education, Employment, and Economic Development

    Recent comments on a talk radio show by North Carolina’s governor has spurred debate regarding the role of higher education in economic development (and, by extension, the role of public funding of higher education). There have been many op-eds and other statements in reaction to those comments, including from [more…]

  • Promise Neighborhood Project, Kinston, NC

    Kinston Promise is a comprehensive approach to educating children and strengthening families in the town of Kinston, a mid-size community in eastern North Carolina. An organization, Kinston Promise Neighborhood, Inc., works through existing community-based programs to create a continuum of “cradle-through-college” solutions to improve the academic and developmental outcomes for [more…]

  • Value-Added Production as Economic Development

    Pickled bamboo shoots, gourmet jams, and unpasteurized tea are just a few of the products coming out of Blue Ridge Food Ventures, a value-added food production and manufacturing facility based on Asheville, North Carolina. BRFV is an 11,000 square foot facility with a shared-use commercial kitchen, processing areas, and [more…]

  • Identifying Future Leaders in Rural Areas is a Challenge

    “One-Stoplight Town Seeks Just One Mayor” is the title of an article published last month in the New York Times. The quote that would send chills down the spine of anyone who cares for their small rural community is, “Nobody wants to be the mayor.” Identifying future leaders in [more…]

  • What @sog_ced is reading on the web: December 2012

    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. Richard Florida says there is “virtually no association between [more…]

  • “Territorial Assets” and the Latest from Richard Florida

    Richard Florida has done more than perhaps any single analyst to bring attention to the importance of quality of life amenities and place making strategies in attracting talented, creative, and highly skilled people to a community, which in turn will fuel economic growth.  His influential 2002 book describes the [more…]