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.

North Carolina’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative – Call for Applications

North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative is accepting applications through November 2nd.

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative was established by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Division of NCDOT in 2004. Amid desire for stronger multi-modal transportation choices, and more walkable and bike-friendly communities, the Initiative was formed to encourage municipalities to develop comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian transportation plans by matching state and federal resources with local dollars. To date, approximately $5.5 million in state funds has been used to support the development of 193 plans. In the past ten years, 123 plans have been adopted, with 500 projects within these plans submitted for funding consideration in the State Transportation Improvement Program. Additionally, a recent study completed by NCDOT identified 1,005 bicycle and pedestrian projects that have been completed in 83 communities that stem from adopted plans that were funded by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative. Plans usually include infrastructure investments including crosswalks, pedestrian signals, sidewalk improvements or repairs, bicycle lanes, etc., but often also include policy components to encourage multi-modal transportation and promote pedestrian and cyclist safety.  Read More…

Opportunity Zones at a Local Level

The Opportunity Zone (OZ) program was rolled out this year, creating a new community economic development tool. Prior posts on the CED blog have covered this topic — an overview of OZs can be found here and a discussion of North Carolina’s selection of zones here. This post will discuss how OZs relate to other community economic development tools and how different local contexts may affect OZ investment. This post will also include strategies for local government participation in concert with these programs to maximize the impact of OZ investment in communities to meet community development goals.  Read More…

Underwater? Increasing Risks for North Carolina’s Coastal Communities

$465 million. That is the estimated market value of real-estate lost between 2005 and 2016 in Florida’s Miami-Dade area. The cause? Rising sea-levels and the resulting tidal flooding and hurricane storm surge, according to a recent peer-reviewed study by Steven McAlpine and Jeremy Porter of Columbia University. The same methodology was extended to coastal areas in the rest of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia in an analysis published by the First Street Foundation. The lost market real-estate value in North Carolina in the same period is estimated to be $582 million, with Hatteras ($19.6 million), North Topsail Beach ($17 million) and Ocracoke ($16.2 million) topping the list of communities most impacted. The authors point to the emergence of “climate gentrification” as property values increase for higher elevation homes and decrease for lower-lying areas. Read More…

What @sog_ced is reading online: August 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:

Carolina Demography reports that major metros in North Carolina are booming, but many rural towns are experiencing a decline in population. Post lists municipalities experiencing decline. https://unc.live/2M8tAUj 

CityLab article by UNC-Chapel Hill Department of City & Regional Planning faculty colleague Andrew Whittemore discusses the correlation between zoning and race in Durham. http://bit.ly/2MFlGPi 

John Locke Foundation post reviews job and wage growth (or decline) in North Carolina counties. http://bit.ly/2nJDFcw 

Professor Walden discusses North Carolina’s use of economic development incentives to attract new businesses to the state, as compared to other states in Upjohn Institute study. http://bit.ly/2N92WrB

Indy Weekly examines Chapel Hill’s inclusionary zoning ordinance for affordable housing, quotes UNC School of Government faculty Tyler Mulligan: http://bit.ly/2N9Jjzq

Other CED items:                                           

Harvard Business Review post provides an overview of economic development strategies that offer more long term benefits than recruitment incentives. http://bit.ly/2n3VZwv 

Examination by Route Fifty of cities trying to figure out whether Opportunity Zones can revitalize struggling neighborhoods. http://bit.ly/2MokGPl  Read More…

Freddie Mac’s New Workforce Housing Pilot Program

A recent Community and Economic Development blog post outlined the concept of Workforce Housing – housing affordable to households earning 60 – 120% of the Area Median Income (AMI) – including the roots of workforce housing initiatives, and how macroeconomic trends have challenged the supply of housing affordable to middle-income workers across the nation. In response to this diminishing supply of workforce housing, Freddie Mac has recently launched a new pilot program to help preserve workforce housing amidst trends of rising rents, by facilitating the use of private capital.   Read More…

Key Findings: The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies’ State of the Nation’s Housing 2018 report

The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies recently released their 30thAnniversary State of the Nation’s Housing Report, detailing new insight into the forces at work in the nation’s housing market, as well as challenges faced by local, state and federal government agencies in finding solutions to the present housing challenges. The report also provides a reflection of how the nation’s housing challenges have changed over the course of 30 years, and often, how they have persisted. Key takeaways from this report are described below.

In the last 30 years the number of cost-burdened renters (those paying over 30% of their income on housing) has risen dramatically — a result of challenges to both supply and demand for housing. On the supply side, higher costs for land, construction materials and labor have resulted in rents that have significantly outpaced inflation. Additionally, local regulations reduce opportunities for developers to produce modest-cost housing by: limiting the types of housing that can be produced, capping the density of developments, and subjecting developers to long approval processes and heavy fees along the way. On the demand side, weak income growth among low and moderate-earning households is paired with an imbalance between the demanded housing types and the available stock of both rental and for-sale units: currently, “high-end” housing is overrepresented in the market. Charlotte, NC and Durham, NC are specifically among the areas with the greatest imbalances between the demanded housing price point and the available housing stock. Read More…

Charlotte’s ReVenture Park: Sustainability-Focused Industrial Redevelopment

Located on the western edge of Charlotte, ReVenture Park is an underutilized 667-acre industrially zoned area currently being redeveloped by a team led by Forsite Development. The long-term vision sees the site – once occupied by a textile dyeing operation – turned to a thriving hub for renewable energy projects, with ~600 acres of adjacent residential and mixed-use commercial development. Totaling nearly 1,300 acres, the heroic ReVenture Park project will serve as a case study for creative, sustainability-focused Brownfield and Superfund redevelopments throughout the United States.      Read More…

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…