Leaping the Digital Divide: Encouraging Policies and Partnerships to Improve Broadband Access Across North Carolina

Authors: Erin Wynia, NCLM Legislative Counsel and Joanne Hovis, President of CTC Technology & Energy The article that follows is pulled from excerpts of a policy paper initiated, published and co-authored by the N.C. League of Municipalities (NCLM) as part of an effort to encourage statewide policy that better enables public-private partnerships for broadband access. NCLM views this effort as crucial to ensuring that all North Carolinians have the 21st century infrastructure they need to thrive economically and to make their communities attractive places to live and work. You can find the full report, with a range of pullout information and a foreword from Brookings Institution Fellow Blair Levin, at www.nclm.org/broadband.   The Case for Government Involvement in Broadband One of the primary functions of government is to build the infrastructure networks people need to sustain their lives and livelihoods. Today, high-speed broadband joins transportation, electric, water, and natural gas networks as a component of basic infrastructure services that Americans expect to be provided. High-speed internet service is the number-one amenity sought by multi-family residents, and the number-two amenity for single-family residents, according to a recent study. Local governments, in particular, can and should play a role in creating the infrastructure networks to provide this service, which are often too costly for private sector entities to build solely on their own. Traditionally, when considering infrastructure networks that widely benefit the public, governments step up to build assets with a long lifespan. Whether it’s a street network, electric grid, natural gas system, or drinking water treatment, all of these long-term investments are made with a goal of giving communities an edge:...

Legislative Committee Seeking Intern – Stipend Available

Author: Chad Meadows, Chair, APA-NC Legislative Committee The NC-APA Legislative Committee is looking for an intern or chapter member with some time to assist in the preparation of a white paper on legislative committee best practices. The work includes interviews of past NC-APA Legislative Committee Chairs about their experiences and perspectives on the Committee’s past efforts as well as participation in telephone interviews with Legislative Chairs from other APA chapters across the country (approximately 10). Results of these interviews will be summarized in a white paper (to be prepared by the intern with oversight from the Legislative Committee) that will be provided to APA National and used to help guide the NC-APA Legislative Committee in its preparation of a new strategic plan over the coming months. The work includes a stipend of up to $1,000 and is expected to require around 50 hours to complete. It is an excellent opportunity for a planning student or young professional considering a career in planning policy or legislation. The work has a short deadline, with the completion of the white paper by the end of November 2018. Interested persons should send a resume and cover letter to Chad Meadows, Legislative Chair, at chad@codewright.info. Candidate selection will take place the last week in August. Candidates should be a member of...

Portland Transit

Author: Roger Bardsley Last year I reported on the Denver Metro Area and its more or less successful completion of a light rail system that provides mobility throughout the region. I also mentioned that Denver and its environs are held together politically by a single council of governments (DRCOG) and a single Regional Transportation District (RTD). DRCOG also functions as the MPO for the area. The results have been impressive. This year I journeyed to the Portland, OR metro area to see how things were working there. For planners, of course, Oregon is famous for urban growth boundaries and a bike-friendly culture. I found that the Portland metro area is well-served by TriMet, a transit district similar to RTD. They operate an extensive light rail system, a single commuter rail line, and a bus system. Of course, I was excited about light rail and decided to find out how and why Portland has pretty much blown away the competition. It started back in the early 1970s when highway officials proposed several new freeways that would have damaged Portland and taken out thousands of homes. There was a citizen revolt and most of the projects got cancelled. Portland does have urban freeways but they are not as intrusive as in some other metro areas. Cancellation of, in particular, the Mount Hood freeway, provided funding for the light rail planning. Fast forward to 1986 when the first line opened, and then to today when TriMet has completed the following major projects: MAX (Metropolitan Area Express) Blue Line – 33 miles from Hillsborough west of Portland, to Beaverton, to city center, and...

Announcing the Winners of the 2018 Marvin Collins Awards

Authors: Craig N. Benedict, AICP, Chair – APA-NC Awards Committee (East) Meredith Kern, Orange County Planning & Inspections Department The APA-NC Awards Committee is proud to announce the winners of the 2018 Marvin Collins awards. The Marvin Collins Planning Awards program recognizes agencies and students who have completed outstanding plans, programs, and projects, or made notable contributions to the planning profession. Each year the Awards Committee receives nominations in specific categories, which are then reviewed by a panel of independent planners representing eastern and western portions of the state. The awards signify the highest standards of achievement for planning in North Carolina. Recipients will be recognized at an awards luncheon on Thursday, September 13, 2018, at the APA-NC annual conference in Winston-Salem. And the award goes to… Outstanding Planning Award – Comprehensive Planning (Small Community) Transylvania County 2025 Comprehensive Plan   Outstanding Planning Award – Comprehensive Planning (Large Community) Plan Chatham County   Robert Reiman Award Scott Shuford   Student Awards              Appalachian State University – Abie Bonevac (Outstanding Student Award) East Carolina University – Plan 4096: Planning Studio (Undergraduate Student Project) University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill – Carly Hoffman (Outstanding Student Award)   Outstanding Planning Award – Special Theme Award: Multidisciplinary Project   Carolina Thread Trail Greater Charlotte Regional Freight Mobility Plan (multijurisdictional)   Outstanding Planning Award – Implementation (Small Community)   Town of Hillsborough Churton Street Access Improvement Project   Outstanding Planning Award – Implementation (Large Community) Wake Forest Renaissance Plan (Honorable...

APA-NC Executive Committee Welcomes New Legislative Committee Chair

Author: Pete Sullivan, AICP, Communications Committee The APA-NC Executive Committee welcomes (back) Chad Meadows, AICP, as Chair of the Legislative Committee. Chad served as Chair from 2014-2016. Former Chair Amy Nelson, AICP, served in this role for the past two years, and is thanked for her service to the committee. The Legislative Committee influences North Carolina land use legislation on behalf of the chapter by monitoring planning-related bills, advocating for positions with support from the chapter’s lobbyist, and initiating planning-related legislation. Chad is excited to return to the role of Chair. One of his first priorities will be to administer the committee’s recent grant award from the American Planning Association (APA). In 2018 the chapter received a $3,000 grant from APA to fund the preparation of a white paper detailing successful legislative programs from other state chapters and to develop a strategic plan for the committee. Chad hopes the committee can further assist NC planners in adapting to new legislation and tracking legislative issues. Planners attending the APA-NC annual conference in Winston-Salem are encouraged to attend the Legislative Committee session on September 12 to learn more about the committee’s initiatives. Chad is founder and principal of CodeWright Planners, LLC, and has over 25 years of professional experience in planning, zoning, and growth management. He has been a member of the chapter since 2001, and has been involved with the Legislative Committee for the past six years. Past Chair Amy Nelson and has been a chapter member since 2000. She served as Legislative Committee Chair from 2016-2018, and during this time she was pleased to see planners and other groups...

Meet Savannah Newbern, Our 2018 APA-NC Summer Fellow!

The North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association selected Savannah Newbern as the 2018 Summer Fellow. Savannah Newbern is a mother, wife, and student living in Greenville, North Carolina. She is pursuing a degree in Urban and Regional Planning with a minor in Political Science from East Carolina University. Savannah’s passion for urban planning stems from the profession’s unique opportunity to engage with underserved communities and catalyze positive change. Savannah’s area of interest is food justice and she advocates for increased economic and geographic accessibility to fresh produce through the practice of community gardening. In Savannah’s personal time she enjoys exploring new cities, listening to educational podcasts, and caring for her urban garden. These activities occur when she is not chasing around her joyfully active 1-year-old son, Sebastien. Savannah is grateful and looking forward to the work the APA-NC Summer Fellowship will entail. She is certain this experience will deepen her understanding of the connections between policy and local action. The Summer Fellowship program was created to increase diversity within the planning profession by fostering the professional development of a student whom is interested in pursuing a professional planning career. The $2,000.00 fellowship is open to a graduate or undergraduate woman or a person from an under represented ethnic group who is majoring in urban planning or planning related at an accredited university in North Carolina. Savannah will be completing a policy research project this summer that will be posted on the Chapter blog in early...
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