The City of Edinburgh, Scotland

Author: Roger Bardsley, AICP It is possible that some of you have been to Edinburgh, Scotland.  It is a beautiful city with loads of wonderful architecture, museums and history.  Edinburgh Castle sits on top of the ridge that runs through the center of town while Arthur’s Seat looks down from the other end.  The Firth of Forth is visible from the top, and the Royal Yacht Britannia is moored at the docks.  Yes, you should go. This blog, however, is not about the sights the tourists see.  It is about things that planners might notice.  I like to write about these sorts of things because you are all planners, and we know we don’t see the world the ways others do. Transit Edinburgh has an impressive bus system that serves much of the metro area with frequent, on-time service.  They have both double-decker and single-deck buses with plenty of capacity.  Unlike in cities in North Carolina, there is no class stigma attached to riding the bus.  A couple of years ago Edinburgh completed a tram from downtown to the airport.  I rode it in from the airport last week and enjoyed the experience.  The alignment, unfortunately, contained tight turns so the tram was not able to maximize its speed capabilities.  The tram was very controversial, over budget and behind schedule.  Sounds like every public project in the U.S.  In spite of the critique, however, I wish the major cities in NC had systems as capable as the one in Edinburgh.  Note:  Most of the buses in Edinburgh are operated by Lothian, a private company in operation since 1919.  It...

2019 Marvin Collins Planning Awards Program – Deadline Extended

Submitted by APA-NC Awards Committee The nominating period is now open for the 2019 Marvin Collins Planning Awards program. The Call for Entries form is available here, and the deadline is April 30, 2019. Nominations will be reviewed by mid-June and awards will be presented during the 2019 APA-NC Conference in Wilmington, October 8-11, 2019. Entering its 41st year, this awards program recognizes agencies and individuals that have completed outstanding plans, programs, and projects, as well as students and others who have made notable contributions within the planning profession.  The awards represent the highest standards of achievement in the planning profession in North Carolina. We look forward to another year of outstanding entries that reflect so positively on the great planning underway in North Carolina....

Most at Risk for Erasure from Climate Change

By: Amanda Martin, AICP, PhD Candidate at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Department of City and Regional Planning Up and down the coast of the Carolinas, the iconic seaside towns are facing a brutal storm. Their residents, restauranteurs, and local government staff are holding their collective breath to see what will be left after Hurricane Florence. They know what we all know now—the storm’s waves and wind will likely bring large scale destruction. Local and national media are covering Florence by breathlessly reporting from the water’s edge, while we nervously watch the waves crash behind them on the screen. Ironically, small, rural communities further inland may have more to lose in the changing climate. The drama of the destruction at the coast overshadows the deep vulnerability of communities that lie in the inner coastal plains of both the Carolinas – flat expanses of agricultural land and swamps that many people only see on their way to or from the coast itself. These areas sit downstream of large watersheds further upland. Their financial and political resources pale in comparison to coastal communities. Seven Springs, a tiny town in Wayne County, North Carolina, is such a town. Located on the Neuse River, it boasts natural springs it was named after. It was the site of a Civil War battle, and later home to two private resorts built over the springs.  Hurricane Floyd flooded almost every home in town in 1999, and as much as a third of the original population did not return to rebuild. In 2016, floodwater returned with Hurricane Matthew. Painstakingly, some houses have come back online....

Busting Stereotypes One Wheel at a Time

Submitted by: Tory Gibler, Masters Student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Department of City and Regional Planning The following is derived from an interview with Athena Wollin, a bicycle mechanic at Oak City Cycling Project, graphic designer, and board member of Oaks & Spokes, a bicycle advocacy nonprofit in Raleigh, NC. Originally from central Oregon, Athena has lived in Portland, Boulder, and now Raleigh. She loves bikes and the bicycle’s form and movement inspired her early graphic and animation work. This led to a fascination with the bike’s mechanics, and the happiness bikes provide while riding. What does a regular day at the bicycle shop look like for you? Each day is completely different, but as soon as I’m in the shop I’m ready to help people fix their bikes or help them feel more confident on a bike. I’m ready to help them find their future bike or help them figure out where to go on their bike. It usually starts by putting a bike in the stand and wondering where the day will go. As some background, I’ve been at Oak City Cycling Project for almost two years, and back in January I received a scholarship from Quality Bike Products (QBP), a large parts distributor, to attend the United Bicycle Institute. Every year the scholarship is offered for FTW (Femme/Trans/Women) folks, and helps these individuals feel more confident with their mechanic abilities and become certified technicians. [The institute is] great, very challenging, fascinating and fun. You’re also involved with Oaks & Spokes, Raleigh’s bike advocacy nonprofit. You do some community focused work through the...

Call for Applications — ForEveryoneHome: City Solutions for Housing Equity

Author: Matt Weber, State and Local Policy Senior Specialist, Grounded Solutions Network   Grounded Solutions Network—a national nonprofit organization that cultivates equitable and inclusive communities through innovative affordable housing solutions—is seeking applications for a new affordable housing initiative. Applications are due by February 28, 2019. “ForEveryoneHome: City Solutions for Housing Equity” is an 18-month program that will help a select group of cities chart a path to inclusive growth through lasting affordability. This initiative targets mixed-market cities where changing conditions threaten to displace low-income communities of color. Our goal is to “get ahead of the curve” in these communities, catalyzing action to protect affordability and diversity in changing neighborhoods before displacement pressures become too great. Thanks to substantial underwriting from the Ford Foundation, ForEveryoneHome provides a 2-to-1 match of local funds committed to this effort. This is a real opportunity for communities to stretch their limited policy-making dollars for maximum impact.   For more details on the initiative and application instructions, please see the ForEveryoneHome webpage. Further questions should be directed to Matt Weber, State and Local Policy Senior Specialist, mweber@groundedsolutions.org.  ...

Great Places Welcomes New Co-Chair

Author: Kelly Bennett, Co-chair Jessica Rossi, a planner with Kimley-Horn in Charlotte, is joining the APA-NC Great Places initiative as co-chair with Kelly Bennett, a project planner for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Planning Department. Before joining the Great Places team, Rossi previously supported APA-NC as a vice chair of the communications committee and a leader of the YPG group for the Charlotte region. She replaces Tiffany White, a project planner for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Planning Department, who served as Great Places Co-Chair for the last two...
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