Iceland

Submitted by: Roger Bardsley, AICP By now, those of you who read the APA_NC blog section may say this looks like another of Roger’s travelblogs, and that would be correct.  We can learn a lot about what works and what does not work by looking at other communities and countries.  They conduct the experiments and we can benefit from their experiences.  So, this blog is about Iceland. By now, you have probably been to Iceland or know someone who has been there.  Icelandair offers a free stopover of up to seven days on your way to wherever Icelandair flies.  That is a nice offer, but the Icelandair fares are also much cheaper than most other carriers, so the offer is particularly attractive right now.  We were headed to Zurich for a wedding in Switzerland and used Icelandair primarily because they were less expensive, but decided to spend six days there because the opportunity presented itself.  I learned so much in six days that I have had trouble processing it all, but here are the highlights: Be careful what you wish for: Iceland was nearly bankrupt in 2009, primarily because of some risky investments.  They decided to use tourism to bring the economy back, and it has worked extremely well.  Tourism has increased 20% year-over-year for several years and has the Icelanders wondering when it will stop.  The attached picture shows a double-size addition to a hotel at the Keflavik airport.  That is typical – hotels throughout the country are adding rooms.  We stayed in the small town of Höfn on the south coast and ate in a great seafood restaurant. ...

Planners Discuss the Key To Attracting Millenials

What can communities do to help businesses attract the talent they need to succeed in a global economy? That’s the question that a group of planners sat down to discuss in Asheville, NC last week. The program at the Land of Sky Council of Governments was sparked by a 2014 poll conducted by Harris Interactive for APA of Millennials (ages 21 – 34), Gen Xers (ages 35 – 49), and Active Boomers (50 – 65) in North Carolina to find out their economic perceptions and community preferences. The survey found that nearly 70% of North Carolina millennials believe they are likely to move to another part of the state within the next five years. What would it take for them to either stay, or choose a particular city to live? According to the survey, safe streets, clean air and water, high-speed Internet, and infrastructure that supports a healthy lifestyle were all key factors in the decision. Interestingly, Active Boomers and Gen Xers also valued these community attributes. In Asheville, the issue of the “walkability” was one that came up repeatedly. A major component for many people’s choice on where to live, the ability to walk to restaurants and towns can be a benefit to be advertised, or a challenge that must be overcome. While some work has been done in the mountain region to increase accessibility, a lack of sidewalks continues to be a common complaint. To learn more about the discussion, check out the article on Asheville...