APA Names its 2016 Great Places in America and We’re One of Them!

We’re so pleased to announce that the national chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) has named the 2016 Great Places in America – and our own Davidson, North Carolina’s Main Street made the list of 2016 Great Streets! For nearly a decade, APA has recognized and honored streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces across America that have added immeasurable value to their communities. Each one of these great places features unique and authentic characteristics that have evolved from years of thoughtful and deliberate planning by residents, community leaders, and planners. Today, as we mark the beginning of National Community Planning Month, APA is proud to announce the 2016 Great Places in America. These 15 places — in communities large and small — celebrate stories of exemplary planning that have resulted in stronger, healthier, and more just communities. What Makes a Great Street? Every APA-designated Great Street is unique but well connected to its city’s or town’s overall street pattern. Great Streets promote activity and social contacts; stimulate the eye with outstanding design, landscaping, and architecture; and pursue sustainability by effectively managing runoff and heat. Most important, they accommodate a variety of often-competing street needs: driving, parking, walking, biking, transit, and more. Read more about Davidson’s Main Street and why it’s one of the 2016 Great...

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...