Friday, June 27, 2008

Is Cali-fornication headed our way?

As it happens, Bill Fulton, to whose article I linked yesterday, was in North Carolina last month at a policy wonk gathering in Greensboro, sponsored by the Institute for Emerging Issues at N.C. State, where the topic was dealing with strains on the state's infrastructure due to growth.

In a piece he wrote afterward about North Carolina, "Is More Growth Bad For The 'Good Growth' State?"
Fulton says, "The wonks are gingerly beginning to address the question of whether growth should be managed."

Fulton also spoke at the conference, as an out-of-state expert, saying North Carolina and other parts of the Southeast have the nation's most wasteful and costly patterns of development.

In his article, he writes, "As a Californian, I was struck by how similar the situation in North Carolina today is to what we in California experienced during the postwar boom."

The biggest problem in North Carolina now, he suggests, is the growing divide between urban North Carolina and rural North Carolina.

Fulton is publisher of the California Planning & Development Report, whose web site says it's the only independent publication in the nation covering planning and development issues in a single state.


Anonymous said...

Not much to say here. If only our 'down easter' would get realistic and and send more money back to the cities in stead of their own rural outposts, our infrastructure would have less of a problem catching up. There is money available to complete I-485 and the Yadkin River Bridge. It simply needs to be taken away from the numerous, but unnecessary, bypasses being built in many smaller towns.

Also, it is up to the cities of the state to allow zoning for more density in certain areas, as to put a curb on sprawl. Once certain counties and cities realize they're 'not country anymore', some of the 'country friendly' policies can be set aside. Perhaps this could help the rest of the state keep some of its 'country charm' by slowing down the city coming out to them.

Anonymous said...

Manage growth? Blasphemy! There are many in this economy addicted to growth. Growth creates economic disparities which allow some to gain economic position over others. These people work for the banks, building industry etc. They dominate the Chamber of Commerce. They will manage growth: We will grow until we choke on it.

The problem is infrastructure and additionally, but so unusual on the east coast, water.

We have enough now in some areas, but the request for basin transfers and the restrictions in Charlotte last year are but precursors of the future.

It will be interesting to watch. I wish I could look back in 100 years and see the results.

Lewis Guignard

Cato said...

Meanwhile, the three big metro areas along the I-85/I-40 corridor – Charlotte, the Piedmont Triad (Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point), and the Research Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill) – are growing faster than anyone could have imagined and sprawling so much they will soon blend together.

Not sure where he's getting his facts. Sure, Charlotte and the Triangle have enjoyed huge growth over the past 15 years, but the Triad? No. It's been hit pretty hard by the relocation of the textile and furniture industries. And, contrary to what he says, the three regions aren't anywhere near contiguous, and many of the towns between them (Lexington, Kernersville, Burlington, etc) have seen little to no growth.

As for the rural/urban divide, one reason that it's been so strong in NC is tobacco was one of the few crops that a small farmer could make a decent living growing. As a result, we've always had more farmers in the countryside than, say, Kansas, where oceans of wheat can be grown and harvested by relatively few people. As tobacco moves further into history, so will the divide.

And, welcome back. Hope you can still pronounce your "r"s.

Anonymous said...

I'm frustrated at some of the comments, and this 'out of towner' passing judgement on our area.
'Growth' is not a four-letter word, and is representative of our healthy, vibrant, and varied economy. Do you really think the more depressed areas of the country would pass up even half the 'growth' we're experiencing for the increased tax base of residential and commercial?
Further, in planning speak, far too ofter 'managing growth' means passing restrictive zoning laws that FORCE people into smaller homes and lots than they really want, while costing more as the developers have to set aside more and more area for the City's whims. It's basic math - if you have 10 acres, and the City forces you to set aside 5 as greenspace, then you have the SAME LAND COST, but can only develop 50% of it - this leads *magically* to higher land/lot prices. Not a perfect example, but it illustrates the point.
Whatever happened to developers being allowed multiple options and the _Market_ deciding what people want to buy?

Anonymous said...

California has an enormous economy to support itself. NC will never come close to achievng that. My guess is that NC will grow to a certain point, fold in somewhat, then level off.

Anonymous said...

By the way... the original English settlers spoke non-rhotic... they did not pronounce "r"s unless followed by a vowel.

Always promouncing "r"s, while widely accepted, is incorrect.

Anonymous said...


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NC_Native said...

Historians and linguists tend to feel that many of the original English settlers DID pronounce their R's. Not all parts of England are non-rhotic and the first settlers brought their local English dialects with them.

English of the 16th and 17th centuries didn't sound like the "upper class" RP English we think of as the Queen's English today.

Anonymous said...

Growth is good, but not uncontrolled growth.

Uncontrolled growth of tissue in the body is called by physcians "cancer." Some forms of uncontrolled urban development have similar effects on the social body.

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