The last of today's live blogging from the forum on North Carolina: Good Growth State, in Raleigh, put on by the N.C. State Institute for Emerging Issues. Disclosure: Not really live now, the forum's ended for the day and I lost my Internet connection about 3 p.m. ....
The day's last two speakers were Rand Wentworth, president of the Land Trust Alliance, a national group providing services to the nation's 1,500 land trusts, and New Urbanist architect/planner Andres Duany.
- North Carolina leads the nation in loss of farmland and open space.
- North Carolina's strongest draw for tourism is "scenery."
- In the future, the best-paying jobs will go where the most talented people want to live.
- The belief that new growth brings in enough revenue to pay for itself is "fool's gold."
He talked a lot about how to retrofit the post-1980s suburbs. "What do we do with this mess?" he asked. "They're going to be the albatross around our neck. Also the great possibility."
His pitch No. 1: Fill in the expanses of space at the fading malls with housing, offices, schools, churches, post offices, etc., and create town centers. They're all located at key intersections already, and so easier to serve with good bus or even rail transit service. Local governments should just grant the density needed to them, and allow as-of-right development (well, with a few rules), he said.
- Another pitch: Add mixed use at the entrances to subdivisions. Buy about six houses and the big "entrance sign" areas to build some multistory, multi-use buildings.
- No. 3: "You have to think of parking garages as 'infrastructure,' " he said, responding to the topic of the day. "I don't see what's so hard about that."