Neighborhoods

CAMPAIGN MANAGER

Walking Tour of the Northside Neighborhood

Planning Tomorrow's Urban Neighborhoods Today

Last week, you might have read a Gizmodo article about how millennials will live in cities unlike anything we've ever seen before. If you haven't read it yet, I highly encourage you to, because, unlike so many articles in the media today, this one does an excellent job of capturing the nuances of why we are seeing certain behavioral patterns among millennials when it comes to where we live.

The critical takeaway from this article is one that has major implications for us in Chapel Hill/Carrboro: Millennials are choosing to live in urban neighborhoods, but not necessarily in urban downtowns.

This behavioral pattern shows that what millennials value is not the big city life itself, but having easy access to amenities like walkability and public transit. For suburbs around the country, this means attracting the next generation of Americans requires urbanizing to provide these kind of amenities.

2016 County Bond Should Include Affordable Housing

Local governments across the state and country are struggling to meet basic needs in this era of tax breaks for the wealthy and austerity for the rest of us.

Here in Orange County, we have a variety of pressing needs from overdue school maintenance to the burgeoning senior population to general poverty and housing affordability. In response, the County Commissioners decided to put a bond referendum on the ballot in 2016.

In the discussions leading up to that decision, the needs of the school systems were justifiably a consensus priority since it would be foolish to forego needed maintenance on the school systems’ infrastructure. Yet, while most of the commissioners had also expressed support for other issues - most prominently affordable housing – they surprisingly voted with little public input to dedicate the bond solely to schools.

The issue of affordable housing is receiving more attention than at any time in recent history. We have a huge identified need. We have affordable housing providers who have a proven track record of delivering successful projects. The major missing ingredient is funds.

Affordable Housing: Policy Tools & Best Practices

In its ongoing series on affordable housing, the Town of Chapel Hill hosted Michelle Winters, senior visiting fellow at the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Housing last Tuesday to talk about the policy tools and best practices for affordable and workforce housing.

Winters began her presentation discussing housing trends nationwide and specifically talked about the recent surge in renter households that is expected to continue into the future. The most important takeaway: Half of all renter households are at least moderately cost burdened, meaning they spend at least 30% of their income on rent. This statistic highlights why housing professionals have broadened their discussion of what affordable means in recent years to include a range, all the way from homelessness to just below market rate. As the town’s executive director for housing and community development, Loryn Clark, put it: housing needs to be affordable for everybody.

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