September 04 2012

Raleigh, North Carolina Urban Design Center Lunch Forum Series

Beneath the myriad accolades and honors awarded to the city of Raleigh, exists its innovative and exceptionally accessible Raleigh Urban Design Center. This past summer, pools of Raleigh’s most engaged denizens sacrificed their lunch breaks for a higher cause; the city form. On five separate occasions, the Urban Design Center hosted one-hour civic discussions on a variety of topics concerning Raleigh’s urban design. Topics covered were “Creating Urban Form Where There is None,” “Deja New: Historic Fabric in the Urban Context,” “Building a Walkable City,” “Creative Corridors in Winston-Salem: Where Transportation Innovation and Public Art Meet,” and “Housing in the 21st Century: Design, Financing, Strategic Partnerships, and Return on Investment.” The city’s leading architects, engineers, landscape architects, and urban planners were all in helpful attendance.

How illuminating the series was. Not one individual qualm was left uncared for. Very few concerns presented by the audience were not already of interest by the planning and design commissions. Development in the city that had long been interpreted as arbitrary by its residents was revealed to be carefully orchestrated planning by the Urban Design Center. The series delved comprehensively into the fundamental and essential elements of Raleigh and compared its progression to those of higher profile cities. Frequently compared were Toronto, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Asheville.

History of Raleigh

What the lunchtime forums ultimately accomplished, albeit many things, was not solely the informing of its population regarding Raleigh’s contemporary urban design issues. What was overall achieved was educating the citizenry as to why Raleigh’s contemporary urban design issues were important enough to be informed of. The forums, through covering the whole of the city and its urban organization, related even the most arcane ordinance in Raleigh to the well-being of any of its residents. Each lunch forum was endowed with greater attendance than the one previous to it. As autumn is slowly settling in, the citizens of Raleigh are no doubt looking forward to next summer.

How may a citizenry be further united with its planning legislation?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Evan Comen

Evan Comen is an undergraduate at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pursuing a B.S. in both Economics and Environmental Studies and a minor in Urban Studies and Planning. A philosophical outlook towards education led his career aspirations to the realm of urban planning, which he intends to foster through completion of a master’s program in the topic post-graduation. Through growing up in Raleigh, North Carolina, and attending school in Chapel Hill, Evan has had the fortune of experiencing the unparalleled smart growth of the properly dubbed “Research Triangle”; a region in the Piedmont of North Carolina notorious for its numerously expansive high-tech companies. His blogs principally speak for the area’s burgeoning success. He is also a devoted cinephile, reader, and cyclist.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 4th, 2012 at 1:28 pm and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, Engineering, Environment, Environmental Design, Government/Politics, Land Use, Social/Demographics, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


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