Molly De Marco's blog

Embracing Change in Chapel Hill-Carrboro

{Cross posted from the Chapel Hill News}

 

A picture of a stop sign graffitied to read “STOP PROGRESS” appeared on Twitter last week. The person who Tweeted it captioned it simply: “Chapel Hill politics in a nutshell.”

A few days later, a community leader expressed to one of us their disappointment in how our community is perceived. “People used to look to us as a leader in innovative policies, a place where cool things were happening. That doesn’t happen anymore.”

How we got to this point is no mystery. Past local elected officials enacted policies that made it difficult to open new businesses and build new kinds of housing. As a result, most development of the past few decades has been low-density, single-family homes on dead-end streets.

Dream Up Downtown Walks coming

A collaboration between the UNC Chapel Hill Department of City & Regional Planning (grad student Mia Candy, for her masters' degree project) and the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership will bring us four new downtown walks in the spirit of the Jane's Walks honoring the late urbanist Jane Jacobs.

These four walks will traverse downtown Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Here are the dates and walk leaders:

Thursday March 24th, 6.30pm - 8.00pm: Our Public Spaces (Molly De Marco & Travis Crayton)

Wednesday March 30th, 6.30pm - 8:00pm: Hidden in Plain Sight (Seth LaJeunesse & Travis Crayton)

Thursday March 31st, 6.30pm - 8:00pm: Our Public Spaces (Patrick McDonough & Molly De Marco)

Monday April 4th, 6.30pm - 8:00pm: Hidden in Plain Sight (Mia Candy, Meg McGurk)

People are encouraged to join in, sharing their ideas and knowledge, during these walking conversations.

Advancing Racial Equity: The Role of Government Workshop Summary

On March 4, 2016, the Center for Social Inclusion and its Government Alliance on Race & Equity held a workshop called Advancing Racial Equity: The Role of Government.

This workshop was held at the Chapel Hill Public Library and brought together elected officials from Hillsborough, Carrboro, Durham, and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education, as well as town staff from Hillsborough and Carrboro, the Chapel Hill Police Department and the Charlotte Police Department as well as community members who work with the Racial Equity Institute, the Organizing Against Racism Alliance, and Chapel Hill's Justice In Action board.

The purpose of this workshop was to start to build a common language and set of organization ideas around how elected officials and municipal staff can work toward addressing racial inequities in our community.

District 1 and At-Large Candidates Answer Democrats' Questions at Forum

It's the season for candidate forums. Yesterday, the Orange County Democratic Party and the Orange County Democratic Women held their forum for District 1 and at-large Candidates for the Orange County Board of Commissioners. The event was held at the Lake Hogan Farms club house. We live-tweeted the forum.

What Are Your Hopes For Our Community?

[Cross-posted from the Chapel Hill News]

We’re fortunate to live in a community with many resources and services. That’s a large part of what makes southern Orange County so appealing to newcomers, and so hard for natives and Carolina graduates to leave.

But our community isn’t perfect. We don’t have it all. The way we live is changing, and so our community and the things we want to see in it have to change, too. How we currently live and how people will live in 50 years are sure to be different. It’s important that we keep this evolution in mind in making decisions now that shape our community later.

We should start today to identify what’s missing in our community. For example, community conversations have already identified a desire for things like an arts district, more robust public transit options, more green space, housing options that are affordable for everyone, retail choices that don’t require driving to Durham, and commercial space to support microenterprises and makers.

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