Why Stories Matter: performance and discussion about development and gentrification

Receuved via e-mail:

"Why Stories Matter: An evening of performance and discussion about development and gentrification in Chapel Hill-Carrboro."
> Tuesday, Nov 11
> 8:00 PM
> Bingham 103

Join us as we watch sections of a promotional DVD put together by Greenbridge developers during their plans to build ten story building adjacent to Northside.  We will watch the film in sections, with group discussion and performances by Spoken Word artists and others in between.

-Come out and learn how Chapel Hill and the University are caught up in the globalizing force of development, and the discourse that produces certain understandings of progress and progressive.

-Come out and see the amazing power of performance as an intervention in oppressive discourses and practices.

-Come out and help us think about how the stories we tell about ourselves and others have material and real impacts on humans and communities, how contested definitions of sustainability and community come out of different histories.

Greenbridge is a $50 million mixed-use project going up on the Graham, Rosemary and Merritt Mill Road block of Chapel Hill, bordering the Northside neighborhood, one of the few historically African-American communities in Chapel Hill.  The building will be 10 stories high, more than three times as tall as any surrounding building.  As the group started working on their application for a Special Use Permit from the Town Council for their project, they produced a "documentary" of the history of the community, weaving stories of elderly residents in the area and their vision of "sustainability" in the LEED certified building.

Northside, one of Chapel Hill's most historic neighborhoods, has been a community of  African American families for more than a hundred years. It was an active site of Civil Rights activism, a pioneer in public education for African-Americans in the South, and a place known for vital church communities.  In the 90s there was a community push to clean up the neighborhood, which also made it more lucrative for development.  Now student renters and bigger developments like Greenbridge threaten to price out people on fixed income, long-term residents and keep out families from moving to the area.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008 - 2:00pm


103 Bingham Hall, UNC

Greenbridge video screening & discussion

From the Internationalist announcement list:

LET'S DISCUSS (yell/laugh/cry/protest about) GREENBRIDGE. A Greenbridge video screening
Sunday, April 13 @3pm

Greenbridge recently produced a documentary on their future vision of the of Rosemary and Graham street corner. At first glance, the Greenbridge development embodies progress for Chapel Hill. The building will utilize some of the newest green technologies available ie. solar, wind, and geothermal to provide energy for the building and thereby lessen its carbon footprint. But in our haste to combat the forces of Global Warming, we may have overlooked some details, such as marginalizing the surrounding Northside community.

Come out and join us as we watch the video and enter in open discussion about what community means to us (taking into account race, class and ideological differences.)


Sunday, April 13, 2008 - 11:00am


Internationalist Books, 405 W Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

An ethical problem or just bad judgement?

The Daily Tar Heel's recent article about unearthing public records strikes a contrast to the News & Observer's relatively casual handling of a potentially very serious issue regarding Chapel Hill Town Council Member Bill Thorpe. On Saturday, the N&O reported that William Thorpe Jr. approached a local developer offering his services as a "public relations consultant" on their project which was pending approval by the Town Council.

Development looms large these days

Tonight the Chapel Hill Town Council will hold public hearings on Greenbridge and University Village, will review some concept plans which I know nothing about, and then will hear a petition from the Planning Board about the process for updating the Comprehensive Plan... about which I have something to say. (Here's tonight's Council agenda.)Greenbridge is the radical plan for what I think would be the tallest building in Orange County - though I doubt that height record will stand for long. We have discussed this proposal here on OP. There are many complex issues involved, but I think most people's opinions on it comes down to two things:1. Whether you are invested in a transit-friendly future Chapel Hill that allows for some growth but no sprawl, and2.

Fear of heights

It's disappointing to see the Chapel Hill News this week stoking our fears of skyscrapers instead of adding some new ideas or perspectives to the critical dialog about the nature of growth downtown.I am so tired about hearing people simply exclaim over the number of stories a building has without discussing its design, infrastructure, relationship to other buildings to the street and to the sidewalk, impact on transportation, or public service features. It's not that height doesn't matter, but it's meaningless in isolation. You can have an ugly 3-story building or a beautiful 10-story building. We need to move past this one-dimensional focus on height into a more sophisticated vision for the future of Chapel Hill. I am hoping that the upcoming revision of Chapel Hill's Comprehensive Plan will be one venue for this discussion.



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