Triangle Reality Check

Reality Check on Growth

The greater Triangle region’s population is projected to grow by 1.2 million people over the next 25 years.  This reality prompted 300 civic leaders (including WakeUP) from the Triangle area to  participate in a growth planning exercise in February 2009 to create a vision for how our region might grow.  This Triangle Reality Check exercise and subsequent Results Summit were a collaborative effort of the Urban Land Institute of the Triangle and Triangle Tomorrow.  Participants of Reality Check went through a planning exercise to visualize where future population and job growth would go in the multi-county region.

Reality Check participants reached consensus on three guiding principles that should be used to plan for quality, sustainable growth in the Triangle region:

Transit – improve regional transit and match land use decisions with transit investments

Vibrant Centers – reinvest in city and town centers, and promote compact development, density, and mixed use

Green Space – define appropriate growth and preservation areas to protect open space, agricultural land, and natural resources — especially water supply and quality

To ensure the collective vision and guiding principles help shape future growth, Triangle Tomorrow formed the Reality Check Action Committee to lead implementation. Task forces were formed around each guiding principle, and they immediately set to work identifying barriers, finding solutions, and gathering input and support for the vision.  A recent update on proposed action items was held in October 2012, and participants reaffirmed the guiding principles and made recommendations for action.

The Action Committee met with city and county governments and others, and many City Councils and County Commissioners endorsed the “Guiding Principles for Quality Growth.”  The Transit Task Force looked to the consensus on improved transit and for NC HB 148 and worked on advancing transit initiatives. The Vibrant Centers Task Force focused on promoting vibrant centers through public education about compact development, walkable communities, and mixed use development that balances jobs and housing. The Green Space Task Force convened representatives from the 15-county region to expand and update an open space oriented regional GreenPrint.

Our region has choices to make about traffic, air quality, housing affordability, open space, and other important growth-related issues. Our values will guide our choices, shaping the future of our region.

What do YOU value about the Triangle, and what choices would YOU make to ensure those values endure?