Placebook: Road Runner Urbanism

road runner

Areas that sprawl, but have several centers of culture, vibrant human-scaled places, and housing that’s cheap, but on the periphery of town create what I like to call a Road-Runner Urbanism. Essentially, to recreate what some people get in a few city blocks, those of us in sprawling cities must jump in our cars and speed from place to place, especially if it’s two or three happy hours or community meetings and they are all starting at different times, but on different sides of town. Everyone, even those in bigger cities, can relate to the shuffle of getting to work, picking up kids or dry cleaning or both and then trying to make a meeting. Many times, it doesn’t happen and I didn’t get to all the places I planed to go to last night. Sometimes that makes me feel like I was inches from being crushed by the Coyote’s anvil. It also illustrates why density, better transit headways and a lot of other people-scaled and paced things need to happen to make our communities stronger. Fortunately, I can at least bring together some news from across the state, all in one place, and possibly in the palm of your hand or on your screen:

Downtown Greensboro’s Green Bean Coffeehouse is becoming a chain, opening their second location at Greensboro’s Golden Gate Shopping Center. In addition, the shopping center is under new management and will be renovated.

The City of Greensboro may strengthen its panhandling restrictions.

Apparently 1 million dollars can buy you about 8,000 square feet of a home in Raleigh and 10,000 square feet in Charlotte.

Speaking of square feet, I along with others learned just how much room is in this old Sears Distribution Center in Greensboro yesterday. Also, anyone who’s interested should come to the design workshops at the Lewis Recreation Center at either 9:30 or 4 p.m. They are only a couple hours long and we’ll be discussing residential and transportation changes along Lawndale Drive. On Saturday morning, at 9:30 all the ideas from yesterday and today’s session will be presented. (Yes this is a work thing for me too. However, it’s something I’m excited to see discussed and happen for the city). Also, please report any potholes, as well as malfunctioning street lamps, broken street signs and flooded storm water drains here.

The Union County Commissioners and School Boards are arguing over what parts of school system operations belong to either group.

Aldi will open a new store in Weaverville.

A lawyer for the General Assembly  states that charter schools should be disclosing employee pay and other activities that they have been hiding, due to being funded by the state.

Appalachian State University has named its first female chancellor.

People requesting an absentee ballot will now have to fill out a special form and return it to their county board of elections.

Winston-Salem police is increasing the use of body cameras.

Rockingham County will be reorganizing how and who does official economic development.

Forsyth County has sold its old courthouse to a developer who will convert it to apartments and bought the Reynolda Manor Branch library building.

Developers are itching to add more apartments to Raleigh’s Hillsborough Street. Developers will be building apartments along Wilmington’s Port City Marina.

Why North Carolina and the nation need small banks.

Wrightsville Beach has changed its parking fees.

The Wilmington Housing Authority is facing a budget shortfall.

Wilmington’s in Garden and Gun’s Greatest Southern Town Bracket.

New Hanover County is expecting to need more elementary schools soon.

Fayetteville leaders have suggested the downtown parking deck as a permanent site for the city farmers market.

Customers of the Fayetteville Public Works Commission, the city owned utility, will have higher rates this year.

An advisory board wants Durham city leaders to change the focus of the federally granted rails-to-trails money to different trails.

Durham mayor Bill Bell has called for his new anti-poverty initiative to be focused on the North-East Central Durham area, where half the households make under the federal poverty threshold for a household of four.

And finally, how the Huffington Post thinks Charlotte is weird.


About Kristen Jeffers

I'm Kristen. Almost five years ago, I got tired of not seeing black women as nerded out about trains, better streets, riding bikes, walking not just out of necessity, tall buildings, old buildings and honestly a lot of other things. I was in grad school for community and economic development (ok, it’s actually an MPA), and I wanted to make sure people knew I existed and that I could help them do this thing called placemaking better. Five years later, I’m still doing that, although not from my hometown of Greensboro, NC, but from Kansas City, MO. I spend most of my time in Kansas City promoting better biking and walking infrastructure metro-wide with BikeWalk KC and the Kansas City B-cycle. But I also wrote a book A Black Urbanist (you can grab that over on the right) and sometimes I give speeches and help other communities tell their stories at design charrettes and public meetings. I’ve also written or appeared in all of the major “urbanist” publications, either as a subject or as a writer, as well as most of my hometown papers as subject or writer as well.