For nearly two centuries, furniture, textile and tobacco manufacturing has been the life-blood of the 12-county Piedmont Triad region. However, over the past 20 years nearly half of our manufacturing jobs have been lost and most of our mills are closed. Still, our population is growing and demographics are changing, with 100 percent of predicted growth over the next 15 years coming from minority populations. This growth offers our region new and exciting opportunities. Increases in our housing stock will be needed. New employment opportunities will be created, and the skills and training necessary for these emerging jobs will be vastly different than 20 years ago.
In 2010 the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART) received a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development enabling the Piedmont Triad to undertake a three-year effort to develop a regional plan for greater prosperity in communities across our region. In partnership with the Piedmont Triad Regional Council (PTRC), this planning effort addresses a wide range of issues, including jobs, housing, transportation, climate adaptation, green infrastructure, demographic shifts, food systems, energy efficiency, and healthy communities. Throughout all of these issue areas, equity has been a lens through which we focused our research and recommendations.
Large amounts of data were collected, mapped and analyzed to provide a framework of factual information for the planning effort. Five primary focus areas were established for the regional plan: Jobs, Housing, Transportation, Healthy Communities, and Places and Spaces. The goals, objectives and strategies recommended in the plan cut across all five focus areas and are supported by multiple community engagement sessions, eight local design workshops, and numerous studies.
Expand housing choices for everyone — especially those whose choices have been limited by loss of employment, low wages, fixed incomes or discrimination.
In the future, the Piedmont Triad should have the infrastructure for multiple safe, efficient, and affordable modes of travel throughout our communities and across the region. Freight movement in the region will remain a driving economic force. To protect this asset, the region includes freight movement in the planning and prioritization of the regional transportation infrastructure. Providing more transportation options on a regional scale will help us maintain minimal congestion and create new advantages to provide an attractive lifestyle and a welcoming environment for businesses to thrive and create more job opportunities.
The Piedmont Triad has a wide range of economic assets, resources, and opportunities — urban and rural, large and small, wealthy and underserved. This plan acknowledges and shows appreciation for our region's past and inspires us to pursue the new technologies and thinking of the future. Developed in conjunction with the Piedmont Triad Regional Council's Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), this plan underscores the importance of equity among our citizens, sustainable growth, and building more resiliency in our local economies and communities. While there are many key challenges, this plan affirms our strong belief in the strength of collaboration and our willingness to work together for a better tomorrow.
Ensure the Piedmont Triad remains one of the premier locations for quality of life, recreation, active transportation and health. Through collaborative public and private partnerships, access and education for local, healthy food for all populations will grow. Strategies and actions will increase understanding of community health and emphasize construction and preservation of walkable and bikeable communities. Working together to develop regional policies that support local food distribution, recreation access, active transportation and tobacco free environments and leveraging regional partnerships to develop fiscal and organization resources will ensure communities, regardless of size, will have access to healthier choices and opportunities.
Places & Spaces
As our region grows, wise choices now help ensure future development maintains and enhances our quality of life, strengthens our economic well-being and conserves our natural and built environments. Careful stewardship of our land, air, water, cultural and energy resources enables us to be more resilient. Strategic investments in interconnected networks of natural, agricultural and recreational hubs and corridors provide the green infrastructure necessary for healthy ecosystems and wildlife habitats, and valuable recreation, tourism and agricultural opportunities. Focused investments to expand transportation, housing and energy production choices improve the connectivity and efficiency of our communities and provide a wide range of economic, social and environmental benefits to communities across our region.