This is just a quick word to ask y’all to come on out to The Zone this afternoon for the following:
Growing by choice, not by chance:
Envisioning our region’s future
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Midlands is expected to grow by roughly 450,000 people in the next 30 years. That is equivalent to putting slightly more than the population of the four-county Asheville, N.C., metropolitan area into the Midlands by 2040. Will we grow by choice or by chance?
Yesterday, over four hundred diverse leaders and volunteers from business, government, the military, education, environmental, civic and other sectors came together to create a new vision for the Midlands of South Carolina. A full release with images from Game Day can be found below.The results of yesterday’s Reality Check Game Day will be summarized and presented tomorrow, Oct. 24, when those who participated in Game Day and the general public are invited to the Reality Check Results Summit to hear an analysis of the Game Day exercise. Attendees at the Results Summit will have the opportunity to participate in live audience polling to rank the findings.
This is the wrapup session from the Reality Check exercise on Tuesday. And just to recap this, here are a few observations about that process. (If you want a real synthesis of what happened, come to the Summit. Since I was roaming around from table to table Tweeting — which is what I was asked to do — my impressions are necessarily somewhat fragmentary.):
- I sort of marveled that complex, three-dimensional input from so many tables could be synthesized in time to have the Results Summit so quickly. I was told that when Charlotte did this, they had the exercise, went to lunch, and got results right after that. So this is a more deliberate process by comparison. The key appears to be the coordinators at each table, taking notes on the discussions in real time, on laptops.
- I was interested to see the wildly different patterns of the Legos representing residential and commercial development at the different tables. For instance, this group really went vertical, stacking up residential development in the downtown area. Another spread residences more broadly across the Midlands. I noticed that the table where Ryan Nevius of Sustainable Midlands was participating, there were more green spaces marked off with green yarn.
- After the exercise, we heard a keynote speech from MItch Silver, chief planning and development officer of Raleigh. He provided a lot of food for thought going forward. He spoke of the need to prepare for the “Silver Tsunami” (in Japan, more diapers are now sold for adults than for babies), the fact that fewer young people are marrying will mean a lower demand for single-family dwellings, and a high-rise office building is way, way more valuable to a community, in terms of good jobs and tax base and intelligent land use, than a Walmart. That last is probably obvious, but he flashed up a slide that broke it down statistically, and it was pretty impressive — although I failed to get a picture of it before it moved on. Sorry.
- What, doubters may ask, is the value of such an exercise, if nothing about the plans made at the tables is binding on participants? Also, some participants said to me, how would we pay for all these grand plans were they to be implemented? Frankly, I think the value is the process itself — people from many backgrounds in business, government and nonprofits, getting together and having a discussion about how to guide growth going forward. A lot of these people would never have such discussions about overall regional goals. Also, there’s a ULI committee that will remind participants of their discussions going forward.
Anyway, come on out and hear the results later today. Here are some pictures from Tuesday…