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Market Plaza Raleigh

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Leslie Bartlebaugh, ASLA with Raleigh’s Urban Design Center talks about what makes a great public space. Raleigh’s Downtown Plan calls for more green space and has five geographic project areas that provide opportunities for more cool spaces like the recently redesigned Market + Exchange Plazas.

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On November 16th, the Raleigh City Council unanimously adopted the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) zoning map. The approval means that approximately 30% of the City has been rezoned - and represents years of work by a number of dedicated people. The process included public meetings, extensive review by the Planning Commission, two public hearings, and a number of City Council work sessions to address concerns that were raised during the adoption process.

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If you haven’t already heard Ken Bowers’ recent announcement, allow me to fill you in! We are excited to have two new assistant directors in the Department of City Planning. Part of a new organizational plan that was developed this past summer, the new positions will each serve unique roles within the department.

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The North Carolina Planning Conference kicked off yesterday in Raleigh. We are excited to be the host city, and have staff from our Department of City Planning helping out with sessions, tours and activities.

If you follow us on social media, you may have noticed several tweets regarding one of the downtown walking tours. I was fortunate to have joined the tour as it was a picture-perfect day in Raleigh. The tour, which focused on policy and development, started at the Raleigh Convention Center and circled around several city blocks. As we walked, the Urban Design Center staff inspired and empowered planners from around the state by providing some fresh ideas for their own communities.

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Thankfully, Hurricane Joaquin was just a reminder that we are susceptible to such storms. I grew up on Florida’s east coast, then moved to eastern N.C. in the mid-nineties, just in time for Hurricanes Bertha and Fran. I’d later witness the full fury of Floyd’s floodwaters, and the chaos brought by storms like Isabel and last year’s “snowpocalypse.” One thing I've learned is that it is best to be prepared. Not only for the weather event, but the aftermath.

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Downtown Raleigh is the heart and soul of our city, and the region. It has changed significantly over the last ten years. It is no longer a sleepy place. It is vibrant, diverse, and energetic. Tens of thousands of people live, work, and play here. And lots of development is underway or planned.

Looking to improve and enhance the downtown Raleigh experience, the city partnered with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, Sasaki Associates, HR&A Advisors, Kimley-Horn and Associates, and Jacobs Engineering Group to create a new vision for growth and development over the next decade. Last week, following more than a year of public meetings, workshops, and online interactions, Raleigh’s City Council unanimously adopted the Downtown Plan.

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