Over this past year, the subprime mortgage debacle has certainly forced housing affordability to the center of national attention. While extensive press coverage, probing Congressional inquiries, and massive writedowns by financial institutions mired in the credit crunch have served to highlight one aspect of affordable housing— homeownership—other important housing issues have been quietly emerging under the radar. This edition of Carolina Planning attempts to shed light on these very issues that are affecting communities large and small across the state, region, and nation as a whole.
Editors: Wendy Baucom and Barbara Elwood Schalmo
A digital version of this issue is available here.
|THE HERITAGE OF A LIFE: ROBERT STIPE, 1928-2007
Heath, Milton; Howard, Myrick; Lu, Weiming; Stipe, Josie; Stipe, Fred; with the Carolina Planning Editors
The Carolina Planning Journal, the UNC Department of City and Regional Planning, and the broader planning community join preservationists from Chapel Hill, this state, and indeed around the country in remembering the remarkable life and far-reaching career of Robert Stipe, who died this past September. Stipe was certainly a pioneer in the field of conservation and historic preservation. From his base in Chapel Hill, he worked to legitimize the field and establish procedures and standards for preservation at the local, state, and federal levels. His edited volumes are used as university textbooks, while the ordinances and statutes he authored have enabled towns to preserve their past through historic district zoning.
However, Stipe’s professional legacy is impossible to disentangle from the personal one, for he left an impact on the field not just through his writings, but also through his relationships of collaboration and mentoring. Four reflections here testify to Stipe’s commitment to preservation and to people. Myrick Howard provides an overview of Robert Stipe’s career and influence over more than one generation of students who went on to positions of leadership in land use, design, and preservation law. Weiming Lu writes in a more personal vein, as a fellow master’s student with Stipe in Regional Planning at UNC in the 1950s. Milton Heath describes the variety of ways that these friends and colleagues collaborated over the years. Finally, conversations with Stipe’s wife Josie and his son Fred provided the basis for an explanation of his motivations for dedicating his energies to historic preservation long before it was fashionable. The thread running through each piece is the radical idea, born in Robert Stipe as a young man and carried throughout an unexpectedly long life, to use the law to protect and enhance the landscape and design of cities and towns.
|CELEBRATING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CENTER FOR URBAN AND REGIONAL STUDIES
In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Center for Urban and Regional studies, Anne Patrone wrote a detailed history focusing on the legacy of the Center, its work, and its people. The following is an abbreviated version of this retrospective.
|EXPLORING MYTHS ABOUT MANUFACTURED HOUSING: THE TRUTH(S) BEHIND ONE OF AMERICA’S LEAST UNDERSTOOD FINANCIAL MARKETS
With the subprime mortgage crisis and the associated fall in housing values, it is more important than ever for affordable housing advocates to understand and educate the public about available low-cost housing options. Adam Rust argues that manufactured housing may be an avenue to wealth building even in this climate, but only if the truths are separated from the more familiar half-truths surrounding this housing choice. Data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act provides a snapshot of manufactured housing’s potential and pitfalls in different regions of the country under various financing scenarios.
|INCLUSIONARY HOUSING INITIATIVES IN NORTH CAROLINA: A CASE STUDIES APPROACH
Arkin, Dyan; Bardsley, Roger; Boswell, Denise; Heard, Joe; Lentz, Rodger; Reid, Cindy; Trebisacci, Erin; Waldon, Roger
While no statewide policies mandate that municipalities must develop housing at every income level, some cities and towns in North Carolina are determined to do so. They employ a number of different strategies and planning tools to see that a fair proportion of new housing stock is affordable to low and middle income households. A group of planners collaborate here to showcase successful outcomes in four places: Chapel Hill, Davidson, Manteo and Greensboro.
|SHOULD NORTH CAROLINA CITIES AND COUNTIES BE REQUIRED TO HAVE A HOUSING ELEMENT?
One strategy to promote affordable housing is for the state legislature to mandate that local governments make provisions for more low-cost units. Many states have passed laws requiring towns and cities to inventory their housing stock and carry out plans to correct imbalances. Candace Stowell discusses the lack of such legislation in North Carolina as well as numerous examples of housing elements that have been implemented by other states.
|CRITIQUING THE CRITIQUE: ANALYZING A REPORT ON THE HOUSING CREDIT PROGRAM
The federal low-income housing tax credit (“LIHTC”) is the largest production resource for affordable rental housing. Advocacy groups have critiques of the program’s administration, but a recent study used to support their arguments contains multiple controversial elements. In evaluating this report, Mark Shelburne also discusses racial desegregation, concentrating poverty, preservation, community revitalization, and other related housing policy issues. This article concludes that those researching the LIHTC program should communicate with state administrators in order to avoid analytical flaws.
|OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE NORTH CAROLINA PLANNING CRISIS: WHY HOUSING AFFORDABILITY AND REGIONAL EQUITY ARE CRITICAL TO SUCCESS
For much of its modern history, North Carolina and its localities have resisted a planned approach to development for fear this would conflict with economic expansion fueling the state’s growth. However, with recent economic decline in certain parts of the state and population and employment growth in others, several major deficiencies, including a shortage of affordable housing, have become utterly apparent. These conditions serve only to further highlight the need for a more integrated approach to planning. In this article, Chris Estes exposes a history of planning shortcomings regarding sustainable development practices, affordable housing, and economic equity within this state. In response, he explores the concept of Regional Equity as an effective strategy for confronting North Carolina’s impending planning crisis and dire affordable housing needs.
|REIMAGINING THE LAND: ALTERNATIVE FUTURES FOR BROWNSCAPE REDEVELOPMENT
In Philadelphia, like many other industrial cities, the question of how to successfully redevelop contaminated land is one of the most crucial issues facing urban areas. Most strategies tend to favor the economic side of the redevelopment equation over ecological and social concerns. This excerpt from a research project investigates both these strategies by exploring possible scenarios for the redevelopment of brownfields corridors using an Alternative Futures methodology. Ford’s research, which was awarded joint honors for the Best Master’s Project of the year, was funded by the Dangermond Fellowship, a program administered by the Landscape Architecture Foundation with support from the American Society for Landscape Architects and ESRI to fund landscape architecture students incorporating GIS into yearlong reserch projects.
|NORTH CAROLINA’S AERO/SPACE ECONOMY: CURRENT PERFORMANCE AND FUTURE POTENTIAL…REVISITED
As North Carolina’s economy shifts from one based in agriculture and textile manufacturing to a new economy founded on technological advancement, Harris explores through his award-winning study the strength and potential of the aero/space industry within North Carolina’s borders. A joint recipient of DCRP’s distnction of Best Master’s Project of 2007, Harris’ report gives an indepth look at this industry as it stands in this state and carefully details the resources the aero/space field can draw upon for future growth and expansion. He also assesses the state’s performance and potential within this industry relative to three other similarly situated states around the country. Though only an exerpt of this extensive study is presented here, the report’s findings offer a comprehensive assessment of North Carolina’s current position and future potential in the aero/space industry.