Today was the kickoff of a program that a bunch of community leaders have been working on under the auspices of the Urban Land Institute.
Here’s the release about the event:
Midlands Reality Check Focuses on Growth and Progress for South Carolina’s Capital Region
Columbia, S.C. – Midlands members of Urban Land Institute South Carolina, together with area stakeholders, government officials and business/industry leaders, today announced the launch of Midlands Reality Check, an unprecedented, collaborative effort aimed at creating a strong, progressive and sustainable urban growth plan for the future of the Midlands.
“Creating a realistic and attainable regional vision for the Midlands is imperative if we want to remain competitive and be viewed as a desirable entrepreneurial hub, that is an ideal place to live, work, visit and play,” said Irene Dumas Tyson, co-chair of Midlands Reality Check and director of planning for The Boudreaux Group.
Demographers estimate the Midlands region will grow by approximately 450,000 individuals 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.
“The goal of Midlands Reality Check is to bring together a diverse group of Midlands business, government and community leaders to work together and identify how we can grow by choice – not by chance – over the next three decades,” said Herbert Ames, development manager with EDENS and co-chair of Midlands Reality Check with Dumas Tyson.
One unique aspect for Midlands Reality Check will be a participatory “Game Day” event mixing 300 individuals from across the region and engage them in open dialogue on where the highest concentrations of development and infrastructure should be within our community. Taking place Oct. 22 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, participants will use Lego playing pieces to represent increases in population, jobs and housing; and colored yarn for transportation corridors and to outline potential green spaces.
“It may sound like fun and games, but this innovative approach to urban development looks at a region in a tactful and creative way that will highlight areas across the Midlands that are prime growth opportunities,” said Dumas Tyson.
Funded by private sponsors, foundations, governments and community organizations, Midlands Reality Check will focus on laying the needed groundwork for a more cohesive approach to strategically and thoughtfully uncovering pockets of potential growth and expansion across the Midlands. The event will lay the groundwork for needed regional conversations and future action to accommodate growth in a way that adds value to our communities while simultaneously protecting and improving our quality of life.
The Urban Land Institute has held Reality Check events in some 15 locations around the country, including Greenville, Charleston, Richmond, Charlotte, the Research Triangle and Jacksonville, Fla.
“We are confident this initiative is the catalyst the Midlands needs to put some big things in motion. This process and event will be the blueprint for intentional, collaborative change in the way our region thinks and acts about growth for decades to come,” said Ames.
For more information about the Midlands Reality Check or how to get involved, please visit www.MidlandsRealityCheck.com.
About Midlands Reality Check:
Midlands Reality Check is a South Carolina initiative of The Urban Land Institute created by a regional collaboration of stakeholders and leaders within the business, government, economic development and tourism sectors. Focusing on urban growth and planned land use, Midlands Reality Check will lay the foundation for a unified vision to grow the Midlands. For more information about Midlands Reality Check, please visit www.MidlandsRealityCheck.com.
About the Urban Land Institute:
ULI, the Urban Land Institute, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit research and education organization supported by its members. Founded in 1936, ULI now has members worldwide, representing the entire spectrum of land use and real estate development disciplines working in private enterprise and public service. A multidisciplinary real estate forum, ULI facilitates an open exchange of ideas, information, and experience among industry leaders and policy makers dedicated to creating better places. ULI South Carolina was the first statewide district council formed and has since become a national model. For more information about ULI South Carolina, please visit southcarolina.uli.org.###
That pretty much covers it. I’m glad somebody wrote a release, because I was busy Tweeting during the event, and couldn’t take extensive notes. It’s not that I can’t pay attention; I was supposed to be Tweeting. By way of full disclosure, I’m on the committee that is publicizing the program, and I drew social media duty today. Which I like, I’ll admit.
There was an impressive crowd there today. Not huge (it was Famously Hot in the amphitheater along the riverfront in West Columbia), but a good assortment of the kind of people who need to pay attention were there — the mayors of Columbia, Lexington, Cayce and Blythewood, leading members of Richland and Lexington county councils, key business leaders. The folks who need to be paying attention to trends and anticipating them to the extent that it’s possible.
Here’s a link to thestate.com’s story on the event.