Designing Better Places

Why do many towns and cities seem to have split personalities? The older areas, built before World War II, feel inviting. It’s possible to walk safely, the buildings are interesting to look at, and there are places where you’d like to sit and visit. In contrast, the majority of places built in the past 60 years feel totally different. Newer commercial areas are often accessible only by vehicle, and when you’re not inside a building, lingering doesn’t seem appealing.

Thanks to funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the North Carolina Division of Community Assistance has produced three presentations on design issues that strive to answer why this is, how it happened, and what can be done to create more successful and inviting places that people and cars can share. First released on a CD, in 2005 it received the Award for Excellence from the Small Town & Rural Planning Division of the American Planning Association.

In 2013, additional funding was received to update the introductory presentation, Designing Better Places, and make it into a video. The other two presentations on the original CD are also available on this website and have been updated. They can be found by going to the link on the left. In addition, one other presentation on urban design is also available at this link.

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