Summary of the Sustainable Communities Series Workshop: “Designing for Vibrant Communities” – June 6, 2019

Looking forward, how can we use the design of our communities and the characteristics of new development and redevelopment projects, to help address our community objectives?  Land use is an important determinant of so many of the values we hold:  equity, inclusiveness, mobility, environmental preservation, and affordable housing.  What we heard on the evening of June 6:  If we are purposeful about promoting mixed-use development patterns, about the locations where higher densities can help promote community objectives, AND at the same time pay attention to critical aspects of design, we can achieve development patterns that fit with our community character, are acceptable, and enhance our vibrancy. 

Continue reading the summary below

Prioritizing Diverse & Affordable Housing Workshop Summary

On Friday, May 17th, NEXT held the second of three workshops in the Sustainable Community Series, Prioritizing Diverse & Affordable Housing, at the CURRENT ArtSpace and Studio in Carolina Square. We started with Sue Hunter talking about NEXT’s values of addressing climate change and advancing equity. She explained that our goal is to look at where we have been and where we are going, with a focus on the relationship between affordable housing, climate justice, and equity. We have an affordable housing crisis in our community. Area Median Income (AMI) is $75,900 in Chapel Hill for a household of 4. A household making 80% AMI is qualified for most income-based housing. Only 57% of our community make 80% AMI while 43% make less than 80% AMI. At 50% AMI a person is eligible for a Housing Choice Voucher (suggesting we have a high need for help with affordable housing in our community). A whole 20% of our community makes less than 30% AMI, allowing them less than $600 per month to spend on housing and utilities.

Continue reading the summary below

NEXT is launching our Spring education series on how we can impact climate change and equity by addressing local issues.

Join us at Carolina Square’s new CURRENT Studio (123 W. Franklin Street in Chapel Hill) for one or more of these free community conversations. Everyone is welcome!

Scroll to the bottom of this page for tips on commuting to Carolina Square.

Spring 2019 Sustainable Communities Series:

Please RSVP for each event you plan to attend. Scroll below for additional details.

Prioritizing Diverse & Affordable Housing

Friday, May 17, 2019 from 6 pm – 8 pm


Diverse and affordable housing is an important part of a sustainable community. Join NEXT Chapel Hill-Carrboro in Carolina Square’s new CURRENT Studio to learn about the wide range of options we have for creating affordable housing, from low-income tax credits to tiny home initiatives, and which currently exist in Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Participants will engage in an interactive simulation to better understand which types of affordable housing options fit the needs of various community members. Refreshments will be served. Make plans to join us!


* Delores Bailey, Empowerment, Inc

* Corey Root, Orange County Homeless Services Coordinator/ Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness

*Cain Twyman, Carrboro Affordable Housing Advisory Commission and Orange County Affordable Housing Advisory Board

* Melissa McCullough, Sierra Club

* Matthew Norchi, UNC Law School and Department of City and Regional Planning

Designing for Vibrant Communities

Thursday, June 6, 2019 from 6 pm – 8 pm


Being intentional about how we build our communities can have positive impacts on building equity and acting on climate change. On March 21, NEXT Chapel Hill-Carrboro sponsored a Downtown Walking Tour in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, part of a dialogue about the successes and opportunities to develop dense, walkable/bikeable, affordable downtowns in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

Join us on June 6 to continue that discussion: reviewing current and recent local initiatives; and discussing how plans for more dense development can be designed to align with community character.

This will be a workshop format, taking place in Carolina Square’s new CURRENT Studio (123 W. Franklin Street). Three presentations will be offered, followed by a moderated question and discussion period, followed by more detailed discussion in breakout groups.

Three presentations will be offered to kick-off discussion:

  • Summary of approaches to design and density currently in practice in communities across the Triangle.
  • Description of innovative approaches to incorporate affordable housing options into new development projects.
  • Exploration of ways that projects of higher densities can be designed to align with and enhance community character.


  • Josh Gurlitz, Chapel Hill Architect, talking about options for design of new development, including higher density, that aligns with community character.
  • Trish McGuire, Carrboro Planning Director, to present the current status of planning initiatives in Carrboro. 
  • Dan Jewell, Landscape Architect, to discuss density and design themes actively being pursued in the Triangle area, and how those themes can be applied to projects currently being planned for Chapel Hill and Carrboro. 

Join this important finale to our Sustainable Communities Series on June 6!


  • The Current Studio is easily accessible by foot, bike and public transportation: Chapel Hill Transit, GoTriangle and Orange Public Transportation, and Chapel Hill Transit.
  • Many bus lines have stops within a block of Carolina Square: On Chapel Hill Transit (NS, T, CW, J, F, CM, A, G), GoTriangle (400, 405), OPT (420)
  • At Carolina Square, there are both in-door/covered and exterior bike racks. There are also electric charging stations for electric vehicles at the entrance of the parking deck.

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