The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC’s) 49th Annual Conference and Exhibition was held in Raleigh, North Carolina from June 7 – 10. This conference featured keynote speakers such as Secretary Foxx, with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Dr. James H. Johnson, Jr., Director of Urban Investment Strategies Center, and the Honorable Therese McMillan, Acting Administrator for the Federal Transit Administration.Secretary Foxx discussed the status of the re-authorization of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), the nation’s current surface transportation law, Dr. Johnson discussed keeping economies effective and focused on changing demographics in the U.S. and what that will mean for regions across the country and the Honorable McMillan focused on exploring the links between transportation, aging and healthcare and how regions can help improve both mobility and healthcare outcomes for their citizens. Other topic areas at the conference were street design guides, aging and dementia, economic development, green infrastructure, public safety, transforming Research Triangle Park, leadership training, evolving mobility in the technology age, water resource issues, broadband for local governments and several others.
A trip to Durham, North Carolina was taken by participants of the conference to view the American Tobacco Campus. This gave a firsthand view of this historic preservation and renovation project. The American Tobacco Company was formed in 1890 and subsequently became the biggest tobacco company in the world. In 2001, Capitol Broadcasting bought the one million square foot complex and began a very large renovation and historic preservation project. Today, it is a National Historic Landmark and a popular destination as part of Durham’s entertainment district.
Participants of this conference had the opportunity to interact with keynote speakers and panelists and ask questions and provide comments. The conference dealt with a variety of issues facing communities today and provided a forum for different ideas to be intermingled.