Q #2 Your definition of Chapel Hill’s brand

2.  Money Magazine put Chapel Hill in the top ten best places to live in America. “Locals refer to Chapel Hill as a town within a park. The roads wind through tunnels of arching trees, and the area has a rain forest-like charm.” How would you promote your definition of Chapel Hill’s brand?

George Cianciola   Chapel Hill is a community of generous, compassionate and involved citizens who strive to provide the best quality of life possible for their families, their friends, their neighbors and those who come here, whether to visit or to stay. Its citizens have the pleasure of enjoying the vitality and cultural enrichment of a world-class university while living in a beautiful location and actively engaging the world around them, whether it is as business persons, community activists, philanthropists, or interested parties.

Ed Harrison  As someone who serves (and chairs) regional boards and sits on the statewide municipal committee dealing with planning and land use, I express my definition of Chapel Hill’s brand relatively frequently to a room full of people who don’t live here. This definition is far more than visual – in fact, not much of it is. The description give above doesn’t apply to every residential area in Chapel Hill; as a former municipal tree planner, I expect that the relative maturity of our neighborhoods accounts for the well-developed forest cover. My brand always includes “university town” – and that’s more than UNC, because in any given neighborhood there are people who are faculty, staff or students at other places. But the massive impact of UNC is always in the brand: the remarkably high number of Carolina blue buses, of remarkable cultural amenities and events.

The “university town” brand includes an approach to community that emphasizes hard and sophisticated thinking about solutions to problems, and vigorous public processes. Nothing about this excludes a “town within a park.” In fact, I actively include it. I would promote this brand by emphasizing town-gown understanding of complex issues – something goes both ways, by continuing the search for ways to optimize public participation in data-driven processes, and by emphasizing the policies that keep so much of the town looking “green.”

Loren Hintz  “Chapel Hill, a place to learn and enjoy.” We have a great university, schools, library and interactive community. We have greenways, parks and lots of trees. We have numerous restaurants and innovative businesses. We have a network of public transportation, sidewalks and bike routes. We have residents from all over the world and long -time Chapel Hillians. We have traditional neighborhoods and innovative mixed developments.  I think implementation of the 2020 plan will achieve this vision. Council needs to listen to citizens ideas on how to do this. Staff needs to efficiently use the resources given them.

Sally Greene   From the penthouse of 140 West looking north, all you see are trees: except for the new Northside Elementary popping up out of them. The Chapel Hill that I love has a beautiful and health-giving tree canopy, and it exists within an even more wooded environment: the rural buffer. Because I strongly support retaining the rural buffer, and because I also embrace the prospect of growth and change, I welcome thoughtfully planned growth, including urban density where sensible. The residents of the affordable condos in 140 West include a Chapel Hill parks and recreation employee, his wife and their toddler. This child will walk to Northside Elementary. It will be a beautiful walk through a neighborhood that the town has expended lots of resources to protect.

My “brand” of Chapel Hill maintains a park-like fabric, but, in all, the town is a richly textured fabric, with urban parks (the plaza at 140 West for example) as well; also with strong cultural offerings (the restaurant scene; the university’s programming); and with opportunities for people of all ages and income levels to live here for their whole lives.

Gary Kahn  Chapel Hill is a place for a learning experience and to have fun.

Paul Neebe   I’m not sure Chapel Hill needs any more promoting. If we oversell Chapel Hill, then it may become overrun with too many people and may no longer be a great destination. I think we need to improve Chapel Hill by a connected Greenway system, Bike Paths or Cycle tracks that are off the street. By preserving the open spaces in Chapel Hill and improving the alternative transportation we can remain a wonderful place to live.

Maria Palmer  Money Magazine does a good job explaining the atmosphere here in Chapel Hill. I say it is a beautiful town with character and fabulous resources, engaged citizens, a liberal bent and a great cultural life.

Amy Ryan   Part of promoting the brand is first defining what it is.  I think that it’s time for the town to discuss what our “brand” is, what characteristics are important for us to protect and enhance, and in what areas we want that brand to grow.  I would encourage the town to learn from the UNC campus expansion efforts of the early 2000s.  They began by developing a specific plan for identifying the place-determining features of the campus, planning proactively for their protection, and growing in ways that respected and enhanced those features.

My Chapel Hill “brand” has many different components, such as the tree canopy, the campus, the Historic District, and Franklin Street.  It also includes a “locally grown” component – a commercial landscape with a health proportion of businesses that were born and raised in the area, like Southern Season and Phydeaux.  I also think that our brand needs to evolve to meet the challenges of the future.  Perhaps we can also become known as the local entrepreneurial center of the Triangle if efforts like the Rosemary entrepreneurial hub prove successful.

D.C. Swinton   Chapel Hill is a beautiful town with a sense of community that grows stronger everyday. The Town’s environmental awareness continues to improve, and it entices its citizens and visitors by creating an expansive park and greenway system. Chapel Hill’s collaboration with the University of North Carolina and the adjacent Town of Carrboro provides an atmosphere unique to the Triangle and central North Carolina.

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