Raleigh’s Big Thinkers on Keeping Raleigh’s Identity

As Raleigh continues to rise in epic scale, residents fear losing our city’s unique identity and becoming just another urban jungle lacking character (think the frequent reference to Charlotte). So we asked some of our city’s big thinkers to weigh in on how to retain what makes us Raleigh.

How do we retain Raleigh’s identity as the city continues to grow? 

“Preservation of open space and placemaking—plus sustainable investment in transit infrastructure to help people access and enjoy our city. Raleigh craves curated community-centered experiences fueled by thoughtful design via unique and carefully crafted buildings (including adaptive reuse!) with rich outdoor spaces that nurture us and root us.” 

Kristen M. Hess, AIA, LEED AP, Principal/CEO, HH Architecture

“As our wonderful city continues to grow due to the national and international recognition of our incredible attributes, we don’t ‘retain’ Raleigh’s identity, but we ‘create and promote’ the identity that we, as a community, determine. Looking full steam ahead—not behind… boldly!”

Thomas “Skip” Hill, Senior Vice President and Market Lead, Highwoods Properties

“Raleigh is the City of Oaks and, while the population has doubled since the 1990s, it has become more livable and lovable. How do we retain Raleigh’s identity as we grow? Cherish what keeps Raleigh authentic, a city blended with nature—trees, parks, greenways and parkways. Be caretakers of our cultural resources and historic assets that connect us to our humanity, stories and memories. But, most importantly, our charming hospitality that is kind, inclusive and welcoming to all.” 

Mitchell Silver, Principal, McAdams; former Raleigh Chief Planning Officer

Read our recent Burning Question on what city attractions here.

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About the Author

Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.