Getting bigger while staying better.
Over the next 20 years, the Research Triangle Region is projected to add 1.2 million people and 700,000 jobs. That's a lot of growth, and the Research Triangle Regional Partnership is here to make sure it's accommodated in sustainable ways.
This regional quality-growth initiative intends to maintain the superior quality of life and place we all enjoy here. After all, it's not just nice to have - it's a major competitive advantage.
Recognizing that, RTRP dedicates major resources to this sustainability work. (A surprisingly rare practice among economic development agencies.) Every sector - business, government, academia and nonprofit - in every corner of our region is committed to growing in green, clean and sustainable ways.
RTRP's regional work began in 2009 with a visioning exercise and summit, called Reality Check. We teamed with the Urban Land Institute Triangle to lead 800 regional stakeholders through a process of articulating a vision and plan to get us there. Three principles emerged that are guiding our region's growth and planning: improving regional transit, promoting vibrant town centers, and preserving green spaces and natural resources. Every major town, city, county, civic and planning agency in the region has signed on.
The Regional Transportation Alliance, a business-created agency, and Triangle Transit, a local government agency are our partners and voices for transportation initiatives and policy. RTA mobilizes action on strategic solutions that decrease commuting times, expand mobility options and improve shipping efficiency - all goals of business sustainability. Triangle Transit was created by the NC General Assembly to plan, finance, organize and operate a public transportation system for the Research Triangle area, providing regional bus service, vanpool service, and regional transit planning. A regional green-space task force maintains an inventory of open space plans and educates the community about the importance of open space to economic and sustainable development, while protecting natural resources like water and air quality. A vibrant town-centers task force works closely with local governments, helping them understand how these vital gathering places can grow to fit the unique needs and design of each community while maximizing the return on investment on infrastructure and strengthening community character.
At the same time, businesses, universities and organizations across our region are working to preserve the environment through sustainable design and building. The Research Triangle Park is both a symbol and a practitioner of clean and green for our region. Green design is incorporated into the new headquarters, which are LEED(r) Silver-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. RTP tenants NetApp, IBM and RTI International also earned top LEED ratings for recent expansions.
Meanwhile, the new Institute for Sustainable Enterprise is working with chambers of commerce across the region and with local businesses through its Green Plus program to help small businesses operate sustainably.
Sustainable business, in sustainable communities, makes for sustainable cities. And we all grow stronger because of it.