Wednesday, May 14, 2008

50 Years

By 2010, the City of Durham will have grown 75% in population since I arrived in 1980. The County of Durham will have grown 50%. And still the community has managed to retain its sense of place, in fact deepen it. This is testament that sense of place can be temporal.

Since 1960, by then a 50 year span, the number of hotel guest rooms in Durham, one indicator in the growth of visitation, will have grown from 562 to nearly 9,000.

In that span, the number of hotel guest rooms in Durham will have multiplied 15 times while the population of the City will have grown 2.6 times over and the County 2.3 times.

With a healthy share of open space and low density development, Durham is rapidly running low on developable land. Of course gentrification will then take up the slack, hopefully not to the point that it destroys Durham’s unique blend.

But it is clear that tourism will play an even greater role in Durham’s future, not as an end but as a means to an end, as a way to safeguard and protect and sustain place-based assets, cultural, built and natural.

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