Interview with the Mayor on YouTube

If the video doesn’t show for you, go to A Few Minutes with the Mayor – Episode 1 on YouTube.

I wanted to share this quick interview with the mayor where she discusses some big things planned for 2016 in and out of downtown Raleigh. Enjoy!

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  1. Thanks for sharing the video Leo. It was interesting to me to listen to Nancy talk about the arts and identity. What she kept talking around was what, in my opinion, is Raleigh’s biggest challenge: brand identity. She spoke about the Southwest US in terms of their brand without ever saying the words. She laid out a loose framework of the issues that prevent us from creating a brand for our city without specifically pinpointing that term. Pretty much the theme was something like “we have all this great stuff that people don’t know about and we don’t embrace enough”. I think it’s ironic that she was talking with the communications director for the city on this topic since this sort of strategic issue could be brewing somewhere in or around his wheelhouse.
    The lack of the city to identify and promote its brand means that competing cities do it for us. We only have to go up the road to Durham to watch that happen. They tell us how they are the foodie city, even though we have an excellent culinary scene. They tell is that they are urban and we are not, despite the fact that we have more happening in our core than they do and our city is actually more densely populated. With the lack of a true vision and brand for the city, we leave a vacuum to be filled by others. You’d think by all the rhetoric that’s tossed around in the Triangle that Raleigh was nothing more than a safe strip mall with children’s stores.
    While some will undoubtedly remain on the sidelines of this issue under the guise that “Raleigh’s fine, we don’t need to do anything”, I couldn’t disagree more. As the city proper approaches 500,000 residents, it’s imperative that we take control of our brand and market it nationally. People would be shocked to know that Raleigh’s urbanized area (without Durham) is now larger than Nashville’s. Why?….because Raleigh doesn’t have a brand. Nashville now gets compared to Charlotte while we just sit and wait in the wings for “our turn”. Nashville, as it turns out, has a strong brand. This stuff matters.
    On a related note and back to the communications guy, why isn’t the city managing itself better on the Internet and social media? The wiki information about Raleigh and Wake is mostly dated and uninspiring. The accomplishments of the city on issues such as bike infrastructure should be pushed out there to every allied think tank. The city should be pushing white papers on its accomplishments and innovations. We need more of the articles like the one in Scientific American about the personal rapid transit system being incubated at NC State. I still meet people in Raleigh who know nothing about the Hunt Library at State! That freaking thing is a massive game changer and is WORLD class. How come it’s so invisible?
    If we want to grab the attention of the developers who can come into Raleigh and give us the big projects we want in retail, entertainment and such in our core, we need to get their attention. Our fundamentals are terrific but we can’t rest on them. We have to develop a city brand that says more about us than oak trees.

  2. Parks, arts, architecture, people, and public transportation – How common is it for a Mayor, in this day and age, be specifically focused on these topics. Very refreshing and exciting to be in Raleigh at this point in its history. I’d like to see more of a preservation effort against predatory developers but she is certainly one of the good ones.

  3. @John – excellent points, 100% agreed. “We have all this great stuff that people don’t know about and we don’t embrace enough” – why don’t people know about all this great stuff? Why doesn’t Raleigh embrace this great stuff?

  4. @Jake. It beats me. Perhaps we can ask that fine communications guy in the video that’s interviewing the Mayor? At this point, I’d be happy with some baby steps like the city taking better control of the city’s social media and its web content. Believe me when I tell you that people do search the web for Raleigh more than one might expect. On City-Data Forums, the Triangle has the most active metro forum in the entire country.

    On top of that, we also need to be brave and take risks. It still pains me how the city squandered an opportunity with Jaume Plensa ten years ago. We want to promote ourselves as the leading city of arts in the Southeast yet we publicly made fools of ourselves to the global art world by rejecting his designs and going all negative that he ended up withdrawing from working with the city. So, what happened next you ask? Well, he took his talents to Durham and put an installation there. The damage from that fiasco will hopefully not haunt us if we ever want to have that sort of opportunity again.

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