DTRaleigh Blog Has New Look and Possible Super Powers

Welcome to the newest version of the blog!

By my count, this would be the fourth major overhaul (and cleanup) of this site. Yes, I’m still running on WordPress but I’ve retired the custom theme that I have been using since 2012. With a strong affinity for web development, I wanted to run my own theme on this blog but just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. With that, I’m going with this cleaner, simpler look that’s modern under-the-covers.

The blog will always be about trying to tell stories with photos and text and I think this new look still captures that. As expected, the blog works on all devices so you can read and search the site wherever you are with whatever you have. Make sure to sign up for emails in case that’s your preferred method of staying in touch.

New or veteran, I thank you for visiting the site especially my core group who have been emailing me as the new site has been coming online over the past few days.

Introducing the DTRaleigh Community

Logo for the DTRaleigh Community

I’m excited to announce that I’m making a drastic change to the commenting that has been taking place for years on this blog. Soon, it will be closed for good. Instead, I’m hosting a much more powerful platform for online conversations and discussions that will all take place on the DTRaleigh Community.

Built on Discourse, this will allow readers to engage on topics much easier and with richer features. Embed maps, images, docs easily and keep up with the conversation on the go with the Discourse app.

While the Community is technically separate from the blog, I’m going to try my best to keep all blog content on the Community as well. In theory, you could never visit this site again and not miss a beat.

For those that don’t follow the conversation, it’s business as usual. I encourage you to follow however as the conversations typically dive into the topics even deeper than here on the blog and sometimes, the community reports things first before anyone else.

See you on the forums.

NOTE: Commenting on this blog will close on June 1.

Historic Homes Should Be Saved After Council Approves Land Sale

Old homes along West Street, planned for demolition.

Old homes along West Street, planned for demolition.

The two houses in the photo above should be saved after all. The city council last week approved the sale of city-owned land along Bloodworth Street to become the new home for these two houses. March 19 was the demolition date for them so this comes quite a bit close but hopefully, with this approval, everything goes smoothly.

The houses were planned to be demolished to make way for The Fairweather, a five-story condo project. A Raleigh citizen pitched a plan to move the houses into the Prince Hall Historic district, the site of the city-owned parcels, but the land sale had to be approved by council. At first try in December 2017, it was not approved.

For a detailed review of the story, jump back to this December 2017 post.

The city council video of the discussion is embedded below. I’m going to leave the politics for the comments or a future reader meetup but you can really see some council members struggling with this one, almost intentionally avoiding trying to make a decision. As I said in my previous post, creative problem-solving seems to feel like a foreign language sometimes to the council.

For the record, Councilors Crowder and Thompson voted against. My huge thanks to our Mayor who brought up this issue and got the discussion rolling.

If you can’t see the embedded video, watch it here on YouTube.

11 Years of RalConography

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View of downtown Raleigh from the Boylan Bridge, September 2007. Click for larger

Today, we’ve made it to 11 years of downtown Raleigh conversations, writing, and photography. It’s hard to follow year 10 but I’ll still be treating myself to a drink today to celebrate this milestone.

While I was working on an official definition of RalConography, I stumbled on this 2007 skyline photo that I wanted to share. From here, you can see PNC Plaza, then RBC Plaza, being built. The Marriott hotel and Raleigh Convention Center are still under construction. The Boylan Wye is in shambles with overgrown shrubs and myriad scraps piled high. A number of residential and office projects have yet to be seen.

That’s all changed of course and with 11 years of material the blog also takes on an archiving role which I’m enjoying very much.

This also becomes my annual ask for reader donations.

Rolled out last year quietly, I’ve been getting support from readers without even asking. I want to thank those that have contributed so far. I truly appreciate the support.

Contributors will be my first contacts with any major updates I have coming in the future. If a Raleigh digital archive or Raleigh Development Wire service sounds interesting to you, please consider contributing and you’ll be in the know before anyone else.

Donate to the Blog

Two ways to contribute:

  • Paypal – Click Here
  • Venmo – username: @dtraleigh

Thanks all for reading. Let’s keep this thing rolling.

Municipography: The City’s First Logo

Municipography is a summary of current issues going through the Raleigh City Council and other municipal departments in the city. The point is to try to deliver any video, photos, and text associated with the discussions happening at City Hall or elsewhere. Since this is a downtown Raleigh blog, the focus is on the center of the city.

I recommend email readers click through to the website to see the embedded video.

The City of Raleigh government's latest logo

The City of Raleigh government’s latest logo

During this week’s city council meeting, a major update was announced and approved in the long-time process of revamping the city’s brand. The city government now has its first logo, shown above, and will be implemented across the city’s departments.

Not to be confused with the City of Raleigh seal acting as a logo, the new logo will be used in a variety of ways complimented with custom typography (Raleigh Bold) and even future icons that represent the new mission and vision statement.

The logo is for the city’s government and not for tourism.

The presentation given during the council meeting is a good one to watch for more details and I have it embedded below. If you can’t see it, click here to go to YouTube.

Social and news media certainly likes to highlight the plethora of criticism about the new logo. You can’t help but comment when you consider that $226,000 went into the process of creating it.

I don’t have the eye to criticize the logo itself but I do want to elaborate a bit on this cost, a cost that I see well worth it and there are critical things I think folks are missing.

If Raleigh wants to be a national player in business recruitment and even be well represented at some international conversations, a well-thought-out and high-quality brand is a must. To get that, a thorough process that takes community feedback to guide the design team towards this logo “package” is an equitable approach.

The cost wasn’t just for that tree at the top of this post but for an in-depth process to get the pulse of Raleighites and represent that in a simple and effective logo. The feedback collection process was actually a larger share of the cost compared to the actual design work.

For me, I felt like I saw huge value in the logo’s versatility with this video that shows how it can be used in a variety of ways. I can picture print, media, and video incorporating it in consistent yet slightly different ways than the next. If you can’t see it, click here to go to YouTube.

As the branding package rolls out, I think then that more and more people will see the value here. I’m happy to see us tackle a topic that is so subjective and come forward with something strong.

Bravo to city staff who played a role in getting this out there! (and how can I get Raleigh Bold on this website!)

And We’re Back

There’s nothing too exciting to report but over the last two weeks, I did a little needed cleanup to the site as well as one or two experiments.

You may or may not have noticed but the site is now encrypted. For the commenters, the HTTPS goodness now keeps all your fake names and emails more secure. I read that it should make the site faster but we’ll see about that.

Other than some cleanup and tiny optimizations, that’s about it. Expect posts to start rolling back this week.