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Chapter Two

existing system overview


Population Characteristics

As a rapidly urbanizing community, the City of Raleigh

is becoming a more diverse place in terms of race and

ethnicity. From a parks, recreation and cultural resource

perspective, this means that the city will be increasingly

called upon to serve a broader range of needs, and

developing flexible parks and facilities will be key. Taken

a step further, the city has an opportunity to provide

community gathering places and special events to help

bring different groups together and foster a spirit of


Raleigh’s age profile is also changing in two different ways.

There are more children in the city whose families will

likely desire nearby neighborhood parks, playgrounds,

and youth programs. Concurrently, the 55 to 74 age group,

which includes Baby Boomers, is aging, and many may

stay in Raleigh to “age in place” due to the city’s amenities

and moderate climate. The city will need to consider

how to improve the accessibility of its parks to meet an

aging population’s needs; there may also be an increased

demand for walking trails and community centers.

Like most of the country, Raleigh residents have suffered

as a result of the economic downturn and now have

significantly less purchasing power than in 2000. It is

essential that parks, recreation and cultural resource

opportunities remain affordable, and that the city provide

affordable recreation and leisure alternatives.

As Raleigh expands, the transportation network will also

need to expand to accommodate the need to travel greater

distances. The city is currently heavily oriented towards

single-occupancy cars as themode of transportation towork.


Most of Raleigh’s housing is single-family, detached units

built after 1950. Nationwide, many neighborhoods built

between 1960 and 1980 lack sidewalks. A large number of

Raleigh’s homeswere built in this era, and lack these facilities,

though the city has prepared a Bicycle Transportation Plan

to address this issue. As the city improves roadways in these

communities, efforts should be made to improve pedestrian

connections as well. For the 6% of Raleigh homes built

prior to 1950, the parks, recreation and cultural resources

system can actively support the health of these historic

communities through attractive streetscapes and the

provision of adequate open spaces. Helping to maintain the

health of these neighborhoods is critical to Raleigh’s sense

of place.

Home ownership is rising in Raleigh, but it is still behind

the county and national figures, mostly due to the large

number of students. Parks and open spaces contribute

significantly to quality of life and can ultimately help

make the city a place where people want to stay. This

improves the tax base and provides stability and security

to neighborhoods.

The City of Raleigh is growing and diversifying. Noting

historic trends in population growth, the city has grown

at a tremendous rate. As a result, the city may need to

“catch up” to its population growth and ensure that it is

meeting the parks, recreation and cultural resource needs

of its current residents equitably. The city’s changing age

profile is important when considering equitable facilities

and services, especially as growing numbers of children,

young families and aging Baby Boomers change demands

for specific facilities and services. This will be evident in

the Needs and Priority Assessment, which includes public

engagement. At the same time, a projected population

growth of 180,000 by 2030 increases the need for the city

to plan for growth by acquiring additional park land in

advance of growth in urbanizing areas.



2010 U.S. Census


City of Raleigh 2030 Comprehensive Plan. Adopted October, 2009. Pg 11.


City of Raleigh 2030 Comprehensive Plan. Adopted October, 2009. Pg 11.


City of Raleigh 2030 Comprehensive Plan. Adopted October, 2009. Pg 16.

Note that CAMPO included the city’s future annexation areas, and did

not study potential limiting factors like water supply.


National Center for Education Statistics. Digest of Education Statistics: Table 268.

Degrees conferred by degree-granting institutions, by level of degree and sex

of student: Selected years, 1869-70 through 2018-19. Online: http://nces. Accessed 9/2012



Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Inflation Calculator.



2.3.5 Conclusion