Gallery: North Carolina’s Research Triangle Master Plan Seeks to Get Mo...

 
On Nov. 9, the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina revealed a new master plan that will guide the future development of one of the oldest and biggest science and research parks in North America. As anticipated by our story last week, the plan for Research Triangle Park (RTP) emphasizes sustainability. However, the newly-released documents highlight a key challenge for the park: how to get more use out of limited acreage without sacrificing environmental principles.

Located on a then-rural tract of land between the university cities of Raleigh (NCSU), Durham (Duke University), and Chapel Hill (UNC) the 7,000-acre Research Triangle Park was established in 1959. Since then, it has attracted over 170 companies with more than 39,000 employees. The Research Triangle Foundation, developer of the park, has recently recognized that “the remaining vacant sites at the Park are not sufficient to serve the next 50 years of need.” However, with wise planning, the foundation believes that the park “can yield ample additional development capacity… The challenge and the opportunity [are] in discovering how and where this significant potential can be unlocked in an appropriate way.”

The foundation’s plan is broad, encompassing such issues as “regional connectivity, access, transit, land use, landscape, environmental considerations, and the sustainable infrastructure needed to support projected future development.” However, it includes substantial thinking about how to implement development sustainably, considering issues of water, energy, waste, transportation, landscape, buildings, and urban design.

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