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Hi, my name is Grace Mok and I am the communications liaison for DukeEngage-Durham, which means I poke people about pictures/videos, approve blog posts and occasionally post Little Blog posts like this. This summer, I have been working with Community Empowerment Fund as a housing advocacy specialist. In my spare time, I have been volunteering at the Durham Bike Coop to earn a *~free~* bike!


On Wednesday, we had a fascinating discussion with some of Durham’s most influential men: Dr. Phail Wynn Jr., Duke’s vice president for Durham and Regional Affairs; John Schelp, former president of the Old West Durham Neighborhood Association; Tucker Bartlett, an executive vice president at Self-Help, a nonprofit bank and developer based in Durham; and Durham Mayor Bill Bell.

Each of these men shared their perspective as powerful leaders of Durham’s economic development. One sentiment that was extremely refreshing was their shining optimism for the city and for Duke’s continued and mutually beneficial relationship with it.

Much of their discussion on economic development seemed to emphasize investments in Places. The areas emphasized in the panel (and the news release) include the Durham Co-op area, American Tobacco Campus, east end of Ninth Street, Lakewood Shopping Center, and the Southside neighborhood.

Some questions that came to mind: What does it mean for economic development to be centered on Places? What are the implications for gentrification? What is a city — the Place or the People?