Community outreach facilitation, scenario planning for decision support, and mapping of results
Green Infrastructure Network map used in the GroWNC project

GroWNC was a listening and planning process to develop regional and local strategies for economic competitiveness and job creation. Working in the five-county region of Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison, and Transylvania counties, the GroWNC project team worked with a consortium of local governments, non-profit organizations, and businesses to seek significant input from residents of the region, gather existing and historical data, and synthesize it to create a vision of the future.  »

Local Livability Framework

During the three-year project, the consortium worked together to gather public input and integrate existing plans and strategies across topic areas in the Local Livability Framework. The Local Livability Framework is based upon the following principles, which are aligned with the principles of the Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities:

  • Provide more transportation choices
  • Promote equitable, affordable housing
  • Enhance economic competitiveness
  • Support existing communities
  • Coordinate and leverage federal policies and investment
  • Preserve our natural and cultural resources
  • Expand and utilize more local, renewable energy sources


Throughout the GroWNC project, workgroups in the following topic areas convened to identify challenges and opportunities, review existing plans and strategies, and integrate public input into their findings:

  • Economic Development
  • Energy
  • Health
  • Housing
  • Land Use
  • Natural Resources
  • Cultural Resources
  • Transportation
  • Federal and State Partners
  • Communications and Outreach


The Land of Sky Regional Council served as the grant administrator and coordinating agency for GroWNC. They contracted with LandDesign, a planning and design firm, which assembled an interdisciplinary team of experts. UNC Asheville’s NEMAC worked with Land of Sky and LandDesign to facilitate community outreach, scenario planning for decision support, and mapping of results. Additionally, NEMAC worked with Land of Sky to design, develop, and launch the project's online implementation toolkit and GIS-based map viewer, and created tutorial videos for these websites. » »


GroWNC was funded by a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), through the Sustainable Communities Initiative. It drew on significant work that had already been accomplished in the region, weaving together existing plans with public involvement.