by Britney J. Lowery

Each of us holds a proud Triad City Passport: 30 minutes.

We are closer to our neighboring cities than many of us seem to think. For many, to drive across city or county lines, there must be a motive in place of calendared events, mandatory meetings or a family emergency.

But most understand regionalism to be a function of government. But just as these Triad cities are not defined solely by government, the same is so for the region. How can it be rightfully so for a city administration of a dozen or fewer to account for close to three-quarters of a million people? The day-to-day operations and citizens are what makes these cities. The favorite downtown coffee shop, the kiosked hot-dog stand, the Friday-night lights, the after-Sunday service restaurant, the golf courses, the summer camps, the shaded West End districts, the “used-to-be,” “soon-to-be” and “hope-to-be” neighborhoods — these are what makes these cities, these are what makes the Triad.

Triad citizenship is much like voter registration; just because you do not participate does not mean you are not accounted for. Your status is either active or inactive. Following this analogy, do not find yourself or your inner circle active for just the kabooms — a music festival, sporting event, street fair. Engage in Tuesday night dinner, walk your dog (or ferret), take your in-laws to weekend brunch.

The average work commute for North Carolinians is 23 minutes and 30 seconds. Downtown living is a hot topic, but most of us live in the extended wards of our cities. But we can drive to any Triad city in the time it takes to get to work. With just 30 minutes, you could be an active Triad City Passport utilizer.

There is much trend weighing on entrepreneurship, economic development and community redevelopment but there is a dim light being shone on social capital. Each of the three before mentioned topics are all just wisps of air without considering people in with the equation. Relationships being the greatest of currency, it is time that we put away with the lifeless ideology and theoretical topic of regionalism and replace it with an inclusive, accessible concept of regional intrapreneurship. Instead of targeting local governments as the change agents, we look to each other. There are truths that a High Point small-business owner can contribute to the atmosphere of Winston Salem that relates to a Greensboro College student’s experience growing up on the rural parts of High Point. There is an interconnection that requires communication — civil communication.

Intrapreneurship, unlike entrepreneurship, is about relationships between people, relationships that can only develop if we commit to this place as home.[pullquote]Downtown living is a hot topic, but most of us live in the extended wards of our cities.[/pullquote]

If everyone is dreaming of out-of-state relocations and out-of-country retirement plans, who is left to consider our Triad home?

How many of us have told a local stranger why we started our downtown business? Or why we chose our school or line of study? Why we prefer to listen to our favorite live band while sipping an iced chai after hours in a local coffeeshop rather than tuning into a Pandora station? Why we voted -— or did not vote? Or even what we dream of our city to be? You are only as valuable as your networks.

Britney Lowery lives in Winston-Salem and writes at

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