by Eric Ginsburg
There are a lot of things that make North Carolina’s Triad an excellent place to live, but here are the Top 5, in no particular order.
1. It’s an incubator
The region is an incubator in so many ways. It’s affordable, which means that getting an idea off the ground is cheaper, making your vision more accessible. There is a plethora of available space and empty buildings — the bones already exist. The Triad is filled with supportive and interlocking communities, meaning that support for grassroots efforts materializes and people enthusiastically support new ideas. And this region is a training ground across disciplines, thanks in large part to the significant number of higher education institutions.
Our cities are incredibly diverse, which can be measured in many ways. The Triad is home to large immigrant and refugee populations. Religious diversity is apparent too, in institutions such as the American Hebrew Academy, Wat Lao American Buddhist Center and the Greensboro Islamic Academy. And then there’s the Moravian and Quaker history. Greensboro is a majority-minority city, and Winston-Salem practically is as well. The cities are influenced by nearby rural North Carolina too, and together this confluence of people means rich differences of perspective, experience, ideas, cultures and more. TCB knows at least one couple who moved back to the Triad from Asheville because they wanted to raise their kids in a place with genuine racial diversity.
3. The size
The Triad is small enough to enjoy perks like an almost complete lack of traffic. It’s easy to run into people you know, adding to a sense of community, but the Triad is still large enough to find privacy. And to explore new things — you could never truly see it all, and even if you came close, change is happening quickly enough that you’d have to start over. It’s small enough to get the mayor on the phone, but big enough that touring acts like Taylor Swift don’t pass by.
4. The geography
Geography is destiny, we’re fond of repeating. Three cities being so close together is a rare gift if you know how to take advantage of it, be it for a night out to dinner or attracting a company. We’re in the center of the state, which means that numerous state parks, mountains, beaches and cities including the Triangle, Charlotte and Asheville are in striking distance. The Triad is well situated on the Eastern Seaboard too, and not just in terms of positioning for industry, transportation infrastructure or a getaway to Charlottesville or Charleston, but also the weather. While it snowed and rained in the Northeast last weekend we enjoyed 70-degree weather, but we’re still in a climate where we enjoy the four seasons.
It sounds like a cliché but it is the most essential factor. People here are friendly, educated, innovative and active. We’re a socially engaged bunch, taking direct action to solve problems rather than waiting for someone to come and do it for us. This manifests in so many ways including the Winston-Salem Black Panthers’ ambulance system that served the ignored, black part of town. More recently, people in Greensboro started a homeless day shelter called the Interactive Resource Center, and generated the brilliant idea of hosting a blanket-fort party to encourage donations. In High Point, people are talking about community gardens next to playgrounds so parents can multitask. It’s that abundance of ingenuity and spirit that sets us apart.