The North Carolina Chamber will unveil an economic development “Dashboard” created by RTI International on Dec. 3 as part of its Vision 2030 project. Those involved may want to look at new demographic data compiled at UNC which projects where most people in the state will be living in 2050.

Are you ready for a Charlotte-Triad-Triangle megalopolis that resembles the Boston-New York-Washington corridor?

The N.C. Chamber Foundation said Thursday it will disclose the Dashboard project through a webinar. The purpose of the project was to provide planners and leaders with an online tool that woulds track economic development, the state’s business climate, and job growth.

The Chamber launched Vision 2030 earlier this year as an attempt to provide the state with an economic development blueprint for management of growth.

“The first phase of Dashboard 2030 includes a comprehensive set of metrics and data points that provide real-time indicators of progress – on how North Carolina and its local communities are doing in the global race for jobs,” the Chamber said in its announcement.

“Dashboard 2030 is a crucial tool to holding our state accountable for consistent progress and improvement in North Carolina. It will be hosted online so that it can be accessible to any North Carolinians with access to an Internet-enabled device.”

UNC Housing Data

Coincidentally on Thursday, the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill released data that projects housing growth over the next four decades that could lead to an “urbanized megalopolis.”

While the I-85 corridor between Raleigh, the Triad and Charlotte has long been the state’s economic spine, the new data – and an intriguing 30-second video posted at YouTube – show in vivid colors where people are expected to be living.

The deepest colors reflecting household density line that corridor. 

But there’s no guarantee the projections will happen as forecast.

“This is one potential look at the future,” said Rebecca Tippett, director of Carolina Demography, the unit at the Carolina Population Center that produced the data. “Where and how development occurs is very responsive to policy and planning, and I hope this sparks conversations about what we might want North Carolina to look like in 2050.”

The group used census data and other “demographic techniques” to forecast the housing patterns. 

“The data illuminate historic development patterns and can be used by businesses, local government and the public to understand potential future needs for schools or health clinics or transportation routes,” the Carolina Population Center said.

A megalopolis or “megaregion” would present “new planning challenges,” the Center said. 

Noted Tippett: “Understanding housing changes and what they mean for the future is necessary and important for effective planning and informed policy.”