Asheville, North Carolina
Chris CarrollPlanning Project12/1/15Asheville, North Carolina is a city in Buncombe county and it is the largest city in Western North Carolina, and that also makes it the 11th largest city in the state. Besides being a fairly large city it is also a very popular place to be and it has grown into an attraction that a lot of new movers have been flocking to heavily in the last five years due to its fabulous features and characteristics. Asheville is not just what most people would call a typical city in the south, it is much different from that while being filled with artists, sophisticated thinkers, and people who just want more out of life then the average, in 2003 it was named one of the best places to reinvent your life.(1) The city is surrounded by some of the oldest and most beautiful mountains in the world, the blue ridge mountains which are part of the great Appalachian mountain chain, making it a very unique place to visit or relocate to, just about everywhere you go you will see the mountains in the background scenery. Asheville is a truly different kind of city that many people have nothing but good things to speak of about it, but just like in every other place, there is also a number of things that have been mentioned that are not going too well like the amount of homelessness that has occurred in the past ten years in the city. Asheville has many great things that make it the city it is today and without some negative traits it would be a perfect city and we all know that there is not one perfect city with no problems in the entire world. Throughout the rest of the paper I am going to be discussing the details of how Asheville became what it is today and the ins and outs of what this city has going right now in the present.Being one of the biggest cities in the state of North Carolina as stated before, it has a metro population of approximately 443,000 people and while in 2015 the cost of living in Asheville is about 2.9% below the national average which means that it is obviously an affordable place to live and supporting that is the fact that the job growth in 2014 increased by 1.8% in the city, which is impressive for a mountain-valley town that is nestled in between the French Broad river and the Swannanoa river. The average income in Asheville is about $38,000 which is not very high compared to other places but you can expect a lot greater quality of life. They say that the people in Asheville are usually exemplified with a laid back mindset, art, and culture, which creates the awesome diversity in the city. (2) The average listing price for houses in the Ashville is around $433,000 and the Median sales price is $200,000. Compared to the same time last year the median home sales price decreased 4.9%, and the number of home sales decreased 79.5%. (3) I would not be complaining about the weather if I was planning on visiting or moving to Asheville. On average, there are 212 sunny days per year and the July high is around 85 degrees while the January low is around 28 degrees which is a lot better than our negative temperatures that we get here in Michigan. There is an above average amount of rainfall that occurs but at the same time it is about 11% below the average snowfall in the United States, while being elevated 2,100 feet in the air I suppose that you can’t expect much less rain. Many people move to the area because they know that they are going to get such great climate benefits. In January of 2015 there was literally no snow that fell in Asheville, which is remarkable weather if you are used to the usual Midwest winter. (4)
Previous to the arrival of the Europeans, the land where Asheville now lies was the boundaries of the Cherokee Indian nation. In the mid 1500’s, explorer Hernando de Soto brought the first European visitors along with a great amount of diseases from Europe, this caused most of the native population to die from being sick. The town of Asheville began in 1784, a Colonel named Samuel Davidson and his family settled into the Swannanoa valley. Soon after, Davidson was lured into the woods by a group of Cherokee hunters and was killed. Davidsons twin brother and other family members formed an expedition to get his dead body and the land that was taken from their hands. They returned to the area and settled with their families and by 1790 the population was up to 1,000 residents, excluding the Cherokee Native Americans. They initially named the place Morristown in 1792 and five years later they decided to rename the town to Asheville after North Carolina Governor Samuel Ashe. In 1880, the Western North Carolina railroad was completed and there was a line that went from Salisbury to Asheville, which was the first rail line to reach the city. After the railroad was completed the city experienced very slow but steady growth, many industrial plants were being built as well as textile mills, this was initial start to what the city has now turned into today. The city was hit with a massive debt when the Great Depression occurred in the 1930’s, they had about 54 million in per capita debt because of all of the growth they had during the Industrial Revolution, many people were seeing the issues and the lack of jobs and were moving elsewhere to start fresh but this did not stop the city from moving onwards. Because Asheville didn’t have the funds to bulldoze and rebuild the buildings that have been there since the beginning, the only choice they had was to fix what they had and this is what makes the city so interesting today, most of the original landmarks are still in Asheville. Many people started moving to the city in the 70’s because they saw where it was going and the physical features of the area was one of the supporting reasons. In the 1980’s they created an urban renewal, which was to tear up the downtown and build up new convention centers and malls, an approximately 14-million-dollar ordeal. After the renewal was passed many parts of downtown was vacant until the early 90’s when they started to form it again. As the development took place they transformed metropolitan Asheville into the lively community that it is today. The neighborhoods in a city are huge factors for defining what kind of place we are really talking about and I would say that Asheville is loaded with some great ones. It has five separate neighborhoods: North, South, East, West, and Central. The two that I am going to break down are the North and West neighborhoods. While many of the neighborhoods have went through cycles of growth and decline in the economy, The North side has stayed supple, unlike the other neighborhoods. North Asheville has kept the same style it has had from the earlier ages, the main part of the area is the Lakeview Park community which is where Beaver lake is located, it is a small man made lake that was created in the 1920’s. The Lakeview park residents are the ones that fund the lake and maintain it, the city of Asheville does not finance or own Beaver lake. The North neighborhood is obviously a wealthier type of area with young families hosted by white collar dads along with a growing amount of retirees. However, the West side of Asheville is a bit different type of atmosphere from the North. This area is transforming into a hippie trendy young person crowd joined by young families that are looking for a cheaper house to fix up. Haywood road is the main drag in the North neighborhood and it is now filled with cafes and funky stores and shops in real old buildings that have been renovated. The West side is a bit more affordable than other areas in Asheville including the North. The different neighborhoods make this city very diverse and unique, you can get whatever you are looking for depending on the type of person you are, that is what makes the Asheville neighborhoods so great.