Durham has seen a great deal of change in the past few years.
While the city has recently blossomed with trendy new restaurants, exciting tech companies, growing educational programs and innovative entrepreneurship, it was not all too long ago that downtown was desolate and struggling with high crime rates and a bad reputation.
Yet many would say that despite these encouraging advances, Durham is still struggling, and if community leaders don't think proactively, the problems will only get worse.
"Durham, like many urban environments across the country, has many challenges staring it in its face," said Ed Boyd, the chief strategy officer of iNvictus Group Holdings in Durham. "Among them are a growing economic divide, increasing difficulty in locating affordable housing, high minority unemployment, disadvantaged, schools and economically deprived and socially powerless populations being displaced from communities they've called home in favor of 'progressive policies.'"
In particular, Boyd said, the city is seeing a lot of minorities being displaced by the economic system and the rise of apathy among those in the position to provide aid. These are precisely the issues that the Forward Cities initiative hopes to tackle in Durham and in cities facing the same issues around the country, including New Orleans, Detroit and Cleveland.