ENGAGEDurham is an opportunity for everyone to help shape the future of our community. The Comprehensive Plan process is one of several opportunities to have your voice heard.

The Comprehensive Plan

The Comprehensive Plan is Durham’s strategy for how we want to grow and develop over the next 30 years. The plan will contain strategies on where and how development should occur. It will also guide how the City and County should provide public facilities and services to support future growth.

Since the development of our current Comprehensive Plan in 2005, Durham has added approximately 49,000 new jobs and 57,000 new residents. Over the next decade, we are projected to add an additional 19,000 jobs and 43,000 new residents. Durham is changing, and it is critical we have clear policies on a variety of issues for the future.

The City and County are undertaking this work using a racial equity lens. As a broad vision document, our Comprehensive Plan needs to be updated to address racial equity in our growth and development outcomes and to begin to address the historical inequities in past land use and transportation decisions. In order to do that we need to ensure that all voices are heard, and in particular the voices of vulnerable communities, those that have been traditionally underrepresented or not been heard at all.

What is a Comprehensive Plan?

A Comprehensive Plan is a broad policy document that outlines a community’s vision and recommendations for decision-making. This consolidated set of policies covers a range of areas that concern communities including: housing; health; education; development; environment; land use; transportation and others.

How will the process unfold?

This will be a multi-year community engagement process. There will be multiple opportunities to get involved and have your voice heard throughout the process.

Why should you participate?

Comprehensive Plan events will be informative and fun and allow members of the community to share ideas.

This is a special moment in time for the community and it won’t come around again for a number of years. Now is the time to come together to think creatively about the future of the city and county of Durham. The Comprehensive Plan will have a significant impact in shaping the community for years to come. Don’t miss out!

Join your neighbors in shaping how Durham will be a place where everyone can thrive. To do that we need to hear everyone’s voice. We invite everybody who cares about the future of Durham to get involved in this process and share your ideas.

No one knows the community like those of us who live or work here. The community’s authentic voices are essential to this planning process.

As someone who lives, works, owns a business, goes to school or simply cares about the future of Durham, your opinions and ideas are valued. We need to hear from you.

Who is involved?

Everyone! First and foremost, this is a community-centered process. Development of our new Comprehensive Plan is an important vehicle for stakeholders of all ages and walks of life (e.g. residents, business owners, people who work in Durham City-County, etc.) to help shape the future and help us communicate our values and priorities. To that end, a robust engagement strategy is being developed. Inviting everyone’s input is critical to the plan, specific groups involved include:


Widespread community involvement is vital to the Comprehensive Plan’s success. Guided by the Equitable Engagement Blueprint, an effort focused on equity to engage the voices of vulnerable communities, those that have been traditionally underrepresented or not been heard at all.

Communications Team

This team is tasked with developing motivating messages to create awareness of the engagement process in the community and provide guidance on the best communications channels so that everyone knows they have a choice to get involved.

Outreach Team

This team is tasked with collaborating with the planning department in forming the engagement process and encouraging the public to participate in the process.

Engagement Ambassadors

A select group of people from the Outreach Team, chosen because of their connections, are responsible for reaching out to underserved communities to make sure they are included in the process and that their voices are heard.


Input from various groups to inform specific aspects of the plan is gathered through a series of stakeholder meetings. These groups include local businesses, neighborhood organizations, education groups including local schools and universities, religious institutions, and non-profits, among others.

Joint City-County Planning Committee

The Joint City-County Planning Committee (JCCPC), which includes representatives from the City Council, Board of County Commissioners, and Planning Commission, provides guidance and direction on each phase of the process to ensure that recommendations and outcomes of the plan follow the community-developed values/guiding principles that are developed as part of the process.

Planning Commission

The Planning Commission, possibly through a dedicated subcommittee, is involved in the Plan’s Development.

City and County Staff

Planning staff is leading the coordination of the planning process. They are working with a variety of people from the City and County to support and help coordinate the work of all groups, as well as provide local knowledge and expertise.

Board Commissions and Committees

This group is comprised of representatives from Durham City and County boards, commissions and committees. The groups were asked to ensure that at least one serving member acts as their group’s representative. Representatives are responsible for participating in quarterly meetings, sharing meeting information back with their group, engaging and encouraging group members to engage with the Comprehensive Plan efforts, gathering insight and expertise from respective board/commission/committee, and reporting insight gathered back with Comprehensive Planning staff. This group will provide specific insight and expertise into Comprehensive Plan topics that will help shape Durham’s future.

Elected Officials

Although the JCCPC is the primary touchpoint for the project with elected officials, there will be periodic involvement of the full governing boards throughout the process. All elected officials from the City Council and the Board of County Commissioners are invited to participate in the JCCPC discussions of the project.

Comprehensive Plan Team

The Policy and Urban Design (PUD) team, which is part of the Durham City-County Planning Department, is responsible for delivering the Durham 2050 Comprehensive Plan. The PUD team is comprised of 7 team members. Additionally, the PUD team is working with the Durham Innovation Team (part of the Office of Performance and Innovation) and Neighborhood Improvement Services to develop equitable community engagement strategies.

Staff Technical Team

The Staff Technical Team is comprised of staff nominated by various City and County departments. The goal of working with this group is to understand how each City and County department operates and join forces to create the new Comprehensive Plan process. At the most recent meeting, technical team members synthesized all the plans the City and County departments have created and currently use. Additionally, planning staff have been conducting meetings with specific departments to promote interdepartmental collaboration, learn about unique department operations, and collaborate on process improvements that can be worked on now or incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan.