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"My department chair said that Shaw University would like me to conduct a workshop to study their plans for expansion, but they didn’t tell me that there was a freeway plan to run through the city called the North-South Expressway. I found out it was not only going to run through the city, but it was going to consume a lot of the lands of the Southside area and Shaw University… In the third day of my workshop, we got taken over by a young black leader from Columbia University. We had to go home. There was nothing we could do. What happened is that a black architect from Memphis came down and with the citizens, they plotted the Southside future. The North-South Freeway was eliminated in that plan. What we see today is an evolution of the four plans we developed then."
– Peter Batchelor
Peter Batchelor, originally from Canada, came to North Carolina State University from the University of Pennsylvania to be a professor of Architecture and Urban Design in the College of Design in 1968. During his second year at NCSU, he and his students were invited to lead an urban planning workshop (which he refers to in his story as a “charrette”) for Shaw University and those living in the adjacent Southside neighborhood. Shaw University was hoping to expand its campus. Unbeknownst to Batchelor, a plan for the North-South Freeway was on the table, a plan that threatened Shaw University and Southside.
Over a thousand people attended the four-day event. While Batchelor’s charrette was overtaken by a young African American man who flew down from Columbia University on the last day, and all of the whites expelled from the venue, the remaining group helped develop a transportation plan that would eventually replace the North-South Freeway plan. Batchelor’s efforts were recognized by the Chancellor and this model of working with citizen groups to develop urban planning gained recognition and traction.