Monday Mitch Silver took off for China, where he will speak in three cities in seven days, attend conferences and meet city officials.

Next Tuesday he comes to Chapel Hill, and if you can possibly make it to Town Hall at 5:30 pm on Nov. 22, you should come and find out for yourself why people all over the world want to hear what Mitch Silver says.

I recently heard his presentation, “What You Need to Know about the Demographic in the 21st Century”, and my first thought was, Wouldn’t it be great if all the people participating in Chapel Hill 2020 could hear this?

Well, they — and that means YOU — certainly can. This gregarious and in-demand city planner is coming to help us with our 2020 thinking. The presentation is in Council Chambers and, with Q&A, should last 60-90 minutes.

Mitch is the president of the American Planning Association and the Chief Planning and Economic Development Officer and Planning Director for the City of Raleigh.

He encourages cities and towns to rethink the places we plan for and be mindful of trends that have never happened before. For example, the South is now the destination of choice. North Carolina is a Top Ten state, and he predicts it will be seventh most populous state by 2030.

Mitch wants people who are planning for the future to be aware of the demographic re-mix of the 21st century. For example:

  • By 2030, the number of people over 65 will increase by 124 percent;
  • By 2025, there will be as many single person households as multiple person households;
  • Marriage rates are at the lowest recorded levels and four of 10 kids are born out of wedlock;
  • By 2042, the white population will be less than 50 percent of the US population.

Know what’s ahead, Mitch says: “Don’t build a Polaroid camera community for a digital generation.”

He has an entertaining and insightful presentation on generations in America, including Gens X, Y and Z.

And he’s promised to include a slide on Chapel Hill — an analysis of our demographics and his thoughts on how this might influence our new comprehensive plan. If you haven’t attended a Chapel Hill 2020 session yet, please join us this Saturday, Nov. 19, at 10:30 am at Chapel Hill High School. You’ll hear a report on progress thus far and you’ll have the opportunity to react to that work, take it further and make it better. And you’ll have even more great questions for Mitch Silver on Nov. 22.