Davidson Planned, Davidson Imagined:
A Case Study in Town Planning and Theories of Community
In June 2001, the Town of Davidson, North Carolina passed a land ordinance to control development projects in the town limits and in its extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). The ordinance drew heavily from smart growth planning trends and faced strong dissent from town members and landowners in the ETJ. Through an analysis of the ordinance and conversations with stakeholders involved in the process of its creation, this paper gives voice to the diverse perspectives in Davidson leading up to 2001 and examines the conflicting notions of community that manifested in this case study. The paper follows a constructivist grounded theory methodology and uses a triangulation of theoretical scholarship, archival research, and in-depth interviews to guide an analysis of the ordinance’s creation as a case study in conceptualizing community. As a case study rooted in community studies scholarship, this research provides insight into larger questions of community and community development through the planning and zoning regulation process.