Austin-Raleigh used to be the comparison made in #econdev circles. Increasingly I'm hearing Austin-Asheville.
Asheville falls well within my Appalachian Chic model. The cities ringing the fringes of Appalachia are doing remarkably well and represent significant frontier geographic opportunities. Asheville reminds me more of Bend or Boulder than Austin. A big draw is the beautiful mountain environment and the abundant recreational opportunities. Western Carolina has long attracted retirees seeking an alternative to Florida. Missing was a true economic spark.
What has changed?