Happy Thursday! Here’s a few things on our mind today.

At last night’s town council meeting, there was a spirited debate about pickleball courts, and how the Town of Chapel Hill should think about equity when it comes to distributing ARPA funds. The town’s picklers have offered to raise as much as $400,000 if the town matches that amount, which would allow the town to build a pickleball complex. Pickleball is a popular and growing sport, but advocates of other recreational activities (such as skateboarding) might not have as many resources, or haven’t been made aware of ARPA funds being used as matching funds for private donations. No decision was made last night, and the Council will revisit the issue in September.

Until recently, many thought that it was only hard to find affordable housing in a few superstar cities, like San Francisco and New York. But, as Kendall Cotton of Helena, Montana writes in a Washington Post op-ed,  strict local zoning regulations are making it expensive to buy a home in places like Missoula, where the average home price is now $550,000. Helena enacted zoning reforms several years ago, like reducing lot size minimums (more on that below), and as a result has cheaper home prices than Missoula or Bozeman.

We love visualizations, particularly when they involve comparing differences between states. Here’s the average lot size of each state, including some surprising findings. Link courtesy of M. Nolan Gray.

In the last municipal election cycle, we helped increase turnout by over 20 percent. We're all volunteers who care deeply about Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and we're working to make Chapel Hill and Carrboro more vibrant, accessible, fun, and sustainable.  Please consider a small donation to help us keep our digital lights on, host events, and hire students to do data deep-dives.

Martin Johnson lives in Chapel Hill. He teaches film studies courses at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also a member of NEXT Chapel Hill-Carrboro and the Bicycle Alliance of Chapel...