Asheville is the nucleus of a bioregional endeavor known as the HUB project. The mission of HUB is to synergize the diverse resources in the area into viable economic clusters, for job creation.

Speaking before the Buncombe County Commissioners, Acting Director Dr. David Brown told how the HUB movers and shakers had determined that they would be a “catalyst and convener for implementing agencies.” The current strategy is to focus on creating a climate cluster. Having a focus helped people start “rowing in the same direction.”

HUB saw Asheville as a great place to build a climate cluster because it is home to the National Climatic Data Center. Brown explained that small businesses could “buy and refocus climate data to sell to the world, to festivals around the world and airports.” It was assumed the climate data would help with more accurate weather predictions.

To facilitate development of the climate cluster, it was visioned that small businesses could also network with the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. UNC-Asheville could also start a master’s program entitled, “Climate and Society.”

The first phase of the project would cost about $890,000. It is expected that federal and state funds will be available by the time the project reaches its third, multimillion dollar phase.

Most importantly, the commissioners were asked to provide “enforced collaboration.” Brown noted that the HUB was not a bank, and organizations, “won’t take painful actions unless pushed by that group that funds them.”