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The Piedmont Crescent is a large urbanized region in the U.S. states of North Carolinamarker and South Carolinamarker that forms the northern section of the rapidly developing I-85 Corridor megalopolis in the southeastern United States.

Forming the shape of a crescent, the region is located in the central Piedmont area of the state and stretches northeast from metropolitan Charlottemarker, through the Piedmont Triad cities of Greensboromarker and Winston-Salemmarker at its center, to metropolitan Raleighmarker-Durhammarker and the Research Triangle area at its eastern edge. The region is experiencing rapid population and economic growth (acutely in the Charlotte and Raleigh areas) and is notable as the fourth largest manufacturing region in the country, as well as an international center of banking and finance, textiles, biotech and high technology.

The region includes seven of North Carolina's eight largest cities and encompasses many smaller cities, towns and suburbanized areas, as well as the metropolitan centers of the Piedmont Triad, Research Triangle, and Charlotte Metrolina. Seven major universities—Dukemarker, NC Statemarker, UNC Chapel Hillmarker, UNC Charlottemarker, Wake Forestmarker, UNC-Greensboro,and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State Universitymarker—and three international airports (CLT, RDU and PTImarker), as well as the world-renowned Research Triangle Parkmarker, also are located in the region, whose three Combined Statistical Areas have a total population of about 5.9 million people (Charlotte, 2.6 million; Raleigh-Durham, 1.7 million; Greensboro—Winston-Salem, 1.6 million), together representing over 63% of the state's total population.

The Piedmont Crescent name is thought to have been coined when the North Carolina Railroad company first laid tracks through the area in 1855-56. The railway, which was named the "Piedmont Crescent Railroad", brought extensive growth to the communities along its route which evolved to encompass today's interlinked urbanized region. Although the freight and passenger rail corridor remains of critical importance, the region's Interstate 85 and Interstate 40 freeway system serves as its primary transportation link today.

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References

  1. Charlotte Chamber of Commerce: Charlotte, Center of the Nation's 4th Largest Manufacturing Region
  2. Source: US Bureau of the Census, Annual Estimates of the Population Table CBSA-EST2007-02
  3. NCSU Chass - 4th Grade Lessons: Chapter 4, The Piedmont Region (pg. 65)



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