Public Interest Projects, Inc ( PIP ) is a for profit business and real estate development firm located in Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville, a small city in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, serves as the regional center for the mountain area of the state. The region has, for many years, suffered economically. Good jobs are scarce, particularly for more educated workers. The region, however, is blessed with a great climate, a beautiful natural environment, and an exceptional group of architecturally and historically significant buildings, particularly in Asheville's downtown. While the economy of the region must grow, the current mode of development, with its accompanying suburban sprawl and automobile dependency, represents a serious threat to the community's economic future as well as its natural and man-made resources. In Asheville, as in the rest of the nation's urban areas, the overall pattern of working and living is seen by many as neither healthy nor satisfying. Many question its sustainability. All of these challenges for US cities are occurring against a backdrop of rapid change in the workplace brought on by the development of the global marketplace and advances in computers and telecommunications.