Charlotte’s tree canopy is generally healthy, but it’s facing new threats. For instance, the group TreesCharlotte planted some 4,000 trees last year. But during that same time, billboard companies were cutting down more than that number in Charlotte, thanks to a new state law. Statewide, approvals for tree clearing have shot up nearly 410 percent.
You’d think I would have known better. I’ve been writing about growth since before they called it Smart Growth. I can’t count how often I’ve explained that when you decide where you want urban growth to go, you must also decide where you don’t want it to go. That’s why the regional planning exercise made for an eye-opening glimpse of the real world.
Density is important in making neighborhoods walkable, but other things are, too, says author Julie Campoli. Her new book helps readers understand the role of elements such as short blocks, street trees and nearby neighborhood-oriented services.
“When we built our first light rail line people thought it was a Communist conspiracy,” Robert J. Grow of Envision Utah told a crowd of 400-some Charlotte region residents. Now, he said, “There isn't a city in Utah that isn't trying to get the rail to come.” His remarks came during a daylong exercise, RealityCheck2050, part of the CONNECT process, a 14-county regional planning endeavor. The idea was to let regional participants plan for thousands of expected new jobs and houses.
Mecklenburg County residents can add one more item to the growing list of uses for their smartphones: reporting water pollution.
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