Self-storage facilities used to hide in the shadows, mostly low-slung, metal sheds spread out over a few acres of asphalt. But over the past decade, newer designs mean multistory buildings in visible places. Can these buildings fit into an urban context?
Each year thousands of people in Charlotte lose their homes to eviction. It’s not just a symptom of larger issues – high child care and transportation costs, rising rents and low wages – but can start a cascade of financial woes.
The concept dates to the early days in America: Shared common spaces along with smaller, private family dwellings. Today, cohousing neighborhoods don’t fit easily into typical development regulations. The second podcast in our Talk of the Towns series features Robert Boyer, a UNC Charlotte assistant professor who studies cohousing.
Develop a historical asset map. Improve physical connections to public spaces and neighborhoods. Assess businesses’ needs. Explore whether to list the neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places. Those ideas and more make up the 2016 Tactical Plan for the Historic West End Initiative.
Most of the ideas about SouthPark from a group of out-of-town development experts were what you’d hope to hear: create connections, try public-private partnerships, build a better public realm. But a few comments might raise questions or even baffle some Charlotteans. Commentary.
For decades, the complex challenge of housing low-income Charlotteans has inspired studies, public debate, policy changes and other actions.This essay traces how the challenges—and responses to them—have changed, and what the future might bring. Commentary.
The political and community debate over Interstate 77 raises a larger question: whether we as a region can move beyond a “business as usual” approach in seeking solutions and instead embrace new concepts about how we live and how we choose to travel around our region. Commentary.
The efforts vary from city to city. Kannapolis, for instance, bought 50 acres of downtown property. Initiatives to revitalize downtowns across the Carolinas range from renovating aging buildings to building museums to trying to lure private hotel developers.
The old planners’ joke is that Americans hate two things for their cities—urban sprawl and high density. PlanCharlotte examined where in this metro region multifamily is, and where it isn’t. Some communities, hoping to attract more Millennials, want more multifamily. Others’ long-range plans discourage multifamily development.
You can add the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission to the local voices expressing concern about development moving rapidly as the city’s process to rewrite its aging zoning code moves far slower.
A proposal working its way through the city zoning process could create something new for Charlotte: a special kind of zoning designed specifically for one neighborhood, in this instance a part of South End that's touting its gold-mining history.
A torrent of development in some older Charlotte neighborhoods is wiping out more and more of the small, older buildings. This creates a significant, if little-recognized, problem for an entrepreneurial economy. Why is this happening, and what can be done? Commentary
When the Common Market leaves its South End spot next year, it will mean the loss not only of the market, which can reopen elsewhere, but the loss of its courtyard—a small spot of urban magic of a sort almost impossible to find in the city any more. Commentary
Like many cities, Charlotte has a goal of encouraging mixed-use development, after decades of conventional zoning practices that separate uses. PlanCharlotte took a look at zoning throughout the city to see how single-use zoning compares with mixed-use zoning.
Charlotte’s apartment boom plus development in popular areas like Plaza Midwood and NoDa are generating questions by residents about why new development looks the way it does and whether it could be better. Yes, it could be better, but that requires a different kind of zoning ordinance. Commentary
Ten years after devastating floods, New Orleans is proof a city is a hard thing to kill. Roberta Brandes Gratz, in We're Still Here Ya Bastards: How the People of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City, burrows into the city’s revival and concludes small, incremental, community-led rebirth offers the best hope of success.
As an important block on Camden Road faces likely development, its recent history reveals a complex narrative of a once-derelict area and a man with a vision, and shows how success changes a neighborhood. Commentary.
A dedicated Charlotte urbanist confronts a choice when house-hunting: Walkable urbanity in the heart of town, or affordable homes with the assurance of good schools in an auto-dependent suburban area? Commentary.
Since I celebrated the launch of Charlotte’s streetcar I’ve cringed as the news media got it wrong and people made fun of it. If more people understood its value to neglected areas and to the whole city’s future, more people would support it. Commentary.
When the final leg of I-485 opened in June, motorists cheered its unclogged lanes. But a look at traffic count data for the outerbelt segments that opened 20 years ago in south Mecklenburg indicates that unclogged lanes may be a temporary condition.
The building of I-485 was one of the forces shaping Mecklenburg County growth patterns over a quarter century. Some areas near I-485 grew more than 1,000 percent. Our interactive map shows 30 years of population growth in Mecklenburg and nearby counties.
Charlotte leaders have been talking about the outerbelt, Interstate 485, for decades. While most residents were concerned primarily with what it would mean for drive times, planners and others spent time contemplating the highway's effect on the area's growth. A sampling of comments over the years.
Although originating in British and European concepts, U.S. land use zoning today differs markedly from other countries. A new book explores how zoning codes reveal American values and prompts concern about coming challenges. Book review/commentary.
A bill in the General Assembly would end a decades-old provision for rezonings, the protest petition. It lets nearby property owners force a supermajority City Council vote on a rezoning. Read two opposing views: Dilworth resident Jill Walker opposes the bill; Joe Padilla of the Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition supports it.
A handful of neighboring property owners could no longer defeat proposed development project that is supported by, and in the best interest of, the larger community. Joe Padilla argues for a proposal to scrap protest petitions.
Development in North Carolina is doing just fine. Maintaining the protest petition helps ensure that the few projects that are grossly inconsistent with zoning regulations will be properly vetted. Jill Walker argues against a proposal to scrap protest petition.
Just when many demographers were speculating that suburban growth was waning, the latest Census Bureau population estimates show a rebound. In the Charlotte region, for the first time since 2010, adjacent counties' growth rates have leapfrogged Mecklenburg's.
After three years of citizen engagement, which led to a Regional Growth Framework for the Charlotte region, the CONNECT Our Future initiative moves into implementation, including a set of 31 quality-of-life indicators, now available online.
Planners and others say alcohol sales are a primary catalyst for attracting the development of restaurants and stores. Government officials like the extra tax revenue. But in some places, voters still say no.
The first major survey of Charlotte historic resources in 30 years says demolition and development have shrunk historic sections of three local historic districts. It also recommends possibly adding more historic districts, especially in northwest Charlotte.
In cities and counties surrounding Charlotte, tensions are swirling over rapid residential growth and – especially – how to pay for it. Can their low tax rates support urban services new residents want? (Explore interactive maps.)
Since the 2008 housing crash, there’s been talk of Americans downsizing and Millennials rejecting large houses. But recent U.S. Census data show that in the Charlotte area, homes only got bigger after 2000.
When Lake Norman flooded parts of four counties in 1963 a 660-acre area of Mecklenburg County was cut off from the rest of the county. It was accessible only by boat or a 12-mile trip through Iredell County. This became a source of conflict between Iredell and Mecklenburg counties for decades before the two counties reached a solution in 1997.