DEVELOPMENT

Sep 25, 2018
What with Lyft, Uber, dockless bike-share and electric scooters, urban travel is changing. Even the basic notion of a parking deck now gets more scrutiny. Commentary.
Aug 14, 2018
Two researchers conclude in a new article that many starter-home subdivisions in Charlotte, often built in industrial areas, saw neighborhood decline.
May 23, 2018
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?
Mar 28, 2018
What’s next for the old Eastland Mall site? A Charlotte City Council committee heard four proposals from development groups. Here are the proposals.
Mar 20, 2018
Saturday, interested members of the public can attend a free workshop to hear more about the initiative to improve and clarify the ordinances that govern development in Charlotte.
Dec 06, 2017
As Charlotte explores how to reorganize and update its development ordinances into one Unified Development Ordinance, the question arises whether the city also needs a new comprehensive plan.
Oct 17, 2017
Projections are for the Catawba-Wateree River watershed to reach its capacity to provide water to the growing Charlotte region by 2065. With no state laws managing water rights, what happens?
Sep 28, 2017
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.
Sep 08, 2017
What would famous urban observer Jane Jacobs advise Charlotte in 2017? We asked local planners and city thinkers.
Jul 18, 2017
Today’s urban crisis, writes Richard Florida, is as bad as the era of white-flight suburbanization and central city decay of the ’50s and ’60s. Book review.
Jun 30, 2017
One Sun Belt city was built on a swamp, the other on rolling Piedmont farmland. But Houston not only has some surprising similarities to Charlotte, it may offer a glimpse of the Queen City's future.
Jun 15, 2017
Population growth in Charlotte and Raleigh continues apace, driving rapid growth into areas nearby. Example: The historic city of Hickory is now smaller than the former hamlet of Huntersville.  
May 03, 2017
As Charlotte booms, how is the city’s planning department working to change city ordinances to bring them into the 21st century? An interview with interim Planning Director Ed McKinney. 
Dec 01, 2016
Are Millennials really so different from other generations? When it comes to housing preferences and opinions, the answer seems to be: Yes. And no.
Jun 21, 2016
The pace of growth in northern York County concerns residents, who worry officials aren’t paying enough attention to the environment or moving quickly enough to deal with problems.
Jun 09, 2016
In the booming South Carolina communities nudging the southern edges of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County a civil war of sorts is erupting over how to manage growth.
May 26, 2016
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.
Apr 20, 2016
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.
Mar 24, 2016
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.
Feb 02, 2016
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.
Jan 12, 2016
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.
Jan 05, 2016
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. 
Dec 14, 2015
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.
Dec 08, 2015
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.
Nov 04, 2015
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.
Oct 07, 2015
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
Oct 02, 2015
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
Sep 29, 2015
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.
Sep 11, 2015
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
Sep 09, 2015
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.
Sep 01, 2015
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.
Aug 05, 2015
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.
Jul 28, 2015
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.
Jul 23, 2015
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.
Jul 14, 2015
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.
Jul 08, 2015
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.
Jul 08, 2015
I-485’s last segment opened June 5, but for two decades its route lured development. A look at the road's past, with a map showing how it shaped Mecklenburg County growth patterns since the 1980s.
Jun 02, 2015
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. 
Apr 28, 2015
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. 
Apr 28, 2015
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. 
Apr 28, 2015
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.
Apr 15, 2015
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. 
Feb 18, 2015
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.
Jan 28, 2015
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.
Dec 11, 2014
A new kind of zoning code, called a form-based code, can stimulate development or deter it. Will it make approvals even more onerous, or streamline them? Commentary.
Dec 10, 2014
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.
Dec 02, 2014
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.)
Nov 04, 2014
As Charlotte looks to rewrite its zoning ordinance, there's talk of possibly using a form-based code. We interview urban design professor David Walters about what those codes are.
Oct 22, 2014
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.
Oct 15, 2014
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.