Downtown Revitalization

Mar 29, 2017
If you’re thinking downtowns are dead, you haven’t been paying attention. I recently got an earful of downtown success stories from across the state. 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. 
Oct 15, 2014
It is easy to forget that Detroit was a city on top of the world 50 years ago. Charlotte is not Detroit, but the recession brought a reality check. Did it bring the resolve to fight the complacency that comes with success?
Sep 10, 2014
Several local governments in the N.C. Piedmont are considering moving offices out of downtown. Those plans worry downtown development officials and business owners, who fear downtown vitality will be lost.
Aug 19, 2014
This installment in our series of planner interviews heads to Rock Hill, where Bill Meyer describes how the city has encouraged a mixed-use development at the old Celanese plant site, revitalized downtown and is looking at its long-range planning. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Aug 12, 2014
Could downtown Cornelius one day be home to an artsy district like Charlotte’s NoDa or Asheville’s River Arts District? As a tap room prepares to open next month, some local arts supporters are enthusiastic about what they’re calling Old Town Cornelius.
Jul 15, 2014
Salisbury hopes to draw new residents to downtown, a key to increasing the customer base for stores and restaurants, says Salisbury Planning Director Janet Gapen. The city's other big push: remaking some streets so they are safer for pedestrians. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Jun 19, 2014
PlanCharlotte kicks off an occasional series of conversations with planners around the metro region. The first visit is with Keith Wolf of Albemarle, a town dealing with slow population growth. (Photo: Chuck McShane) 
May 20, 2014
Burnsville and Morganton beat out Charlotte-area places to become the 2014 People's Choice winners in the APA-NC's "Great Places in N.C." contest. (Photo: Linda Brown)
Apr 30, 2014
From now through May 9, the public can vote from among four Charlotte-area places as part of the Great Places in N.C. contest from the N.C Chapter of the American Planning Association. (Photo: John Chesser)
Feb 24, 2014
We know North Carolina is filled with great places. Here's your chance to suggest places that deserve public recognition and celebration. The N.C. Chapter of the American Planning Association wants nominations from the public for Great Main Street and Great Public Place. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Feb 12, 2014
The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan applied research institute offering consulting services and public outreach for more than 40 years. We provide research and information to help the public understand the Charlotte region. Through our websites we offer articles and data on a range of issues that could be useful to neighborhood groups. (Image: Dylan McKnight) 
Oct 08, 2013
An artists’ colony in downtown Gastonia? That may sound far-fetched to those who remember Gastonia's textile mill past. But the Community Foundation of Gaston County is working with the nonprofit Artspace to build a project in Gastonia by 2016. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Aug 08, 2013
Whether you recall the old “inner city” image of poverty and dysfunction, or today's hipster downtowns, both images focus on the central core. That’s one of the biggest challenges facing U.S. cities today: the need to address the whole urban organism of city plus suburb plus exurb. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Mar 21, 2013
Two of the region's main streets have won this year’s Great Places in North Carolina competition. Union Street in Concord and Main Street in Davidson were recognized among the state’s top downtowns in a competition from the N.C. chapter of the American Planning Association.(Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Feb 06, 2013
As breweries sprout across the Charlotte region, an industry group of local brewers and beer lovers is working with Charlotte planners to make city zoning more beer-friendly. (Photo: NoDa Brewing)
Jan 15, 2013
Are urban growth boundaries effective tools for curbing sprawl, or an infringement of property rights?
Dec 06, 2012
Ghosts and cities often occur together, and not only in fiction. Kevin Lynch writes about how we "read" cities. Many descriptions of our surroundings are accompanied by the ghosts of what used to be there. Changes can leave scars on our mental map.
Oct 31, 2012
The big picture may have gotten buried Tuesday as Charlotte City Council members chewed on, and chewed and chewed on, different alternative revenue strategies that might enable the city to build the second leg of its proposed streetcar.
Oct 17, 2012
Eleven Charlotte neighborhoods have developed plans that organizers say will chart a better – and more sustainable – course for the future. Neighborhoods as diverse as a condominium tower in Myers Park to suburban commuter areas to lower-income urban neighborhoods will receive grants to help them achieve their vision.
Aug 29, 2012
After he and his family have bought property in uptown Charlotte for two decades and made plans for its future, developer Daniel Levine has partnered with Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to build a public park and two parking decks in First Ward. He talks with PlanCharlotte about why he hasn't, until now, moved forward with development.
Jun 07, 2012
This article supports plans to build a new ballpark for the Charlotte Knights uptown. Read architect Murray Whisnant's article opposing the idea here. A new Charlotte Knights stadium uptown will be a catalyst for urban development, add to the character of the cityscape and let families and...
Jun 05, 2012
Missing from recent discussion about granting more public money for a privately developed baseball park in Third Ward is any talk about the potential advantages of using the land for public purposes year-round. Architect Murray Whisnant would save the Virginia Paper Co. building and build an Energy Park.
Jun 05, 2012
What does uptown Charlotte need more: a baseball stadium or a large public park dedicated to showcase energy technology and local food? As the Charlotte City Council prepares to vote on using $7.25 million in city money to help the Charlotte Knights build a ballpark, Charlotte architects Murray Whisnant and Marley Carroll take opposing positions.  
May 07, 2012
The Charlotte neighborhoods of Belmont and Villa Heights are experiencing an influx of white, professional residents in search of affordable housing close to uptown. Piedmont Courts, a housing project that dates to the 1940s, is gone, and crime is declining.  Click here to read the article...
May 04, 2012
How has uptown Charlotte changed in the past century? An interactive graphic shows you how the 1911 urban pattern of small lots and small buildings has become a modern quilt of big projects filling whole blocks.
Apr 13, 2012
Organizers this weekend will publicly launch the Charlotte Urban Farm Project, planting crops Saturday on a vacant uptown plot. It’s part of a larger venture that organizers hope will cultivate a greater sense of community as it brings together refugees and others to grow fresh, local food at sites throughout the city.
Apr 12, 2012
Davidson and Salisbury are among six finalists for a People’s Choice award in a contest intended to recognize North Carolina’s best Main Streets. Voting ends April 30.
Apr 11, 2012
The farmer points toward a long stretch of turned earth warming in the sun. Tomatoes and squash will grow well there, and more crops over there. Behind him, fruit trees cast shadows. It’s bucolic enough you almost forget the steady buzz of traffic behind you. Because this farmer is, in fact, a store owner, and this farm is in downtown Matthews.
Mar 27, 2012
New York City and Gastonia don’t, at first glance, appear to have much in common. Yet both can offer an example of “urbanism.” And both suffered harm from well-intentioned “progress.” Charlotte architect Terry Shook reminisces ...
Mar 12, 2012
Know a great Main Street in North Carolina? Nominate it for an award from the state chapter of the American Planning Association. The chapter hopes to recognize and celebrate some of the state’s overlooked or under-appreciated downtowns. The contest has three categories:...
Feb 24, 2012
Around the Charlotte region, many downtowns share similar histories: A long-ago heyday followed by decay as dollars and foot traffic flowed to suburban malls and interstate eateries.
Sep 08, 2011
It took years, multiple political strategies, a bond vote, patience, weathering a brutal and ongoing economic downturn, more patience, and – finally – a multimedia event under a tent on a hot asphalt parking lot. But last Friday, ground was broken for a new uptown park.