PLANNING

Dec 07, 2017
With growth continuing apace, planning commissioners are urging a speedier process for retooling Charlotte’s new zoning ordinance.
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.
Nov 30, 2017
A workshop Dec. 5 will ask Charlotteans to envision what they want their community to look like.
Nov 30, 2017
How can we stop design and planning mistakes from damaging our city? Part 2 in a series of illustrated essays on urban design. Commentary from David Walters.
Nov 08, 2017
Another neighborhood, this time in West End, will showcase its potential with a day of pop-up improvements.
Oct 24, 2017
Can a suburban area be truly green? One city in Germany offers lessons in building a family-friendly environment with a small carbon footprint. Commentary.
Oct 12, 2017
How can we distinguish between good development proposals and the not-so-good? First in a series of illustrated essays explaining urban design principles.
Sep 08, 2017
What would famous urban observer Jane Jacobs advise Charlotte in 2017? We asked local planners and city thinkers.
Jul 05, 2017
Better Block founder Jason Roberts wants neighborhood improvement from the bottom up. He’ll speak in Charlotte July 11.
Jun 30, 2017
In addition to studying how to accommodate growing ethnic diversity – needed in many cities, not just Houston and Charlotte – there’s another lesson Houston might hold for Charlotte: Finding the money to build out an ambitious greenway plan. They call them bayous. We call them creeks. But both...
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.
May 17, 2017
A proposed new bicycle plan for Charlotte hits the mark in many ways. But without dedicated funding, will it be merely a feel-good exercise? Commentary. 
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. 
Mar 13, 2017
When more people bicycle, we all win – even those who never ride. Diving into the results from a Charlotte bicycling survey offers clues to some existing inequities. Commentary.
Dec 07, 2016
Charlotte for years has had a love-hate view of Atlanta, envying its vigor but not its sprawl and traffic congestion. Last year a Charlottean became Atlanta’s planning director. Tim Keane grew up in Charlotte and went on to be planning director in Davidson, and Charleston. In this interview he offers his thoughts on Charlotte, Charleston and Atlanta.
Dec 07, 2016
Charlotte for years has had a love-hate view of Atlanta, with civic leaders envying their fellow southeastern metro for its big-city status, achieved decades earlier than Charlotte’s. But sprawling growth and traffic congestion in the Georgia capital city fuel a We Don’t Want To Become Like Atlanta...
Nov 23, 2016
How can Charlotte rework its zoning and development ordinances so they produce the kind of places that plans – and residents – say they prefer? Planners want to hear from you.
Nov 23, 2016
Can lower South End survive the large-scale cookie-cutter development now ravaging South End and NoDa? David Walters offers a way forward, based on lessons from Des Moines. Yes, Des Moines. Commentary.
Nov 15, 2016
Charlotte's tree canopy faces serious long-term threats. An urban forestry management plan in the works would encourage more public involvement and education.
Nov 04, 2016
Decisions made decades ago ensured that almost all of Mecklenburg County would be open to development. 
Sep 07, 2016
Transportation planning in the greater Charlotte region is split among five planning groups. Will a federal push to consolidate make a difference?
Aug 29, 2016
Read the interview or listen to the podcast: Charlotte may be fast-growing but growth rates in nearby Lancaster County. S.C., are through the roof. We talk with Lancaster County Planning Director Penelope G. Karagounis about the influx of suburban spillover development. 
Jul 25, 2016
What would you tell architects that they need to understand about cities? Commentary.
Jul 05, 2016
As a student in 1974, I had no idea Ron Morgan would have such an impact on my life, the lives of many others, and the trajectory of physical form and civic life in Charlotte and the region. Commentary.
Jun 29, 2016
Podcast and Q/A interview: Owen Furuseth, retired UNC Charlotte associate provost for Metropolitan Studies, researched open space preservation, neighborhoods and immigration. He talks with PlanCharlotte about his work.
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.
May 10, 2016
Podcast: Kannapolis is unlike any other N.C. municipality. For decades it was owned by Cannon Mills. But as textiles faded, its fortunes sagged. Last year, the city bought downtown, to spur revival. Our first Talk of the Towns podcast features Planning Director Zac Gordon.
Apr 26, 2016
Street Fight, a new book about New York’s efforts to improve pedestrian and bicycle amenities, is also relevant to Charlotte or any city feeling the tension between today’s auto-addicted culture and a growing chorus wanting more balance in the transportation system.
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.
Apr 06, 2016
Are you new to North Carolina and hoping to discover one of the state’s great main streets? Or are you a long-time resident searching for a new place to explore? Want other North Carolinians to know about the great places in your town? The state’s professional planners want to hear from you about N.C. places you love.
Apr 05, 2016
You probably know places you like. And you probably don't know whether they're MUDD-O, R-22MF or UR-2(CD). A new approach to zoning lets us envision places we like and then come up with ordinances that allow us to build them—without the arcane letters we’re used to. Commentary.
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 17, 2016
As Charlotte city planners undertake a revamp of the zoning code—as rapid development continues—a detailed time line presented to a City Council committee might shave as much as a year off the lengthy process.
Jan 20, 2016
Could Charlotte’s SouthPark mall area grow into a place of city-style rather than suburban-style neighborhoods? UNC Charlotte graduate students envision a different look for the area.
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.
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.
Dec 02, 2015
It’s been six weeks since “complete streets” advocate Gil Penalosa arrived in Charlotte for a visit and multiple presentations. And I got a sense that an important corner had been turned for this city built primarily for cars. Commentary
Nov 16, 2015
“You're an architect! Can you tell me why all these new buildings are so ugly?” If I earned $100 each time I’ve answered that question in the last few months, I could treat my wife to a vacation in Tuscany. Commentary.
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
Aug 26, 2015
When SouthPark mall was built decades ago, it was a suburban shopping mall at the edge of the city. Today it's a booming area with new, mixed-use projects. So why doesn't it feel more like an urban place? Six tips for how to transform SouthPark. 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 13, 2015
The City of Charlotte is offering an official process for building a parklet—a tiny public space perched inside on-street parking places. It's a form of “tactical urbanism,” small projects aimed at improving city life for residents.
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.