Opinion

The PlanCharlotte.org Opinion page is open to a wide range of views. Opinion pieces are labeled as commentary and are the opinions of the writers, not necessarily those of PlanCharlotte.org, the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute or the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. A PlanCharlotte link to another website does not mean we or the university endorse the opinions expressed or take any responsibility for content on outside websites.

Want to submit? PlanCharlotte.org is open to considering content from outside writers. We require factual accuracy and civil discourse. To learn more, contact Mary Newsom, mnewsom@uncc.edu or 704-687-1203, or mail to Mary Newsom, UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte NC 28223.


  • Symphony Park at SouthPark. July 3, 2011. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    Experts: SouthPark needs vision, stronger design and champions

    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.
  • Ashton apartments in South End. Photo: David Walters

    In Charlotte housing debate, let’s look at underlying factors

    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.
  • Gil Penalosa leads South Meck High School  students across Park Rd. where there is a  need for safe crosswalks connecting to the Southminster retirement facility . Photo: Juan Ossa.

    Has Charlotte shifted toward welcoming cyclists, pedestrians?

    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
  • Tommy's Pub on Central Avenue in Plaza Midwood. Photo: Google Maps

    Can Plaza Midwood save the places that matter? 4 tools that might help

    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
  • Central Avenue multifamily. Photo: David Walters

    For better designed development, we’re going to need a better code

    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
  • Gaines Brown on South End lot used for food truck Fridays. Photo: David Walters

    Change is coming to South End. Don't blame Gaines Brown

    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 reimagined Fairview Road at SouthPark. Image: Bella Tang/Stantec

    Six ways to turn SouthPark into a great urban neighborhood

    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.
  • Mecklenburg subdivision 2005. Nancy Pierce photo

    Confessions from the cul-de-sac

    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.
  • Charlotte streetcar is launched July 14. Photo: Erin Chantry

    The Charlotte streetcar: Y’all have got it wrong

    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.
  • I-77 congestion. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    I-77 toll debate is missing the most important question

    When asked whether I support the I-77 toll lane, my response is yes, but it won’t make a difference. Extra lanes will fill with more cars. We should be discussing mobility, not just highways. Commentary.