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.


  • Housing on $20K a year: What Charlotte stats tell us

    It's hard to know which of the mountains of housing statistics really matter. To me, two important sets of numbers unlock the story. Commentary from Ken Szymanski. (Photo: Melissa Currie)
  • David Walters, a voice for urbanism, retires from teaching

    When you list the many people in Charlotte who've been prodding the city and region to grow in a more urban way, UNC Charlotte's David Walters should be among those at the top of that list. Next month, he'll retire from teaching. (Photo courtesy David Walters)
  • Car-free in Charlotte? It isn’t easy

    We've lived car-free in Charlotte since 2012, and it hasn't been easy, though we're saving money. Instead of "transportation choices," why don't cities adopt a bolder long-range goal: to make car-free living more than a novelty? (Photo: Claire Apaliski)
  • To stimulate airport area, invest in west Charlotte transit

    Charlotte leaders cite Crystal City, outside Washington, as a model for new development they envision west of the airport. But this vision misses what makes Crystal City work: mass transit. (Photo: Mariana Gil/EMBARQ Brasil)
  • A 'peak' of reflection

    Less than two weeks after an inspiring visit to Yosemite, I was back at Crowders Mountain State Park on the Kings Pinnacle Trail. I am grateful to have such a destination so near home, and from the top I often reflect on the rich history of the peaks and the Piedmont below. (Photo: Steve Copulsky)
  • Show up to connect our future

    Today (Oct. 24) is the last chance for members of the public in Mecklenburg County to add their voices to a series of workshops that are part of a Charlotte-region-wide effort to chart a future for ourselves. Commentary. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
  • How smart is your city, really?

    TORONTO – Maybe the game-changer is 3-D printing. Or maybe it’s “autonomous driving,” and we’ll never again have to parallel park. Maybe it’s “the Internet of everything.” In any case, it’s obvious big changes will be coming to cities worldwide. Commentary. (Photo: Niels Dejgaard)
  • Don’t derail transit areas with an auto mall

    A University City-area rezoning petition up for a public hearing Monday raises serious questions about whether the city can stand behind its plans for transit-friendly development along the proposed Blue Line Extension light rail line. (Photo: Martin Zimmerman)
  • Heed consultants, get on with zoning revamp

    Last month, consultants for the City of Charlotte delivered their assessment of the city’s zoning ordinance. The study came in two parts – an Assessment Report and an Approach Report. Like the two parts of the report, after reading it I had two reactions: encouraged, and anxious to see more meaningful action. Commentary. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
  • As cities revive, will ‘region’ ever be sexy?

    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)