Land development

Cohousing: Square peg development in a round-hole world

Aracadia, a cohousing development in Carrboro, N.C. Photo: Robert Boyer 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.

Historic West End: What’s next for area near JCSU?

Johnson C. Smith University gates overlook Five Points intersection. Google Street View 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.

Experts: SouthPark needs vision, stronger design and champions

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

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

Ashton apartments in South End. Photo: David Walters 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.

Our living patterns, not I-77 asphalt, hold key to solving congestion

I-485 at Providence Road. Photo: Nancy Pierce 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.

More N.C., S.C. cities eye downtowns for development potential

Downtown Kannapolis. West First St., Gem Theatre. Photo: Google Street View 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. 

How prevalent is multifamily throughout the Charlotte region?

Cureton development in Waxhaw, mix of condos and single family homes in a planned community Photo: Nancy Pierce 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.

Concerned at pace of development, planning commission weighs in

View of Charlotte from CATS Bland Street Station in Southend. Photo: John Chesser 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.

South End area with unique history wants new, unique zoning

Sign on Summit Avenue in South End highlights gold mine history. Photo: Mary Newsom 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.

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

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