Planning & design

Can Sun Belt sibling cities learn from each other?

Buffalo Bayou looking toward downtown Houston 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.

Is Charlotte’s bike plan update good enough?

Bikes parked in front of the Common Market in the Plaza Central neighborhood. Photo: Nancy Pierce 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. 

His plan: Help Charlotte manage its growth

Ed McKinney and a map 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. 

Survey offers guidance for biking equity in Charlotte

Bike rider amid the trees at Toby Creek Greenway through the UNC Charlotte campus. Photo: Nancy Pierce 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.

Raised in Charlotte, he now runs the planning show in Atlanta

Atlanta skyline. Photo: David Hunter [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons] 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.

Planners want public opinions on city places, land use

Image from a city presentation details how zoning and development requirements can help make a place welcoming - or not. Image: City of Charlotte 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.

Can Charlotte learn these lessons in time to save lower South End?

A refurbished corner store building in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo: David Walters 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.

How to safeguard Charlotte’s trees? Plan aims to support the canopy

Gingko trees in uptown Charlotte. Photo: Nancy Pierce Charlotte's tree canopy faces serious long-term threats. An urban forestry management plan in the works would encourage more public involvement and education.

An ’80s tale: How rural preservation didn’t happen

Pond in west Mecklenburg, owned by Sue Friday. Photo: Mary Newsom Decisions made decades ago ensured that almost all of Mecklenburg County would be open to development.