Planning & design

What makes a good city? You need the right codes

Image from draft South End Vision Plan showing a vision for South Boulevard at Rensselaer Avenue 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.

Five Points, like Belmont, to get taste of tactical urbanism

A group of people sits at pop-up furniture at the September Better Block event in Belmont. Photo: Lela Ijames Another neighborhood, this time in West End, will showcase its potential with a day of pop-up improvements.

An almost car-free suburb, where kids roam free

Street view of colorful commercial area in Vauban, a neighborhood of Freiburg, Germany. Photo: Martin Zimmerman 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.

What makes a good city? Urban design, explained

Sidewalk cafes with lights and trees in Denver's Restaurant Row. How can we distinguish between good development proposals and the not-so-good? First in a series of illustrated essays explaining urban design principles.

9 ways (and more) Charlotte could be a better city

Group seated at parklet on North Tryon St. in 2014 What would famous urban observer Jane Jacobs advise Charlotte in 2017? We asked local planners and city thinkers.

To build a better city, start with building a better block

Group in front of Better Block project in Middlebury Better Block founder Jason Roberts wants neighborhood improvement from the bottom up. He’ll speak in Charlotte July 11.

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.