Mecklenburg

Apr 12, 2016
Only a fraction of the Rosenwald Schools remain, reminders of a remarkable early 20th-century partnership of rural black communities in the South and a Jewish philanthropist from Chicago. Those remaining in Mecklenburg range from lovingly restored to painfully dilapidated.
Apr 05, 2016
You probably know places you like. And you probably don't know whether they're MUDD-O, R-22MF or UR-2(CD). A new approach to zoning lets us envision places we like and then come up with ordinances that allow us to build them—without the arcane letters we’re used to. Commentary.
Apr 01, 2016
Bus 1074, one of GM's “New Look” buses that debuted in Charlotte in 1972, has found new life, thanks to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission.
Mar 24, 2016
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.
Mar 08, 2016
Meet your neighbors, learn your city and hear stories of Charlotte neighborhoods. City Walks’ final weekend offers a Retro Uptown walk and a Rail Trail Slow Ride.
Mar 03, 2016
Two new, high-visibility bicycling campaigns rolled out this week, each an attempt to get more Charlotteans riding—and with more support from the city. The most obvious will be an Open Streets event this spring. 
Feb 24, 2016
What’s the state of air quality in Mecklenburg County today? A discussion with Brian Magi, a UNC Charlotte academic who studies air pollution. Part of the KEEPING WATCH on AIR initiative.
Feb 17, 2016
As Charlotte city planners undertake a revamp of the zoning code—as rapid development continues—a detailed time line presented to a City Council committee might shave as much as a year off the lengthy process.
Feb 02, 2016
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.
Jan 20, 2016
Could Charlotte’s SouthPark mall area grow into a place of city-style rather than suburban-style neighborhoods? UNC Charlotte graduate students envision a different look for the area.
Jan 12, 2016
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.
Jan 05, 2016
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. 
Dec 14, 2015
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.
Dec 08, 2015
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.
Dec 02, 2015
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
Nov 30, 2015
In what local preservationists call a major victory, a century-old depot—the deteriorating relic of a lost era of Charlotte-Gastonia passenger rail—will be moved a short distance and repaired.
Nov 12, 2015
Can Charlotte do a better job of making its humble bus stops a bit less humble? A Charlotte city official is posing that question, and working to bring some comfortable swings to bus stops on Central Avenue.
Nov 04, 2015
To be truly walkable, a neighborhood needs not just sidewalks but places for people to walk to, such as stores, restaurants, parks and libraries. An event this weekend aims to show residents of six neighborhoods that many destinations in the Plaza Midwood business district are within a short walk.
Oct 26, 2015
A mostly volunteer team of “citizen scientists” is helping Mecklenburg County track which bird species are reappearing, or disappearing as development changes the local habitat. An interview with naturalist Don Seriff.
Oct 07, 2015
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
Sep 29, 2015
Like many cities, Charlotte has a goal of encouraging mixed-use development, after decades of conventional zoning practices that separate uses. PlanCharlotte took a look at zoning throughout the city to see how single-use zoning compares with mixed-use zoning.
Sep 23, 2015
Three environmentally minded Charlotte entrepreneurs contemplated food waste and instead of seeing a stinky mess, they sniffed out potential for a new business focused on sustainability. Enter Crown Town Compost.
Sep 22, 2015
PlanCharlotte founder Mary Newsom, associate director at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, will speak Wednesday, Sept. 23, about changes in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood.
Sep 11, 2015
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
Aug 26, 2015
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.
Aug 10, 2015
Can’t wait for the Blue Line Extension? Watch it grow, in this photo slideshow of construction along the 9.3-mile, $1.16 billion light rail project that will link UNC Charlotte to uptown Charlotte, South End and all the way to I-485.
Jul 28, 2015
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.
Jul 23, 2015
When the final leg of I-485 opened in June, motorists cheered its unclogged lanes. But a look at traffic count data for the outerbelt segments that opened 20 years ago in south Mecklenburg indicates that unclogged lanes may be a temporary condition.
Jul 21, 2015
A UNC Charlotte geography professor asks students on the first day of class to draw a map of Charlotte. They’re free to draw whatever they want. The resulting drawings offer a provocative window into how our minds picture the place where we live.
Jul 14, 2015
The building of I-485 was one of the forces shaping Mecklenburg County growth patterns over a quarter century. Some areas near I-485 grew more than 1,000 percent. Our interactive map shows 30 years of population growth in Mecklenburg and nearby counties.
Jul 13, 2015
The City of Charlotte is offering an official process for building a parklet—a tiny public space perched inside on-street parking places. It's a form of “tactical urbanism,” small projects aimed at improving city life for residents.
Jul 08, 2015
Charlotte leaders have been talking about the outerbelt, Interstate 485, for decades. While most residents were concerned primarily with what it would mean for drive times, planners and others spent time contemplating the highway's effect on the area's growth. A sampling of comments over the years.
Jul 08, 2015
I-485’s last segment opened June 5, but for two decades its route lured development. A look at the road's past, with a map showing how it shaped Mecklenburg County growth patterns since the 1980s.
Jun 19, 2015
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.
Jun 18, 2015
A 21st-century writer is walking the route explorer John Lawson took in 1700-01 through the Carolinas, including now-much-altered Charlotte. 
Jun 15, 2015
The Charlotte Museum of History has opened a new exhibition, Looking Back at Our City of Creeks, using photographs and maps to explore the story of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County’s more than 3,000 miles of creeks.
Jun 09, 2015
Is NoDa still Charlotte's main arts district, or has South End overtaken it? UNC Charlotte graduate student Morgan Hamer decided to study the city’s arts clusters. What she found has important implications for the future of Charlotte’s arts neighborhoods. A Q/A interview.
May 06, 2015
No single factor can define a “healthy community.” The newly updated Charlotte-Mecklenburg Quality of Life Explorer lets viewers assess a wide variety of community issues and indicators.
Apr 28, 2015
Compare the Charlotte skyline of 1975 with today’s, and the city is almost unrecognizable. In creating this newer city, we have destroyed much of the old. What are uptown's oldest surviving buildings?
Apr 21, 2015
Charlotte has fought leaf-devouring cankerworms for 25 years. New maps show where  this year's infestations are worst. Helping with the fight this year is a worm-hungry beetle. 
Apr 09, 2015
Public health expert Richard Jackson thinks it’s time to stop blaming individuals for the U.S. obesity problem. The problem, he says, is more systemic, including the auto-centric design of daily life and easy access to high-sugar and high-fat food.
Apr 08, 2015
You're invited to a citywide celebration of neighborhoods, called Jane's Walks, May 1-3. Join in one of this year's walks and bike rides, or organize one in your own neighborhood.
Mar 18, 2015
To whet your appetite for next week’s series of "City of Creeks" articles at PlanCharlotte, test your knowledge of the creeks of Mecklenburg County with a short quiz. 
Mar 18, 2015
A series of events is planned, as part of the KEEPING WATCH on WATER: City of Creeks collaborative project. 
Mar 11, 2015
The KEEPING WATCH initiative enters year two with KEEPING WATCH on WATER: City of Creeks. The project includes articles at PlanCharlotte.org and an exhibition opening Friday, March 27.
Feb 23, 2015
I’ve long had a question about the nature of uptown Charlotte. Why do Charlotte's uptown blocks look more like "diamonds” than “squares"?
Feb 17, 2015
At free, public workshops March 3 and March 7, experts will show residents how to become savvy neighborhood sleuths and discover more about the places where they live.
Jan 22, 2015
The Council for Children’s Rights has partnered with the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute to create a locator map of “out-of-school-time” programs in Mecklenburg County.
Dec 10, 2014
The first major survey of Charlotte historic resources in 30 years says demolition and development have shrunk historic sections of three local historic districts. It also recommends possibly adding more historic districts, especially in northwest Charlotte.
Dec 05, 2014
Charlotte's creeks and streams will get more attention next year, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support programs related to the KEEPING WATCH on WATER: City of Creeks project.