Mecklenburg

Oct 02, 2012
The Charlotte metro was definitely a hotbed of growth for the state during the past decade. But the pattern within the metro region is uneven, with much of the strongest population increases concentrated in areas north and south of Charlotte.
Oct 01, 2012
Have thoughts about plans for development along the hoped-for next leg of Charlotte’s light rail line? Three public workshops are scheduled, starting this Thursday.
Sep 26, 2012
These maps show a breakdown of the SAT scores for school districts in the Charlotte region.
Sep 25, 2012
Most water quality indicators in Mecklenburg County are “good,” but its streams are not as clean as they should be, says the county’s latest State of the Environment Report. Three of four water quality indicators are rated “good,” while “streams,” is rated only “fair.”
Sep 24, 2012
Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx argues the merits of political consolidation as the route forward to economic development and improved public services. Love the idea or hate it, some regional cooperation is needed.
Sep 19, 2012
Air quality continues to be Mecklenburg County’s biggest environmental problem, says the county’s latest State of the Environment Report. Ozone pollution is the particular weak spot, the report says, rating that indicator “poor” – the only such rating in the report.
Sep 17, 2012
Using nature as a model, a team of UNC Charlotte students and faculty has unveiled its design for an energy-efficient, solar-powered house with a network of small pipes in the walls and ceiling, a type of concrete made from coal-burning waste and a complex dashboard control.  
Sep 12, 2012
In spite of the higher levels of unemployment Charlotte has experienced in this downturn, its relatively educated workforce appears to be a long-term strength – but is it? How does Charlotte compare to other metros? These maps allow you to explore education and employment among the largest U.S. metro regions.
Sep 11, 2012
Who doesn’t prefer a park to asphalt or concrete? What would you rather see: a parking place, or a park? That’s the impulse at the heart of International PARK(ing) Day. Let’s organize an event in Charlotte.
Sep 05, 2012
The event Tuesday afternoon was billed as Mayor Anthony Foxx hosting a “roundtable discussion on Regionalism & Reinvention” but it was, at heart, a dignified pep rally for consolidation.
Sep 04, 2012
The word “sustainability” and its associated derivatives are thrown around with abandon to describe everything from architecture to Jay-Z’s diet. But what does it mean, really?
Aug 29, 2012
After he and his family have bought property in uptown Charlotte for two decades and made plans for its future, developer Daniel Levine has partnered with Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to build a public park and two parking decks in First Ward. He talks with PlanCharlotte about why he hasn't, until now, moved forward with development.
Aug 21, 2012
People in the Charlotte region take pride in how green the area is. Yet we're losing trees and their helpful pollution-fighting effects. New research shows that shrubs, ivy and other plants can reduce street-level concentrations of key air pollutants. So why not turn our blank walls green?
Aug 17, 2012
Photos by Nancy Pierce Click here to read related story.
Aug 17, 2012
In the wake of the financial crash, many real estate developments across the Charlotte region appear frozen in various stages of construction. But a few of these so-called “zombie subdivisions” may be reviving, as developers regain their financial footing and, in some cases, propose new plans. (Click here for a photo gallery of abandoned subdivisions in and around Charlotte.)
Aug 16, 2012
Charlotte city officials are pushing two groups with competing visions for the future of the Carolina Theatre to work together to help save the history-rich venue that’s been vacant, on a prominent uptown corner, for more than 30 years.
Aug 13, 2012
It was a hot night in a hot city the day after the hottest month ever recorded in the United States. By 7 the temperature had slid from the 90s to the high 80s, as I pulled up to a 1960s split-level on a half-acre lot in a subdivision of 2,450 single-family homes. Inside, a small group sat overlooking a back yard of mature trees, talking about their neighborhood’s future.
Aug 08, 2012
How much are homes in your neighborhood worth? The era of upside-down mortgages and foreclosures has left homeowners across the country anxious about home values – theirs and their neighbors'. In the midst of this housing market upheaval, explosive growth in the Charlotte region has reshaped residential patterns.
Aug 01, 2012
Looking at where some upscale retail companies locate provides a way of highlighting income and demographic disparities. Charlotte's Starbucks-free, Panera-free and Harris Teeter-free zones coincide with the city's highest-poverty neighborhoods. The same holds true, by and large, for much of the state.
Jul 31, 2012
The city of Charlotte decided last month to buy Eastland Mall, which had fallen on hard times. So, what are the possibilities?  What should happen at the site? How can the 80 acres be used to improve the area, connect neighborhoods and serve the people who live nearby? We offer examples from other cities.
Jul 18, 2012
In response to news that the City of Charlotte is considering buying Eastland Mall in an effort to make the site attractive to an outside developer, PlanCharlotte.org sought opinions from civic and business leaders about the idea. Results: a split vote.
Jul 06, 2012
This is the time of year when sudden downpours can cause flooding in Charlotte and other Piedmont cities. But what if we could engineer urban spaces that not only help the storm drain systems but that create playful and beautiful places for the public to enjoy?
Jun 27, 2012
How did this happen? How did a Charlotte City Council – with all 11 members willing to vote for a small property tax hike to pay for an ambitious, five-year plan of neighborhood improvements – wind up killing that five-year plan?
Jun 22, 2012
Charlotte is joining the growing ranks of cities seeking to make streets safer by turning some bicycle lanes green. City officials hope adding green markings to existing bike lanes at certain heavily traveled intersections will more clearly, visibly and safely separate bicycles from other vehicles.
Jun 19, 2012
Two different organizations in the Charlotte region are using borrowed land and volunteer labor to get fresh, local food on the plates of people who need it most.
Jun 11, 2012
Many say the future of Charlotte's Park Road-Woodlawn Road area inevitably will be more urban than its past. But how urban should it be? City planners and residents are grappling with that question as they craft a vision for the area.
Jun 07, 2012
This article supports plans to build a new ballpark for the Charlotte Knights uptown. Read architect Murray Whisnant's article opposing the idea here. A new Charlotte Knights stadium uptown will be a catalyst for urban development, add to the character of the cityscape and let families and...
Jun 05, 2012
Missing from recent discussion about granting more public money for a privately developed baseball park in Third Ward is any talk about the potential advantages of using the land for public purposes year-round. Architect Murray Whisnant would save the Virginia Paper Co. building and build an Energy Park.
Jun 05, 2012
What does uptown Charlotte need more: a baseball stadium or a large public park dedicated to showcase energy technology and local food? As the Charlotte City Council prepares to vote on using $7.25 million in city money to help the Charlotte Knights build a ballpark, Charlotte architects Murray Whisnant and Marley Carroll take opposing positions.  
May 30, 2012
How has uptown Charlotte changed in the past century? An interactive map that depicts the dramatic change since 1911.
May 25, 2012
As a Third Ward resident, urban design student and enthusiastic cyclist, I frequent the streets of uptown. Most of my trips are not by car, which means I travel at a slower pace and can absorb my surroundings. I recently started to pay closer attention to the walls and how they contribute, or not, to a positive city experience. This is an investigation into capturing opportunities. Send us your ideas, as well.
May 22, 2012
After decades of decline, manufacturing jobs across the country have seen a modest uptick. This long period of industry restructuring has left a strikingly different geography of manufacturing in the Carolinas; we still make furniture and textiles, but that’s not the whole story anymore.
May 17, 2012
Tom Hanchett, staff historian at Levine Museum of the New South, contends that the most urban corner in the city is Central Avenue at Rosehaven Drive. For weeks I have respectfully declined to agree. By virtually any standard of city form, nothing at that corner is urban. But as Hanchett led 20 Charlotteans on a recent “munching tour” at the corner, his thesis began to sink in.
May 11, 2012
The city, instead of holding its traditional spring summit conference for neighborhood groups, will offer them space and time with facilitators in July to encourage strategic goal-setting and planning.
May 09, 2012
If you like the idea of a big green space in uptown Charlotte, we have a treat for you: A series of imaginative designs for a park in uptown's First Ward neighborhood. These are exercises only. The real First Ward Park design plan is shown at the end. The idea for a First Ward Park is not new...
May 07, 2012
The Charlotte neighborhoods of Belmont and Villa Heights are experiencing an influx of white, professional residents in search of affordable housing close to uptown. Piedmont Courts, a housing project that dates to the 1940s, is gone, and crime is declining.  Click here to read the article...
May 04, 2012
How has uptown Charlotte changed in the past century? An interactive graphic shows you how the 1911 urban pattern of small lots and small buildings has become a modern quilt of big projects filling whole blocks.
Apr 24, 2012
Only about a dozen of these rare landscapes remain in the Charlotte region, but those that have been protected are doing well, experts say. 
Apr 20, 2012
I’ve been struggling with the question of what exactly makes a place feel like "a place." You may be baffled by that language, but if you think about it, you probably recognize that being in different kinds of places imparts a different feeling. This mysterious characteristic of place can be defined, but it isn’t easy....
Apr 19, 2012
Explore. Notice. Treat a city as a living system, with intricacies of place, economy and culture. That’s the philosophy behind the Jane Jacobs Walk movement. PlanCharlotte.org and Levine Museum of the New South will sponsor Charlotte's first Jane Jacobs Walk, on May 5. Here's how you can register.
Apr 18, 2012
Do developers have undue influence in Charlotte? Does the city's zoning ordinance need a revamp? And can Charlotte residents get used to development that looks different from what they’re used to? Charlotte Planning Director Debra Campbell tackles these questions and more.
Apr 18, 2012
Where are urban regions growing – in their cores or suburbs? What is happening in rural areas? New population figures have fostered speculation about what growth in urban regions will be like in the future.  For rural parts of the Carolinas, the issue isn’t about growth at all, but widespread decline in population.
Apr 11, 2012
The farmer points toward a long stretch of turned earth warming in the sun. Tomatoes and squash will grow well there, and more crops over there. Behind him, fruit trees cast shadows. It’s bucolic enough you almost forget the steady buzz of traffic behind you. Because this farmer is, in fact, a store owner, and this farm is in downtown Matthews.
Apr 04, 2012
Twenty years after the last revamp of Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s zoning ordinance, a politically fractious episode, the city planning department is preparing to study whether – and how – to update it again.
Apr 03, 2012
Recent headlines have trumpeted the U.S. Census finding that between 2000 and 2010, the Charlotte “urbanized area” was the nation’s fastest growing among areas with 1 million or more people. But it also highlighted the inconsistent, even chaotic, differences in how the so-called Charlotte region is defined.
Apr 03, 2012
Eleven Charlotte neighborhoods have won grants of as much as $10,000 from the City of Charlotte’s for projects aimed at cutting residents' energy use by 15 percent. Ten focus on energy efficiency, one on alternative transportation.
Apr 02, 2012
The former mayor of Pittsburgh and the current president of the American Planning Association – who happens to be Raleigh’s planning director – are keynote speakers Thursday at a symposium in uptown Charlotte for urban design and planning professionals. The symposium,...
Mar 27, 2012
New York City and Gastonia don’t, at first glance, appear to have much in common. Yet both can offer an example of “urbanism.” And both suffered harm from well-intentioned “progress.” Charlotte architect Terry Shook reminisces ...
Mar 22, 2012
A city task force looking to expand housing opportunities for the less affluent is on the right track with the idea of a voluntary density bonus.
Mar 19, 2012
If all goes as hoped, paying users could access 200 high-tech bikes at 20 stations in and around uptown Charlotte by this summer.