Is it prescient and forward-thinking for the city to encourage subsidized housing at rapid transit stations in coming decades? Or would that kill any near-term chance to halt a pattern of sinking property values near some of those stations, especially in east and northeast Charlotte?
Architect, planner and author Stephen Mouzon, did more than just give some lectures from his book, Original Green: Unlocking the Mystery of True Sustainability, when he was in town recently. He also took a look at a section of south Charlotte that he thinks might be ripe for a different kind of long-range plan: the Park Road-Woodlawn Avenue neighborhood.
A railroading resurgence is rolling into the Charlotte region – and through some people's back yards. From Davidson to Harrisburg to Gaston County, efforts to capture some of a national increase in freight rail traffic have upset some residents. And the possibility of freight NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) might create another obstacle for commuter rail from Charlotte to Iredell County.
Studies of programs like the one the City of Charlotte is considering, which use incentives to encourage developers to include affordable housing units in new development, suggest that voluntary programs aren't as likely to create as many affordable units as mandatory programs do, and may not be as likely to spread affordable housing into more affluent areas. On the other hand they're not as likely to raise housing costs.
A Faison subdivision off Beatties Ford Road and Abersham near Davidson were purchased by Mecklenburg County for parks, after the developments stalled. But generally, the region's land conservationists lack money to protect tantalizing properties available after the financial crash.
The Flat Branch Nature Preserve, in the southernmost tip of Mecklenburg County, holds the county’s largest remaining upland depression swamp forest. It's a place where water naturally fills forest depressions in winter and early spring. But just weeks ago, the pools were gone and the ground parched. And when the pools returned in recent days, they were smaller than they used to be. What does that mean for the future of this uncommon ecosystem?
UNC Charlotte's Heather Smith, a geographer who studies Hispanic "hyper-growth" in the South, talks about Charlotte's growing role as a "globalizing" – not a global – city, and why she wasn't surprised when the Democratic Party chose Charlotte for its national convention.
Amid the pervasive gloom and depression about the future of American cities I was lucky enough to visit recently two very different American places that hold out some hopes for a sustainable future here in the USA.
It took years, multiple political strategies, a bond vote, patience, weathering a brutal and ongoing economic downturn, more patience, and – finally – a multimedia event under a tent on a hot asphalt parking lot. But last Friday, ground was broken for a new uptown park.
Just for fun, before watching Monday night’s Charlotte City Council hearing on the newest plan for downtown Charlotte, I hauled out my yellowing copy of the 1966 Odell Plan. (See original drawings from the plan here.)
It’s both fun and humbling to see how stunningly wrong that plan...
What should Charlotte look like? When discussing urban design many planners, architects and developers assume that what works in New York, San Francisco and Portland should work here. This assumption ignores the reality that Southerners have a very different perspective on "...