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.
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, sought opinions from civic and business leaders about the idea. Results: a split vote.
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 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 08, 2012
At a rural crossroads 30 miles from Charlotte, an experiment is under way that could reshape the national retail landscape. Walmart, famous for its ubiquitous supercenters averaging 185,000 square feet, is testing a much smaller, 15,000-square-foot format called a Walmart Express Store in the Stanly County town of Richfield, population 516. 
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...
Apr 24, 2012
Over a decade ago, developers sought to build a downtown in a town that did not have one.  Harrisburg, N.C., which is  four miles east of Charlotte, was a collection of subdivisions and highway retail without a traditional center. Today, the 97-acre site remains incomplete.  What happened, and what should happen next?
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 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 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.
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 09, 2012
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?
Mar 05, 2012
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.
Feb 29, 2012
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.
Feb 24, 2012
Around the Charlotte region, many downtowns share similar histories: A long-ago heyday followed by decay as dollars and foot traffic flowed to suburban malls and interstate eateries.
Feb 15, 2012
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.
Feb 10, 2012
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. 
Feb 06, 2012
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?
Oct 26, 2011
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.