PLANNING

Jan 23, 2014
As hundreds of apartments pop up around transit stations in Charlotte's South End neighborhood, the city's plan for more high-density housing near its rail line is taking shape. But a sister policy encouraging apartments for low-income families isn't faring as well. (Photo: John Chesser)
Jan 16, 2014
U.S. Transportation Secretary and former Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx gave urbanists and bike enthusiasts hope recently, telling the Transportation Research Board he would "look out for modes that traditionally don't get much attention." He pointed to a rise in pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and deaths in Charlotte while he was mayor. (Photo: Mary Newsom)
Jan 08, 2014
An expert in neighborhood walkability will speak Thursday (Jan. 9) at the UNC Charlotte uptown campus. The 5:30 p.m. event will feature author Julie Campoli ("Made for Walking: Neighborhood Density and Urban Form") and a new group focused on transportation choices. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Dec 03, 2013
Urged on by the city manager, Charlotte planners are taking more initiative to contact landowners along the city's new light rail line encouraging them to follow the city's vision for the corridor, Planning Director Debra Campbell said. (Photo: John Chesser)
Oct 30, 2013
Oct 30, 2013
A U.S. Postal Service change requiring the use of centralized box units in new neighborhoods is causing problems in some developments being forced to switch in mid-construction. (Photo: USPS)
Oct 23, 2013
Today (Oct. 24) is the last chance for members of the public in Mecklenburg County to add their voices to a series of workshops that are part of a Charlotte-region-wide effort to chart a future for ourselves. Commentary. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Oct 23, 2013
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department won’t pursue zoning regulations dealing with rent-by-the-bedroom apartment complexes near colleges and universities. But it will continue working to solve parking and transportation issues near the schools. (Image: theflatsatmallardcreek.com)
Oct 10, 2013
A key city advisory committee has put off its recommendation on a proposed rezoning for a large car lot near a planned light rail station in University City. The deferral postpones City Council action to December – and a newly elected council. (Photo: Martin Zimmerman)
Sep 19, 2013
TORONTO – Maybe the game-changer is 3-D printing. Or maybe it’s “autonomous driving,” and we’ll never again have to parallel park. Maybe it’s “the Internet of everything.” In any case, it’s obvious big changes will be coming to cities worldwide. Commentary. (Photo: Niels Dejgaard)
Sep 18, 2013
One lucky parking spot in NoDa gets to become a park for eight hours on Friday. Volunteers who’ll transform a space on North Davidson Street will ensure that Charlotte once again joins an international list of cities observing PARK(ing) Day. (Image: Keihly Moore)
Sep 16, 2013
Charlotte-area residents will have an additional opportunity to voice their opinion on the region’s growth. A fourth Mecklenburg County workshop will be held Oct. 24 at Freedom Park as part of the  “CONNECT Our Future” planning program. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Sep 13, 2013
A University City-area rezoning petition up for a public hearing Monday raises serious questions about whether the city can stand behind its plans for transit-friendly development along the proposed Blue Line Extension light rail line. (Photo: Martin Zimmerman)
Aug 21, 2013
Charlotte area planning and sustainability enthusiasts can have their say about the future of the region in coming weeks by getting involved in two long-range regional planning efforts.
Aug 13, 2013
Last month, consultants for the City of Charlotte delivered their assessment of the city’s zoning ordinance. The study came in two parts – an Assessment Report and an Approach Report. Like the two parts of the report, after reading it I had two reactions: encouraged, and anxious to see more meaningful action. Commentary. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Aug 08, 2013
Whether you recall the old “inner city” image of poverty and dysfunction, or today's hipster downtowns, both images focus on the central core. That’s one of the biggest challenges facing U.S. cities today: the need to address the whole urban organism of city plus suburb plus exurb. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Aug 07, 2013
Planning may well be one of the most important professions that the public doesn’t know exists. But great places (and plans) don’t just happen. Someone is responsible for their development and implementation. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Jul 30, 2013
Development patterns along Charlotte's Blue Line show a mixed bag of more low-density neighborhoods than planners recommend. That means the corridor is brimming with opportunity to develop more intensely, and in a way that puts walkable, diverse urban neighborhoods near transit. (Photo: Melissa Currie)
Jul 24, 2013
Charlotte’s zoning ordinance sometimes gets in the way of carrying out adopted plans, a consultant’s report concludes. It also can be confusing, with occasionally contradictory requirements. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Jul 18, 2013
The question is widely debated among experts and in the press. Do surveys showing more preference for walkable, in-town neighborhoods measure a fleeting fad, or portend the end of suburbia? A UNC Charlotte geographer looks deeper. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Jun 26, 2013
WAXHAW – The question came from the audience during a presentation about the future of N.C. 16 through this fast-growing Union County town. “If we do all this, will we still be considered a small town?” (Graphic: Lawrence Group)
Jun 24, 2013
With tornado and storm season on us, what lessons were learned in the year since a sudden tornado blew through Harrisburg and eastern Mecklenburg County, injuring four people and destroying six homes? And what’s been rebuilt? (Photo: Melissa Currie)
Jun 14, 2013
You’d think I would have known better. I’ve been writing about growth since before they called it Smart Growth. That’s why last week’s regional planning exercise made for an eye-opening glimpse of the real world. (Photo: Melissa Currie)
Jun 11, 2013
Density is important in making neighborhoods walkable, but other things are, too, says author Julie Campoli. Her new book helps readers recognize them. (Photo: Used with permission, Julie Campoli © 2012)
Jun 05, 2013
How can the Charlotte region prepare for the thousands of new jobs and houses expected to come here? RealityCheck2050, part of the CONNECT process, let regional participants develop their own versions of the future. (Photo: Melissa Currie)
May 31, 2013
Aided by a $5 million federal grant, residents and businesses throughout the 14-county Charlotte region are engaged in a process to envision the region's best future and create a roadmap for getting there. This interactive article describes the process, plans and players for CONNECT Our Future. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
May 22, 2013
Fact: A workmanlike sidewalk runs beside South End’s light rail tracks. Fact: South End today has no park. Add those facts. Thus was born the idea for a 3.3-mile Rail Trail featuring a series of attractive nodes along today’s Lynx rail tracks. Take a look at images showing its potential. (Rendering courtesy of Charlotte Center City Partners)
Apr 29, 2013
A resilient city can thrive amid challenges and survive disasters like earthquakes, rising sea levels and economic depression. But unlike so-called legacy cities, for a city like Charlotte the challenge has more to do with the future than the past. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Apr 10, 2013
On Saturday, May 4, PlanCharlotte.org is sponsoring two Jane Jacobs Walks, part of a movement to honor the author and activist by getting people out walking a city neighborhood. The walks will be led by Tom Hanchett of Levine Museum of the New South and UNC Charlotte urban design Professor David Walters.
Apr 09, 2013
A new study of access to jobs via automobile, across the United States, ranks the Charlotte metro area near the bottom. Unlike simple congestion studies, this one looks at land use as well as the transportation system.  
Mar 21, 2013
Two of the region's main streets have won this year’s Great Places in North Carolina competition. Union Street in Concord and Main Street in Davidson were recognized among the state’s top downtowns in a competition from the N.C. chapter of the American Planning Association.(Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Mar 20, 2013
A bill before the N.C. General Assembly would restrict cities' and towns' power to put design standards into zoning ordinances applying to residential development. We invited writers from opposite sides of the debate to offer their views.
Mar 19, 2013
Ben Hitchings: Design standards protect existing neighborhoods, property values and resale potential. Homeowners should be seriously concerned about legislative efforts to remove such protections.
Mar 18, 2013
Joe Padilla: The debate over “Zoning/Design & Aesthetic Controls,” (House Bill 150) concerns two basic issues: first, how much government control we want over our power of consumer choice, and second, whether we want N.C. government to function as its founders intended.
Mar 12, 2013
With 11 multifamily projects under construction in South End, some advocates there want to raise the bar on design requirements in the city's transit-oriented zoning. The city has hired a local urban design consultant to suggest changes. (Rendering courtesy David Furman)  
Mar 07, 2013
Concord's Union Street, downtown Belmont and Charlotte's First Ward and Plaza Midwood neighborhoods have all been nominated for "People's Choice" awards in this year's "Great Places in North Carolina" contest. North Carolinians can vote until March 15. (Graphic: APA-NC)
Feb 28, 2013
The historic Duke Mansion was nearly lost once to fire and later to plans to convert it to condominiums. Its historic landscape is just as vulnerable. But some outstanding efforts are preserving its tree-studded setting. (Image: Bing Maps)
Feb 28, 2013
Huntersville Town Hall was the setting for Wednesday afternoon’s public information meeting about HOT (High Occupancy Toll) lanes proposed on I-77. HOT lanes are a red-hot topic, and citizens were vocal about their concerns. Is the region ready to accept pay-as-you-go highways? (Photo: Melissa Currie)
Feb 19, 2013
The Charlotte City Council passed a measure to to try to encourage developers to build low-income housing in affluent neighborhoods, heard pro- and con- comments about a proposed outlet mall, and designated a historic landmark.
Feb 18, 2013
Brightwalk is unique among Charlotte’s new developments, and not just for its size and location –1,000 homes on 98 acres 2 miles from uptown. What also sets Brightwalk apart is that it will make environmental art a central part of the neighborhood. (Don’t know what environmental art is? We have an article and photos that explain it.)
Feb 14, 2013
Times have been tough in the local economy, but it looks as if we’ve finally turned the corner. If growth is starting to make a comeback, exactly where will it be? Is your county ready? (Photo:  U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office)
Feb 06, 2013
As breweries sprout across the Charlotte region, an industry group of local brewers and beer lovers is working with Charlotte planners to make city zoning more beer-friendly. (Photo: NoDa Brewing)
Feb 04, 2013
New single-family residential building permits in Mecklenburg County have been on a roller coaster ride since 2003. But preliminary numbers show a promising upswing heading into 2013. Using U.S. Census Bureau data1 to examine the previous decade's trends tracking back to 2003, what can we expect for new construction as we move forward in 2013?
Jan 30, 2013
While cities such as Memphis have gained national attention for proclaiming a bicycle-friendly goal, Charlotte has been quietly taking a number of steps to improve its own streets for cyclists. (Photo: Keihly Moore)
Jan 15, 2013
Are urban growth boundaries effective tools for curbing sprawl, or an infringement of property rights?
Jan 08, 2013
In Charlotte: The Praise Connor and Harriett Lee House 3714 Country Ridge Road in the Mountainbrook neighborhood Built in 1963; designed by architect Praise Connor Lee Designated in 2002 The Robert and Elizabeth Lassiter House 726 Hempstead Place in Eastover neighborhood Built in 1951 (...
Dec 06, 2012
Ghosts and cities often occur together, and not only in fiction. Kevin Lynch writes about how we "read" cities. Many descriptions of our surroundings are accompanied by the ghosts of what used to be there. Changes can leave scars on our mental map.
Dec 06, 2012
When I moved to Charlotte more than 30 years ago, Matthews was the suburb. Years of attracting people looking for a small town and a private getaway have built a fabric of large lawns and scattered houses, and more lawns and more houses. Where does a it go from here?
Nov 27, 2012
Learning to speak each other's language about urbanism means understanding New Urbanism, Landscape Urbanism and more. So let’s sort a few things out and get at some simple definitions.
Nov 15, 2012
By 2011, the average American was driving 6 percent fewer miles per year than in 2004 – with Echo Boomers leading the trend. Here in Mecklenburg County, however, younger drivers are on the road more, not less.