PLANNING

Nov 07, 2012
Commuting stories – we’ve all got one.  How does your commute time stack up to your fellow Mecklenburg resident?  Check out our maps, using 2010 U.S. Census data to break down average commute times.
Nov 06, 2012
PARIS – I saw the future in Paris. It looks a lot like uptown Charlotte circa 1989, but with flashier architecture. In the French capital earlier this year, I visited La Défense, the huge development that half a century ago was envisioned as the future of Paris, a district of towering offices and wide plazas. Today it’s an office park whose huge cube monument doesn’t make up for its being dead at night.
Oct 17, 2012
Eleven Charlotte neighborhoods have developed plans that organizers say will chart a better – and more sustainable – course for the future. Neighborhoods as diverse as a condominium tower in Myers Park to suburban commuter areas to lower-income urban neighborhoods will receive grants to help them achieve their vision.
Oct 03, 2012
Downtown Salisbury has been named one of “10 Great Neighborhoods” for 2012 by a national planning organization. The town remained vibrant through the decline of the textile industry by maintaining its historic character and promoting agri-tourism and an authentic North Carolina experience through culture, arts and food rooted in its picturesque setting.
Oct 03, 2012
PARK(ing) Day is an international event in which people reclaim, temporarily, spaces created for cars – parking spaces – and transform them into spaces for people – parks. Charlotte celebrated the event this year in South End.
Oct 03, 2012
Mecklenburg County is not on track to meet its 2008 goals for acquiring nature preserves and open space, and the trend is continuing downward, according to the 2012 State of the Environment Report. Greenways and parks are rated just “fair.”
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 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 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 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 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.
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 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 14, 2012
Amid a political environment attacking sustainability initiatives, a new national poll by the American Planning Association finds bipartisan support for planning, and a belief that community planners play a key role in economic recovery.
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 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 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...
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 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 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 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 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 22, 2012
There I was, pencil poised over a large drawing of Gastonia. It was 1997 and I was running a public workshop to design a network of greenways and open spaces for residents to enjoy as recreational and natural amenities.  Someone in the background was fiddling with a radio. Then, as I remember the moment,  the strident sounds of a local radio station blared through the room. “Did you know there’s a foreigner working in Gastonia, helping the United Nations send troops to take away your freedom?”
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.
Sep 08, 2011
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.
Jul 27, 2011
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...
Jul 27, 2011
UNCC’s Mary Newsom and David Walters compare views on the proposed plan to guide development in downtown Charlotte for the next few decades.
Mar 03, 2011
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 "...