Dec 02, 2015
It’s been six weeks since “complete streets” advocate Gil Penalosa arrived in Charlotte for a visit and multiple presentations. And I got a sense that an important corner had been turned for this city built primarily for cars. Commentary
Nov 30, 2015
In what local preservationists call a major victory, a century-old depot—the deteriorating relic of a lost era of Charlotte-Gastonia passenger rail—will be moved a short distance and repaired.
Nov 12, 2015
Can Charlotte do a better job of making its humble bus stops a bit less humble? A Charlotte city official is posing that question, and working to bring some comfortable swings to bus stops on Central Avenue.
Aug 26, 2015
When SouthPark mall was built decades ago, it was a suburban shopping mall at the edge of the city. Today it's a booming area with new, mixed-use projects. So why doesn't it feel more like an urban place? Six tips for how to transform SouthPark. Commentary.
Aug 10, 2015
Can’t wait for the Blue Line Extension? Watch it grow, in this photo slideshow of construction along the 9.3-mile, $1.16 billion light rail project that will link UNC Charlotte to uptown Charlotte, South End and all the way to I-485.
Jul 28, 2015
Since I celebrated the launch of Charlotte’s streetcar I’ve cringed as the news media got it wrong and people made fun of it. If more people understood its value to neglected areas and to the whole city’s future, more people would support it. Commentary.
Jul 23, 2015
When the final leg of I-485 opened in June, motorists cheered its unclogged lanes. But a look at traffic count data for the outerbelt segments that opened 20 years ago in south Mecklenburg indicates that unclogged lanes may be a temporary condition.
Jul 14, 2015
The building of I-485 was one of the forces shaping Mecklenburg County growth patterns over a quarter century. Some areas near I-485 grew more than 1,000 percent. Our interactive map shows 30 years of population growth in Mecklenburg and nearby counties.
Jul 08, 2015
Charlotte leaders have been talking about the outerbelt, Interstate 485, for decades. While most residents were concerned primarily with what it would mean for drive times, planners and others spent time contemplating the highway's effect on the area's growth. A sampling of comments over the years.
Jul 08, 2015
I-485’s last segment opened June 5, but for two decades its route lured development. A look at the road's past, with a map showing how it shaped Mecklenburg County growth patterns since the 1980s.
Jun 19, 2015
When asked whether I support the I-77 toll lane, my response is yes, but it won’t make a difference. Extra lanes will fill with more cars. We should be discussing mobility, not just highways. Commentary.
Jun 18, 2015
A 21st-century writer is walking the route explorer John Lawson took in 1700-01 through the Carolinas, including now-much-altered Charlotte. 
Apr 09, 2015
Public health expert Richard Jackson thinks it’s time to stop blaming individuals for the U.S. obesity problem. The problem, he says, is more systemic, including the auto-centric design of daily life and easy access to high-sugar and high-fat food.
Feb 24, 2015
Is tactical urbanism gaining a toehold in Charlotte? Recent events bode well. (Commentary)
Feb 23, 2015
I’ve long had a question about the nature of uptown Charlotte. Why do Charlotte's uptown blocks look more like "diamonds” than “squares"?
Jan 14, 2015
Since the late 1990s, Charlotte has experienced a major policy shift toward creating more walkable streets. Things are improving, but the city still faces significant challenges: a legacy of our decades of auto-oriented development. Commentary.
Nov 13, 2014
Charlotte's bicycling community has seen indications of an evolving bicycle culture and strong public support. It is time for the city to collect the data needed to understand and build on these trends. (Commentary)
Nov 12, 2014
Charlotte’s transportation department is launching – again – an initiative to highlight pedestrian needs and improve policies. In the past year the city landed on some not-so-flattering lists ranking walkability.
Oct 29, 2014
The town of Lincolnton, population 10,500, is making it easier for manufacturers to come to town, since the textile industry has left industrial sites vacant. The installment of “Talk of the Towns” interviews Lincolnton Planning Director Laura Simmons.
Oct 29, 2014
With more people cycling in Charlotte, a movement is emerging to make the Queen City into a more bicycle-friendly city. A couple of community conversations, to encourage wider discussion about cycling, are planned in the next few months.
Oct 07, 2014
The first decade of growth on the lake had been slow—a cluster of cabins here and a marina there. The lack of infrastructure and the distance from major population centers kept growth in check.
Sep 16, 2014
What would happen if Tryon Street in uptown Charlotte sprouted a series of small parklets? You can find out on Friday.
Sep 15, 2014
Could Charlotte compete with Copenhagen as the happiest and most livable city in the world? What would it take? (Image Wikimedia Commons/Heb)
Sep 10, 2014
When the Blue Line Extension is finished, Mecklenburg's transit agency will have no more money to build the rest of the 2030 transit plan. And, warns Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter, even today’s transit funding may be at risk. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Aug 27, 2014
It was back-to-school week last week at UNC Charlotte, the 1,000-acre campus that sits in the heart of University City, an area that - if it were a separate municipality - would be North Carolina's sixth largest city. What challenges is it facing? (Photo: Martin Zimmerman)
Aug 13, 2014
As the final leg of I-485 nears completion, residents near the Prosperity Church Road interchange are bracing for growth. A 1999 plan calls for an “urban village” there of compact streets and walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods. Will the growth really follow that plan? (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Jul 30, 2014
Urban designers Keihly Moore and Alex Borisenko are proposing a series of urban design retrofits, many of them nominated by readers. Here is a suggestion for Park Avenue in South End. (Images:
Jul 28, 2014
How did Copenhagen become an international model of urbanism? Four leaders from Charlotte and Mecklenburg County government, philanthropy and real estate will find out in August on a six-day study trip. (Image: Wikimedia Commons/Heb)
Jul 15, 2014
Salisbury hopes to draw new residents to downtown, a key to increasing the customer base for stores and restaurants, says Salisbury Planning Director Janet Gapen. The city's other big push: remaking some streets so they are safer for pedestrians. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Jul 11, 2014
A proposal to re-design South End's bicycle-walking path beside the Lynx Blue Line into an art-filled series of public spaces has won an almost half-million-dollar grant to support creative place-making. (Image: Charlotte Center City Partners)
Jul 09, 2014
Urban designers Keihly Moore and Alex Borisenko are proposing a series of urban design retrofits, many of them nominated by readers. This North Tryon Street parklet is the latest idea.
Jun 25, 2014
Charlotte can learn a lot from Malmo, Sweden, which has steered residents away from cars to bikes, buses and high-speed trains. Commentary. (Photo: Martin Zimmerman)
Jun 18, 2014
When one Charlotte City Council member expressed concerns about pedestrian safety in South End, other council members chimed in with complaints from around the city. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
May 28, 2014
On Charlotte's least pedestrian- and bike-friendly type of street - a parkway - a new asphalt trail is open, connecting UNC Charlotte to apartments along University City Boulevard. It's part of the city's ongoing bike-ped enhancements. (Photo: Chuck McShane)
May 21, 2014
The Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia area ranks 10th most dangerous metro for pedestrians, according to a study, Dangerous by Design, released this week by the National Complete Streets Coalition and Smart Growth America. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
May 20, 2014
Benjamin Ross, author of "Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism," will discuss his book at the UNC Charlotte Center City campus today at 6 p.m. Ross' talk will be followed by a panel discussion.
May 08, 2014
Charlotte's Windy Ridge neighborhood has drawn extensive publicity as an extreme example of a neighborhood "built to fail." In a new article for an academic journal, three UNC Charlotte researchers conclude that one factor in its failure was Charlotte's "growth-machine" culture. A Q-and-A interview. (Photo: Josh MCann)
Apr 23, 2014
If you're in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood on Tuesday nights, you'll likely see a bevy of bicyclists. The Plaza Midwood Tuesday Night Rides are growing in popularity, due in part to biker Pamela Murray's push to encourage more Charlotteans to start pedaling. (Photo courtesy Pamela Murray)
Apr 02, 2014
We've lived car-free in Charlotte since 2012, and it hasn't been easy, though we're saving money. Instead of "transportation choices," why don't cities adopt a bolder long-range goal: to make car-free living more than a novelty? (Photo: Claire Apaliski)
Mar 24, 2014
Some hardy local city-dwellers are opting to take transit and bicycle even when they own cars and can just as easily drive. For some, it's about the environment. For some, it's about making the city more livable and urban. And for some, it's becoming a way of life. (Photo: Corey Conner)
Mar 19, 2014
A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision has trail advocates worried about the fate of the national rails-to-trails program, but the ruling is unlikely to affect North Carolina. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Mar 04, 2014
The City of Charlotte is starting to phase in LED streetlights, as an energy-saving move that will also lower the area's carbon footprint. (Photo: Department of Energy)
Feb 25, 2014
CONNECT Our Future, a long-term regional planning process for the 14-county Charlotte region, will host several forums in March. Project organizers will ask attendees for opinions on four growth scenarios for the region. Here's how to attend one of the forums. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Feb 12, 2014
Charlotte leaders cite Crystal City, outside Washington, as a model for new development they envision west of the airport. But this vision misses what makes Crystal City work: mass transit. (Photo: Mariana Gil/EMBARQ Brasil)
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 15, 2014
A North Carolina Department of Transportation letter has planners and officials in several small Union County towns scrambling to figure out how they'll maintain new subdivision streets in one of the state's fastest growing counties.
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 10, 2013
Photographer Nancy Pierce's visual story of people and places along U.S. 21 offers a window into the way the road, like the region, has reinvented itself over time.
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)