Opinion

The PlanCharlotte.org Opinion page is open to a wide range of views. Opinion pieces are labeled as commentary and are the opinions of the writers, not necessarily those of PlanCharlotte.org, the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute or the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. A PlanCharlotte link to another website does not mean we or the university endorse the opinions expressed or take any responsibility for content on outside websites.

Want to submit? PlanCharlotte.org is open to considering content from outside writers. We require factual accuracy and civil discourse. To learn more, contact Mary Newsom, mnewsom@uncc.edu or 704-687-1203, or mail to Mary Newsom, UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte NC 28223.


  • Construction on Stonewall Street in Charlotte, NC

    Would Charlotte be better off with less planning?

    Charlotte has a lot of ambitious, master-planned efforts underway right now, but it is the more spontaneous, less-planned areas that have seen truly explosive growth. Consider six areas: Brooklyn Village, Eastland Mall, North Tryon, South End, NoDa and Stonewall Street.
  • Construction on Wonderwood in Charlotte

    Accepting change when you can’t stop it in a “tear-down” neighborhood

    HunterWood is fast approaching a tipping point, as new houses replace old. A quick walk around the neighborhood found 76 old houses (built before 2007) and 50 post-2007 houses. On my walk, I found long-time neighbor Jane Stout walking her dog. “The neighborhood is simply recycling. I get it. That happens,” she said. “I just wish the builders could be more sensitive to the surroundings. They seem to be so callous to what a lot of us like about the neighborhood.”
  • Walking in HunterWood, a Charlotte section of Cotswold.

    Charlotte has 56 “tear-down” neighborhoods: Here’s a portrait of one

    The Walters-brand piano held a commanding spot for decades in Sue and Dale Riley’s den, on Charlotte’s Wonderwood Drive. They bought it for $75, used, for their daughter Megan to learn on when she was 4 or 5 (she’s 47 now). Even when she was grown and came home on weekends or holidays, the piano, ever in need of tuning, came alive again. Until recently. One bright afternoon on my daily walk, I found the aging upright kicked to the curb.
  • Charlotte's 2040 plan is coming. What will be in it?

    Here’s what Charlotte really, really needs from its 2040 plan

    We asked a dozen Charlotte community leaders from different walks of life one question: What does the city need more than anything in its new vision for growth? From designing for people instead of cars to building more equitably to not imposing too many regulations, here’s what they had to say. 
  • A station along the Blue Line light rail in Charlotte. Photo: Charlotte Area Transit System

    Uber and Lyft are clogging cities, hurting transit

    Despite rosy predictions, it seems ride-hailing companies are displacing trips by transit, bike and on foot. Cities like Charlotte need to work actively to keep them from worsening congestion. Commentary.
  • Can we revive real meaning of ‘affordable housing’?

    Does using the term “affordable housing” to mean subsidized housing lead us to stop considering housing affordability across the community? Commentary.
  • Street view of colorful commercial area in Vauban, a neighborhood of Freiburg, Germany. Photo: Martin Zimmerman

    An almost car-free suburb, where kids roam free

    Can a suburban area be truly green? One city in Germany offers lessons in building a family-friendly environment with a small carbon footprint. Commentary.
  • Man pulling shopping cart piled high with possessions

    Storm clouds over Charlotte? A Richard Florida page-turner

    Today’s urban crisis, writes Richard Florida, is as bad as the era of white-flight suburbanization and central city decay of the ’50s and ’60s. Book review.
  • Bikes parked in front of the Common Market in the Plaza Central neighborhood. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    Is Charlotte’s bike plan update good enough?

    A proposed new bicycle plan for Charlotte hits the mark in many ways. But without dedicated funding, will it be merely a feel-good exercise? Commentary. 
  • A refurbished corner store building in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo: David Walters

    Can Charlotte learn these lessons in time to save lower South End?

    Can lower South End survive the large-scale cookie-cutter development now ravaging South End and NoDa? David Walters offers a way forward, based on lessons from Des Moines. Yes, Des Moines. Commentary.