Planning & design

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From Ballantyne to SouthPark to University City, the suburbs want to be more like the city

"Ballantyne Reimagined" seeks to redevelop an office park into a mixed-use hub of activity. It’s happening across Charlotte: Apartments, office buildings and restaurants are popping up in parking lots, as dense, mixed-use developments, connected by bicycle paths and walking trails, invade suburbia. What’s driving the shift at some of the city’s most iconic suburban centers?

Regional transit gets another ‘symbolic’ boost near Charlotte

Photo by Nancy Pierce Three counties outside Mecklenburg have now expressed formal - though nonbinding - support for bringing a regional rail system of some kind across the border. That would be a first for Charlotte, where rail-based mass transit has so far been confined to within the city limits.

Is this road design a better way to move, or an outdated solution for traffic?

A pedestrian at John Kirk Drive and University City Drive, or NC 49, near UNC Charlotte. As Charlotte grows denser and more urban, parts of the city built decades ago on an auto-centric, suburban framework are struggling to both absorb more traffic and adapt to new beliefs about how people should get around. A one-mile stretch of congested road in fast-growing University City illustrates the tensions between balancing the needs of cars and pedestrians, as well as local residents and commuters, in an area where the distinction between urban and suburban is starting to blur.

As development booms, Charlotte still wrestles with density

With Charlotte’s population growing by more than 60 people a day, planners, politicians and many residents agree that denser development is inevitable in the city’s future. But just how dense - and where to build that extra density - remain thorny questions, especially when denser developments are proposed in single-family neighborhoods. 

Charlotte is backing off its goal of 50 percent tree canopy by 2050

Eight years ago, Charlotte set a goal for itself: 50 percent tree canopy coverage across the city by 2050. But because of rapid development and an aging tree population, the city likely won’t reach that goal, officials said last week. Instead, they’re refocusing on smaller, neighborhood-level targets and other “fifty-themed” tree promotion efforts.

Charlotte is ‘on the cusp’ of its first true regional transit plan

The Charlotte region is taking concrete steps towards building a regional transit system, and, in a local first, the proposed Silver Line could run through three counties. But plenty of big questions remain. Chief among them: Who will pay?

Offices in South End, apartments in Ballantyne? Lines are blurring.

Is Ballantyne about to become South End, or vice versa? Probably not - but lines in Charlotte that were once razor-sharp are starting to get a lot blurrier.

Charlotte looks ahead two decades to plan growth

What will Charlotte look like in 2040? Charlotte is like a teenager in a growth spurt, with development transforming chunks of the city and new buildings popping up on what feels like every corner in some neighborhoods. Can an ambitious new comprehensive plan guide its growth over the next two decades? 

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

Charlotte's 2040 plan is coming. What will be in it? 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. 

Mecklenburg parks could get a big spending boost

Park spending has lagged in Charlotte Mecklenburg County is poised to substantially increase funding for its park system, after years of stagnating budgets and staff cuts following the 2008 recession. It could help the county improve its ranking of dead last among major U.S. cities for parks and open space.