Readers invited to nominate places for urban makeovers

Imagining Charlotte places, remade: Week 2

In honor of our second anniversary, is asking readers to nominate spots in the Charlotte region that need a design makeover. (See last week’s article, the first installment in this series, by clicking here.)

Urban designers Keihly Moore and Alex Borisenko have launched a website,, where they’re proposing a series of urban design retrofits, many of them nominated by readers.

Last week, as we launched this reader-engagement project, we highlighted locales in Plaza Midwood, the Seventh Street bridge over Interstate 277, and South Church Street next to the new Romare Bearden Park.

This week's retrofit

This week the action shifts to South Boulevard near the Lynx light rail line. The “before” photo above depicts the new Valvoline shop, whose design is more suitable for a suburban freeway interchange than for a transit-oriented neighborhood, where the plan is to transition into a more urban form. That means setting buildings alongside the sidewalks and putting businesses and homes close to one another, even in the same building, instead of widely separated the way they are along highways in auto-oriented, suburban areas.

The “after” photo, atop this article, shows how bringing buildings closer to the street, widening and enlivening the sidewalks and adding a more lush tree canopy can transform a streetscape.

Here’s how you can nominate places in your town or neighborhood for some urban design makeover magic:

  • If possible, take a “Before” photo.
  • It isn’t necessary but if you like, create your own vision for an improvement, using tools such as Photoshop, sketching or collage.

Then submit your “before” photo (and the “after” image, if you have one) or just submit a suggestion, without photos, in one of several ways:

  • Email with “Nominated for a makeover” in the subject line.
  • Or visit the Complete Blocks website here and add your suggested location (and suggested improvements) to the map. Watch the video if you need instructions for adding spots to the map.