Charlotte’s seen rapid growth over the past several decades, but many say that boom has come at the cost of inclusivity and, perhaps, even a bit of the city’s soul. With the loss of many historic buildings and without much of an identifiable design vernacular — aside, perhaps, from the profusion of five-story apartment buildings — Charlotte’s even been accused of looking and feeling bland.
And many of the city’s residents have been excluded from decision-making about Charlotte’s growth, exemplified most strikingly in the urban renewal program that demolished Black neighborhoods such as Brooklyn in uptown Charlotte.
A new design paradigm could start to change that, however. Sekou Cooke is the Director of the Master of Urban Design Program at UNC Charlotte, and the author of “Hip-Hop Architecture,” a book published in 2021. He joins Future Charlotte to talk about what hip-hop architecture is, what it isn't, and why we need to change the way we build things.