Place matters and matters of place

I’ve been struggling with the question of what exactly makes a place feel like “a place.” You may be baffled by that language, but if you think about it, you probably recognize that being in different kinds of places imparts a different feeling. Some locations feel artificial; others feel authentic. Age and beauty aren’t necessarily […]

City Planning Director Debra Campbell: ‘I’m an incrementalist’

Can Charlotte residents get used to development that looks different from what they’re used to – new houses on small lots instead of large lots, more apartments and condos? Charlotte Planning Director Debra Campbell, in a recent interview, described that as one of the challenges Charlotte faces in coming years. Another, she said, is to […]

Carolinas growth update: urban changes, rural losses

Where are urban regions growing – in their cores or suburbs? What is happening in rural areas? New population figures have fostered speculation about what growth in urban regions will be like in the future. For rural parts of the Carolinas, the issue isn’t about growth at all, but widespread decline in population. The 2000s […]

Charlotte to take a new look at its aging code

Categories: General News Tags: DEVELOPMENT, PLANNING

Twenty years after the last revamp of Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s zoning ordinance, a politically fractious episode, the city planning department is preparing to study whether – and how – to update it once more. Unlike the years-long, contentious process that resulted in the 1992 zoning ordinance rewrite, this time the process will be less extensive, said Charlotte […]

Stick to basics in affordable housing strategy

As Charlotte’s real estate market continues to recover from one of the worst economic downturns in modern times, it might be easy to assume that housing affordability is no longer an issue of great concern. But in south Charlotte and other highly desirable parts of Mecklenburg County, home prices continue to remain out of reach […]

Transit station futures: Gloomy or bright?

Is it prescient and forward-thinking for the city to encourage subsidized housing at rapid transit stations in coming decades? Or would that be the nail in the coffin, killing any near-term chance to halt a pattern of sinking property values near some of those stations, especially in troubled parts of east and northeast Charlotte? Two […]

Two secrets to city success: Trust and explore

Smart cities around the world use two secret weapons to form leadership and stay ahead of the pack in planning and economic development. One mechanism is internal, an informal, diverse but cohesive planning elite. Another is external, an outward-looking and systematic search for new knowledge, often by visiting other cities. I use “planning” in a […]

‘Green’ author: Redevelop in increments

Architect, planner and author Stephen Mouzon, did more than just give some lectures from his book, Original Green: Unlocking the Mystery of True Sustainability, when he was in town recently. He also took a look at a section of south Charlotte that he thinks might be ripe for a different kind of long-range plan: the […]

Some react to freight resurgence with ‘Not In My Back Yard’

From Davidson to Harrisburg to Gaston County, public and private officials are working to capture some of a national increase in freight rail traffic. But those efforts have upset some residents. And the possibility of freight NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) might create yet another obstacle for a proposed commuter rail line from uptown […]

Research looks at Triangle development patterns, foresees increase

From 1976 to 2005, developed land in the 16-county Greater Triangle and Rocky Mount region increased nearly 570 percent, from 39,743 developed acres in 1976 to 264,883 acres in 2005. By 2040 this figure is expected to increase nearly 150 percent or an additional 393,925 acres, according to projections just released from a forthcoming study […]