A glimpse at Charlotte’s future from a piece of the past

It probably wasn’t the setting Charlotte planners would have picked to unveil their vision for the future: A parking lot off Independence Boulevard, acres of scarred asphalt surrounded by a tangle of some of the city’s least pedestrian-friendly streets. But in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, an in-person event at a densely packed brewery […]

Paddlers on Stumpy Pond near Great Falls, S.C. Photo: Nancy Pierce

‘A wilderness experience’: Do rivers hold the key to rebirth for these towns?

Where the hard rock of the Piedmont gives way to the sandy Coastal Plain, two company towns that lost their companies are looking for economic revival to the rivers that put them on the map. Great Falls in South Carolina and Badin in North Carolina grew up along the geologic fall line beside wild, majestic […]

Should Charlotte make one of its major streets pedestrian-only?

Charlotte has a reputation as a car city, but many of its leaders badly want to promote more biking, walking and transit use. That’s one reason an intriguing idea kept surfacing at this week’s City Council Transportation & Planning Committee meeting: Why not take all the cars off a major street in uptown or South […]

Trails, roads, rails and sky: The changing physical connections that knit our region together

A growing web of infrastructure and physical connections – both within the wider region and between the region and the outside world – has had a profound effect on where growth went, and where it stayed away from. People and industries in the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection study area followed trading paths, railroads, highways and, now, air service.

‘Horrifyingly beautiful:’ An architect and designer turns his attention to borders and walls

Ronald Rael gained national attention this summer for installing teeter-totters through the U.S.-Mexico border fence, allowing children on either side to play, but the architect and designer has been studying borders, walls and their meaning for much longer. Rael, based at UC Berkeley and principal at design studio Rael San Fratello, with partner Virginia San […]

Why isn’t Charlotte built on the water?

After visiting a city with a waterfront, maybe stopping for a drink and a bite to eat along whichever river or ocean it’s built along, I’m usually left with one overriding thought: “Wow, Charlotte could really use some of this.” Water plays a prominent role in the design and history of most cities, whether it be a river, bay or ocean. And Charlotte’s skyline and downtown sit tantalizingly close-but-yet-so-far from a major river and lake system. So, the question looms: Why isn’t Charlotte built on the water? 

Rendering of "Ballantyne Reimagined," the planned redevelopment of Ballantyne Corporate Park to add shops, restaurants, apartments and amenities to the office park. Rendering: Northwood Office.

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

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. Within the past month, major plans have been announced for densifying and transforming chunks of Ballantyne, SouthPark and University City – three of the biggest bastions of […]

Talk of the Towns: Albemarle

In this new series, PlanCharlotte visits planners from around the 14-county Charlotte region. In this first installment, we head east to Albemarle. Much of the Charlotte region is fast-growing, but Albemarle’s population has remained flat. Keith Wolf has been with the city’s planning department since 2004 and planning director since 2011. He talked about economic […]

Another step for pedestrians on one of city’s least-walkable streets

A 10-foot-wide asphalt path that officially opened Tuesday offers a glimpse of what could be a more pedestrian- and bike-oriented future for some of Charlotte’s least pedestrian-friendly thoroughfares. The path, 0.9 miles along University City Boulevard from Mallard Creek Church Road to UNC Charlotte’s main entrance at Broadrick Boulevard, is the first bike-ped trail along […]

Charlotte ranked 10th most dangerous metro for pedestrians

It’s not easy getting around the Charlotte region on foot. It can be deadly, too. The Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia area ranks 10th most dangerous metro for pedestrians, according to a study, Dangerous by Design, released this week by the National Complete Streets Coalition and Smart Growth America. Last month, Smart Growth America ranked the Charlotte metro as […]