Tactical Urbanism

Listen: John Holmes dives into urbanism after Chick-fil-A firing

John Holmes III was a budding urbanist in Charlotte, reading books like “Street Fight” and wondering why we built our cities to drive everywhere. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran working at Chick-fil-A, Holmes was trying to reconcile his workplace’s busy drive-thru with his own ideas about building better cities. When he posted his opinion online […]

Are bus-only lanes a key part of Charlotte’s transit future?

This story is part of the Transit Time newsletter, a partnership between the Urban Institute, the Charlotte Ledger and WFAE. Find out more and subscribe here. For six months, commuters and residents near Central Avenue in east Charlotte faced an unfamiliar sight: “BUS ONLY” emblazoned on one general-purpose lane in each direction, in the city’s […]

Officials: Charlotte can’t meet its bus system needs without more revenue

In Charlotte’s new transit and mobility plans, multibillion-dollar light rail lines tend to get most of the attention. But the delay in a planned 1-cent sales tax referendum is having a big effect on another, less flashy part of the system that actually carries many more riders: Buses. The Charlotte Area Transit System has been […]

Here’s what the next 20 years could hold for uptown Charlotte

A new “Central Park” for Charlotte. A Tryon Street that prioritizes pedestrians over cars. A new neighborhood built around the Carolina Panthers’ stadium, and the burial — or even total elimination — of I-277. These are some of the big ideas planners are batting around as they work on the new Center City Vision Plan, […]

Post-coronavirus, everything will change in cities — or not

After COVID-19, cities will change forever. Here’s a sampling of predictions I’m seeing: People will avoid close physical encounters. Or maybe not. Maybe they’ll flock to crowded bars and restaurants after weeks of lockdown. Stores, bludgeoned by pandemic closings and high rents, will fail. So will smaller, non-chain restaurants. Cities will become blander and more […]

Keeping the conversation about public space alive past coronavirus

Projects that usually take years are happening in weeks during the coronavirus pandemic: Cities are closing streets to cars, opening public space for sidewalk cafes and investing more in pop-up parks and outdoor amenities. Planners are responding to a desperate desire for more public, outdoor space, as restaurants, gyms, bars, concert venues, offices, schools and […]

What does coronavirus mean for the future of urbanism in Charlotte?

Monday night’s rezoning meeting felt like most Charlotte City Council sessions from previous years, despite the mayor and staff sitting six feet apart and developers battling audio and video glitches in the remote setup. Council members heard proposals about denser developments in suburban enclaves. The biggest was a plan to transform Ballantyne Corporate Park from […]

Charlotte loves visions. Here are some of the biggest on the drawing board.

If planners, developers and other leaders in Charlotte have a favorite word, it might just be “vision.”

In a city defined by its growth, local leaders aren’t shy about throwing the word around,. and there are plenty of visions being promoted in Charlotte at any one time. Visions, of course, don’t always become reality – and if they do, they often take far longer than the original planners imagined, and mutate from their original form. But visions can also set the stage for development patterns that persist for generations. 

Charlotte’s arts scene is growing – and at a crossroads

Thousands are expected to gather in Charlotte’s historic Plaza-Midwood neighborhood this weekend, attracted by bold visual art and nontraditional performances representing a diverse array of artists. The three-day BOOM festival, a self-described “movement born from a belief in the explosive power of art to unite and strengthen our community,” enters its fourth year buoyed by […]

Five Points, like Belmont, to get taste of tactical urbanism

If you drove down Belmont Avenue during one weekend in late September, you might have seen people in orange vests painting chairs, tables, kiosks – even crosswalks. They had come out to begin the transformation of Belmont Avenue. Community members, project leaders and employees of the nonprofit Better Block Foundation had come together to create […]