The Bold Rethinking of Charlotte
Charlotte has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the country in recent years—a vibrant and desirable city to live in. But rapid development has also magnified many underlying issues that have faced the community for decades. Traditional planning can perpetuate the disparities and inequities of the past. To create a City that is more inclusive and diverse, with more opportunity for all residents, Charlotte is completely refocusing its planning process.
Charlotte Future 2040
The new Comprehensive Plan is a bold rethinking of City building in the future—layering an equity lens over the entire process. It provides a vision for the City and high-level, long-term policy guidance for improving quality of life, affordability, equity and sustainability for every resident. It addresses the inequities of the past and unites the City with a shared set of goals for the future. It was based on meticulous analysis and research, along with massive outreach—500,000 community interactions and over 330 key stakeholders, using over 20 different engagement methods. A Virtual Open House allowed people to visit a virtual room and “travel” to seven information stations on key topics, providing immediate feedback. and learn whenever and spend as much time as they would like. The Plan is organized around a new Equitable Growth Framework for Charlotte with four major categories: mobility, neighborhoods, health and environment, and economic resilience and opportunity.
Community Area Plans
The next step is 14 Community Area Plans—covering the entire City outside the central downtown—which will be completed by the end of 2024. (The Center City 2040 Vision and the North Tryon Plan cover the heart of Downton.) The Area Plans will also be based on extensive community input, to provide more detailed strategies and actions about growth and development in each area or district. A preliminary analysis of each individual neighborhood focused on four Equity Metrics to determine what neighborhoods might be lacking and help pinpoint areas of potential prioritization: Access to essential amenities, goods and services; access to housing opportunities; access to employment opportunities; and environmental justice. The analysis also included expected population growth, market/development pressures, employment growth projections, which populations are vulnerable to displacement, and recent and committed public investment already made in that area.
Read more about Charlotte’s background and the monumental changes the City has made.
The Virtual Open House was named one the Planetizen’s 2021 Top Websites for Urban Planning, for its inventiveness and inclusive engagement. You can visit the Open House virtual room yourself!