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voyager12

Make Charlotte Weird

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Makecharlotteweird.com was created by Little Shiva and it serves as a platform of ideas to make Charlotte "weird". The bumper sticker slogan that originated in Austin, TX and has since been copied by Asheville etc etc. I am all for it but talk about an uphill climb. Austin and Asheville's personalities are an inherent part of the cities fabric and while its hard to maintain the feel when you are exploding with growth its much harder to implant "weird" into an inherently conservative business town. Perhaps if the City of Charlotte was more willing to partner with the artistic community and create identifiable creative zones like Asheville's River District it could work. Sadly this town places no value on creativity and free expression and is determined to wipe out whats left of it in Noda and Plaza Midwood. The only culture this city wants to embrace is Nascar. Sad.

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Makecharlotteweird.com was created by Little Shiva and it serves as a platform of ideas to make Charlotte "weird". The bumper sticker slogan that originated in Austin, TX and has since been copied by Asheville etc etc. I am all for it but talk about an uphill climb. Austin and Asheville's personalities are an inherent part of the cities fabric and while its hard to maintain the feel when you are exploding with growth its much harder to implant "weird" into an inherently conservative business town. Perhaps if the City of Charlotte was more willing to partner with the artistic community and create identifiable creative zones like Asheville's River District it could work. Sadly this town places no value on creativity and free expression and is determined to wipe out whats left of it in Noda and Plaza Midwood. The only culture this city wants to embrace is Nascar. Sad.

As someone who has lived in Austin I can honestly say there is no possible way Charlotte can be "weird" like Austin. Austin is a strange place that has to be experienced over a long period of time to fully get it's vibe. First of all, Austin is very anti big corporation and very pro mom and pop type stores.... I don't see charlotte being like that. Plus all the cultures you get from UT, makes for a very different crowd.

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I don't know that the City getting into creating "artistic zones" is going to help foster any sort of real creativity. Probably just the opposite. It should happen organically or it's more than likely doomed to failure from the start. Austin and Asheville have that vibe in large part because they're both big college towns. Ok, so maybe Asheville isn't a big college town, but it's location in the mountains is a big draw with the granola-set, who are inherently creative for the most part. Charlotte is a big corporate town, and while corporate and creative shouldn't be mutually exclusive by any means, the former certainly overshadows the latter here. I think the artistic scene will improve over time with the influx of newcomers from other (more culturally established?) parts of the country.

PS - I went to the Austin City Limits concert a couple of years ago and got a "Keep Austin Weird" shirt. That's a great marketing theme.

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You have a point about organic growth, Craig. There was actually an interesting article in CL this week about local artists complaints that the NC Music Factory complex gives lip service about providing space to local talent but in reality is going to be a development dominated by chains and mainstream art. I mentioned creating artistic zones with public or private help because finding space on your own to grow independently or organically is close to impossible with real estate costs.

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Hmm. I've got one for you and makecharlottewierd.com.

How about a website that was conceived, owned, operated, and administered by Charlotteans where people from all over the world can meet to discuss their cities, their issues, common problems in the built environment, urbanetics, mass transit, and of course be a good place to meet every type of person in cyberland? And that website would be provided free of charge to all who would like to join up and participate to make life better for people. That would be very creative, artistic, anti-conservative, and the rest of the good stuff. A good place to catch a positive vibe. Can Charlotte provide such a place to the urban lovers of the world?

Ahh. Why yes it can. That would be the website known as UrbanPlanet.org. :yahoo:

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Now if you could fit all that onto a T-shirt, you'd be onto something. ;)

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We do try.

One of our tee's

11861813_240x240_F.jpg

Of course this is a thread about breaking Charlotte out of its corporate mold so we also have this for you urban types that want to make a statement. Everyone should get one. :lol:

11861876_240x240_F.jpg

See our store link for more.

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Bahaha! Now that IS making a statement, although I'm not sure what the statement is. I'm thinking trying to explain the thong to an interested party would be a bit of a mood-killer.

Once you hit 200 posts, you should get a free thong.

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Well if you are at a party where you have to explain your thong, you are already a long ways past banking conservative. lol. UrbanPlanet is only trying to help you out. haha

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I think the members who have reached over 5000 posts should get a free T shirt :D

Perhaps i may order one over the summer to bring to Italy. Then i have to explain in italian what teh shirt means. The people in the village will ask me " che significato luigi? "

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actually I thinK I'm gonna buy my gf one, she's thinks I'm a total dork hahaha, its great, but what can you do I love urbanism. when I showed her the Akron Art Museum (before she knew about it, as that she's from the Akron Cleveland Area she was actually amazed and gave us dorks a lil more credit) Count me in on the thongs how much are they?

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If we really wanted to make Charlotte weird:

120675895_be82092461_o.jpg

:shok:

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^LOL

Charlotte's version of weird is wearing a striped shirt with khakis instead of a white or blue shirt.

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First of all, Austin is very anti big corporation and very pro mom and pop type stores.... I don't see charlotte being like that. Plus all the cultures you get from UT, makes for a very different crowd.
Don't tell that to the folks at Dell.

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I suppose Dell views themselves as a "hip" company. Anyhow what is Charlotte's vibe? Do we have one?

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I suppose Dell views themselves as a "hip" company. Anyhow what is Charlotte's vibe? Do we have one?

That is true. They make an effort not to feel like a huge corporation.

And also, Dell is in Round Rock, not Austin so it doesn't count :P

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Since the whole "Make Charlotte Weird" slogan is obviously inspired by Austin's, I thought this thread would be appropriate to post a link to this article that details Charlotte city leaders' trip to Austin and the comparisons/contrasts made between both cities in various categories.

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I think these trips can be helpful. Austin is similar to Charlotte in size and the growth challenges facing both cities. Their "weirdness" derives from a fantastic music scene and The University of Texas, attributes that encourage a tolerant and accepting attitude towards diversity. Our calling cards are Nascar and Banking. Two very important drivers of the local scene but they don't generally spawn a free thinking alternative vibe. I am hopeful that development of walkable nodes like Elizabeth Avenue will encourage a more lively street life that is a key ingredient to make cities interesting. People in this town just don't walk around enough which is what makes cities like Austin and Asheville so much fun, you can see the urban life going on around you.

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In fairness to CLT, Austin has geography to it's benefit, not to mention a massive university just north of the downtown grid. The Hill country effectively (and quite suddenly) 'begins' a couple of miles west of the CBD which is a big densification factor, and then the Colorado river itself. The lack of an effective freeway system has also made public transport more popular. Beyond that, not sure where the quirkiness factor comes from (which to some extent has developed independent of the university's influence), perhaps Texas' liberal/quirky citizens have gravitated to the city since most other places in Texas would be 'out of character' for them. That is simply my perception, Dallas and Houston certainly have their areas of 'alternate' vibe, though in total that is not the dominant character.

As far as things that will make Charlotte 'weird' or artsy, that's a tough one. Gentrification seems counterintuitive to the idea of 'weird' or artsy, though these are often the neighborhoods you see the phenom settle in, so maybe it is really more of a reduction in poverty/crime thing to create a more diverse mix of people and attitudes in the older neighborhoods. I definitely think a neat vibe is created from having different mixes of people in a given area.

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Though I understand the intent of this thread, so not arguing against it, but I feel places that become or are weird are much better than trying to "make" anything weird. Trying to create somethings, like weirdness or art districts or similar ideas can come across as hollow and fake. Sort of like Epcot...you can serve foreign food and decorate, but you still aren't overseas!

Organic development with good grounding makes a place feel "good" and like a "real" place.

We do have weird (using the term in this thread) places in Charlotte: Thomas Street/Central Ave, Camden Road in Southend, parts of Derita, and probably lots of places we on this site aren't aware of. I don't think it is enough and would LOVE to see a surge of weirdness, but organic weirdness, not city or civic sponsored. Those to me are like the person we all went to school with that always wanted to tell you how crazy and out there they were, but you could really tell it was all on the outside, not from the inside.

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^^^ I very much so agree. I really dislike the fact that Charlotte has to do what everybody else is doing. Trying to recreate what other cities have created organically over the years is not something city leaders in Charlotte should be focusing on. We need to focus more on what we have in Charlotte that already makes our city different. "World Class Cities" innovate rather than imitate. I'm not saying that I am oppose to having cool funky shops, or semi-gritty music districts. But flat out trying to recreate a Beale Street, or a Haight Street is not in my interest, and nor should it be in our cities interest. We have plenty of weird neighborhoods and districts that are similar to some other weird neighborhoods in other cities, but at the same time they are very different and they are our own.

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To the extent that some artificial district would be created and a sign would be hung to say "hip" or "artsy" area I agree that would be a mistake and the exact opposite of authentic weirdness. It's true that the small nodes of funkiness we do have evolved on their own which is the best way. Unlike other cities though we do only have these small pockets and they are not close enough to each other to coherently create a unique district. So I don't see the problem with encouraging groups such as Artspace to assist Charlotte in protecting and preserving the little that we have or pushing for inclusionary zoning. I just wish City government was more supportive instead of viewing this issue as not worthy of help or too liberal for conservative Charlotte.

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I just wish City government was more supportive instead of viewing this issue as not worthy of help or too liberal for conservative Charlotte.

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