Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

atownrocks

Will Charlotte ever become a World Class City?

74 posts in this topic

I was reading a Wikipedia article on World Class Cities and reading the criteria on what it takes to become one. They actually have different levels on the rating scale. Now as of right now I would have to say Charlotte is not a World Class City. I think what would help Charlotte is having a more people friendly downtown, more shopping, restraunts, bars, nightclubs, hotels, and as for the restraunts I don't mean chain ones, it needs unique restraunts. What is you view on this. Here is the article on it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_city

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Considering some of the cities which occupy certain tiers, I don't think it's too farfetched to say that we may see the day when Charlotte becomes a 4-point Gamma city. As of now, I don't think the city is too far from being placed in the 1-point category which shows some evidence of world city formation, along with Baltimore, Richmond, Columbus, and Kansas City.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I'm not sure if the category including Columbus and Baltimore was exhaustive. But Baltimore is an underrated city that has more going for it than most folks think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amen Mike :rofl:

The article is a tad misleading. Gay Pride is not being held in Marshall Park but we are still having an event this year. A new location and theme. Its still under wraps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also agree that Charlotte has a great deal of work to do on being more accepting of diversity including gays. Having a mayor that is proudly against us is a big obstacle but he is never going to change so I would rather focus on the support we do receive from the Democratic members of city and county council especially Parks Helms. Charlotte has made progress though and I only see it improving. Heck, I was recently in Asheville and there was a large anti gay demonstration downtown.. it even happens in "San Francisco South" as the New York Times calls it :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


and it's lack of support for the arts (for a city it's size).

I will only disagree with this point - Charlotte ranks high nationally in terms of arts investment, thanks to the banks. There is a study that ranks the ratio investment & Charlotte blows the larger cities (Atlanta among others) out of the water. For a city it's size - which is comparable to Columbus OH or Richmond VA, I would say it isn't too bad.

But that does lead to a distinction between civic sponsered art (which Charlotte does well) with some more organic independant arts community (found in Asheville for example). I'm not sure how Charlotte ranks in the latter, but based on some surveys I've come across (sorry, I don't have any examples) Charlotte is respectable with investment in the arts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its true that civic Charlotte supports "art". Only art that would be approved by The Southern Baptist Convention. This is the municipality that cut off funding for Angels in America in the 90s because it was so "offensive" to "family values". Charlotte has gotten more enlightened since then but nowhere near enough to encourage more of the work that Actor's Theatre does for example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its true that civic Charlotte supports "art". Only art that would be approved by The Southern Baptist Convention. This is the municipality that cut off funding for Angels in America in the 90s because it was so "offensive" to "family values". Charlotte has gotten more enlightened since then but nowhere near enough to encourage more of the work that Actor's Theatre does for example.

Well lets tell the whole story on this. 5 county council members, voted to cut funding to the arts because of Angles of America. After the next election only 1 remained and one of the issues that got several of them defeated, including a Black Democrat, was their stance on this issue. Thus I would not say this issue is indicative of of the area's desire to fund arts, even controversial arts. Since we are comparing ourselves to Ohio cities I think I don't have to mention that is a very conservative state with it comes to the arts. Much more so than Charlotte.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are several things that Charlotte really needs to work on to become "world class".

A big one is to embrace Latin America as a trading partner. Charlotte has the second most daily flights to Latin America destinations after Miami, and the Hispanic population has grown by over 1000% in the last 15 years, but we see very little Latin influence here. We are such a strong banking town, that it would make sense for us to pursue banks that focus of hispanics to maintain large offices here.....also, the area is still strong in regards to trade, and we could easily capture some of the importing/exporting business currently based in Miami.

We need fill in the voids between neighborhoods. The city feels very disjointed and under-utilized to many visitors. Many people drive down Providence or South Blvd and see the city for being miles of underdeveloped suburban development. Bringing pedestrian scale density to these corridors will make the city seem more alive.

Just having a MSA population of 2.5 million I believe will begin a snowball effect of investment and recognition. This will occur in time, and we will probably pass that threshhold in 2012 (assuming Iredell and Lancaster counties are added to the MSA).

The continued development of downown will help. If a visitor only walked up and down Tryon beween 2nd and 7th streets, while in Charlotte, I believe they feel that would be in a great city. In the next 5 years, it is likely that all of Tryon, Church, and most of College will have this same feel....

Charlotte needs specific institutions that are nationally known. The NASCAR HOF will help. The Mint Museum of Craft + Design already helps. Hopefully the Betchler, and new AACC will have national reputations. The Whitewater Center could help. This goes beyond tourist facilities, and instead quality of our institutions will translate into "class".

Lastly, UNC-Charlotte needs to continue to make gains on increasing academic standards. Its a fine school, but it needs to focus on about 8-10 programs to develop into field leading programs. Good candidates are Geography, Motorsports Engineering, Optics, Bioinformatics, and Mathmatics. Two programs that also have potential, but will be an uphill battle to reach national recognition are finance and architecture. The school should also make changing its name to University of Charlotte a priority.

There are many other things that the city should do, but that is a good start.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not so sure Charlotte will ever be a world class city in the traditional sense of that word. Most people within the US don't know anything about Charlotte, and certainly not throughout the world. However, I do think we are on track to maybe be considered in the "Minimal Evidence" category (1 point) in five to ten years.

We'll need to do the following, in my view:

- Fully fund the arts plan and manage the museums to be best in class

- Continue to embrace and grow stock car racing as one of the few means for international fame

- Fully build the transit plan

- Continue to seek urban density and quality urban development

- Defy global stereotypes of the SouthEast region, such as racism, redneck culture, poor education, and conservatism.

- Endow UNCC/Charlotte (I like the name change idea, too) with multiple billions and improve/remediate academic reputation

- Develop a tax and legal rule unique to Charlotte or NC that benefits a group. Right now, retirees and latin americans, have the most potential because of mobility and wealth. Maybe it is dropping income taxes, like Florida, or banking benefits to get latin americans to save wealth in NC banks.

But the bottom line is that so many others are pursuing these things. Charlotte has a shot at, as we have dibs on being the economic capital of a region (the Carolinas). But seriously, we are somewhat distant from the 1pt list, and extremely far from the 2pt list.

I have lived in 4 of the cities on that list, including an Alpha city and a Beta city, and also spent a significant amount of time in 4 or 5 others. It is hard to explain, but the cities are just not in the same league. It is nothing against Charlotte, though, and perhaps there could be an acceleration toward that end if the right things happen in the coming decade. Maybe the snowballing at an MSA of 2.5 million.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Won't the existing world class cities just become worldlier and classier? :P I don't think Charlotte will truly be a global city in my lifetime. Not on the order of European capitals, anyway.

We could become toe-to-toe with Boston / Seattle / Atlanta size US cities though, in terms of amenities and recognition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, I think we are more likely to catch up with the other "Minimal Evidence" group: Columbus, Richmond, Kansas City, or Baltimore, and maybe Cleveland because of their slower growth.

I don't believe we will ever have the amenities and recognition of Boston or Atlanta (note that both are listed in that wikipedia article as currently world class cities). We'd also have a very tough time catching up to Seattle because of its major impact through Boeing, Microsoft, Starbuck, music and culture.

Again most of the reasons for places becoming world class is because their are either regional or global cultural or economic capitals. Our primary hope, in my view, is to "win" the competition to be cultural and economic capital of the Carolinas. Culturally, it'll be hard because we are not in SC and NC tends to treat this city like the red-headed stepchild. Economically, we are clearly ahead, but we will suffer from SC/NC tax disparity, and from underinvestment from the state.

Our airport does help quite a bit, so we need to do what we can to make sure that remains strong, and grows its international presence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


The idea that Charlotte will ever be on par with cities such as Atlanta, Boston, Seatttle, et al is laughable. Charlotte has a lot going for it but not that much! We are growing rapidly and fit in well with cities such as Jacksonville, Richmond, and perhaps Pittsburgh eventually. All great cities in my opinion. Charlotte needs to be proud of itself and be realistic because we are not a "world class city" and never will be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The context was "within my lifetime" :) Even Seattle was viewed of as a moribund city in the late 70s with heavy job losses. Then came the Microsoft/Starbucks/Grunge/Twin Peaks/Northern Exposure stuff in the 90s, and it all turned around 180 degrees.

In a way, this thread dovetails with the "Can Charlotte be cool" or "weird" threads. It probably can. But it has an established stiff image that could take a generation or two to shake.

I do think Charlotte is close to the point where it can shake off the "Bigger version of Greensboro" wisecracks without needing to address them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its true that civic Charlotte supports "art". Only art that would be approved by The Southern Baptist Convention. This is the municipality that cut off funding for Angels in America in the 90s because it was so "offensive" to "family values". Charlotte has gotten more enlightened since then but nowhere near enough to encourage more of the work that Actor's Theatre does for example.

I learned about this in a theatre arts class. I was told Charlotte is negatively known in the theatre world because of Angels in America and what happened in the 90s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The idea that Charlotte will ever be on par with cities such as Atlanta, Boston, Seatttle, et al is laughable. Charlotte has a lot going for it but not that much! We are growing rapidly and fit in well with cities such as Jacksonville, Richmond, and perhaps Pittsburgh eventually. All great cities in my opinion. Charlotte needs to be proud of itself and be realistic because we are not a "world class city" and never will be.

I do think you have a point - that being a major regional center isn't anything to laugh at. But wasn't it laughable less than 50 years ago for a city a bit larger than Birmingham to eventually become what is being argued as a 'world class' city (speaking of Atlanta)? Given time - you never know what will happen. Even in my short life time I would have never considered Charlotte to grow as it has, I recall it was a bit of a shock for Charlotte to win an NBA franchise in the 80's. But it makes perfect sense now, maybe the subject will be worth taking seriously within another 50 years. By then the minor coups of hosting an NASCAR HOF or what not will be overshadowed by greater cultural / economic triumphs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The idea that Charlotte will ever be on par with cities such as Atlanta, Boston, Seatttle, et al is laughable. Charlotte has a lot going for it but not that much! We are growing rapidly and fit in well with cities such as Jacksonville, Richmond, and perhaps Pittsburgh eventually. All great cities in my opinion. Charlotte needs to be proud of itself and be realistic because we are not a "world class city" and never will be.

:stop:

This is absolutely the most defeatist attitude I've seen on this thread. The one thing that many here are missing (I think Teshadoh gets it ^) and which is critical to making a city "world class" is a desire on the part of civic and citizen leaders to see their city emerge from among the overwhelming number of mediocre cities on the planet. What many criticise about Charlotte is "boosterism" but I have to ask, how else have other "great" cities become "world class" without "boosterism" and overwhelming desire to be "great"? I have serious trouble with the presumption that Atlanta, for example, will always be the single dominate center of the Southeast; the only city outside of Florida in the Southeast that can be "world class"! Is there one dominate, "world class" city in the Northeast? The Northwest? Central Europe?

As a newcomer to Charlotte myself, walking around downtown Charlotte this morning with a friend from the North I thought to myself, this city is not now a "great", "world class" city, but it has the momentum and the projects proposed and under construction that will absolutely bring the city closer to greatness. If we assume a defeatist posture Charlotte will be mediocre...it's easy to be mediocre - just sit back and do nothing, dream nothing.

On the other hand, if the dominate, collective, vision is that Charlotte will one day be a "great", "world class" city then it can be a "great", "world class" city. Want proof? Look at the boosters of Atlanta in 1970 - then a city the size of Charlotte. Did Atlanta's leaders bury their boosterism? Did they ever say, well Atlanta just can't ever be as great as the greatest cities in this country or the world? No. Atlanta's leaders never lost sight of their vision. No personal offense to anyone, but the defeatists should leave Charlotte and move to Hartford - my hometown and a city I LOVE - but which is the poster child for defeatism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was not being defeatist. I was being realistic. I moved to Charlotte a year ago and greatly enjoy it. I think the city's future is very bright but we have several factors that will limit us from achieving greatness soon in my opinion. Unenlightened attitudes towards anyone who is not white or heterosexual and christian, lack of great natural beauty, a strong anti-intellectualist bent towards unconservative art,ideas and an obsession with Nascar which may be popular around here but hardly make us a cultural capital. Finally the lack of elite universities and biotech, the Triangle will always outrank us there. World class cities have at least one of these attributes and we have none. This is the present and forseeable future. With all the transplants moving in and great projects in Uptown on the drawing board we will make great progress in becoming a great regional power but I can't see beyond that ,I don't think its a defeastist viewpoint at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

- ^^ teshadoh and Phillydog's last two posts say it all. If we all viewed our cities in the present-tense exclusively, we'd never evolve, period. If you told a Charlottean 30 years ago that their city would be the second largest banking center (I know, I know... I hate the overuse too, but it's relevant here), or that we'd have major league sports, they'd have said the same thing V12 did three posts ago. Bottom line is you can NEVER just the future based on the present. There are simply too many variables that can change the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

..... lack of great natural beauty, a strong anti-intellectualist bent towards unconservative art,ideas and an obsession with Nascar which may be popular around here but hardly make us a cultural capital. ...

To many this is considered one of the most beautiful areas in the country. I can't tell you how many times I have had visitors from Northern Europe that remark on the beautiful blue sky, the huge amount of plant life, and of course the wonderful weather. The Catawba river is a wonder of natural beauty and great to boat down. If you don't have a boat there is Latta Plantation, Cowans Ford Wildlife refuge, and other similar areas where the nature is just outstanding and can be experienced for free with little trouble. Likewise, just down the road is Crowders Mountain state park. There are not many cities anywhere in the USA where you can easily go climb a mountain to 1800 ft above sea level, in an urban area. Its a great piece of nature.

There are many many more examples of natural beauty in the Charlotte area. The key is that you have to be willing to accept that it is there and actually go and look at it. For example, this is one of the few cities on the East Coast where it is easy (such as this weekend) to go snow sking one day and to the beach or out on the Lake (which I did) all in the same weekend.

And I can't tell you how many times that I have had visitors from Northern Europe (and elsewhere), who are into racing, are thrilled to come to Charlotte because it is the home to NASCAR. NASCAR has a huge following in Europe and I saw NASCAR in Tokyo as well. The idea that somehow this form of racing isn't "worthy" because of its Southern heritage smells a little elitist to me.

Charlotte will find its own way to being a global city. The biggest thing holding it back are people who dismiss what it is because of pre-conceptions of what "world class" means.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think another thing that may hold Charlotte back as it regards being a "world class city" is the relative lack of historic structures downtown. Of course, this hardly means that Charlotte doesn't have history, but by and large, much of the tangible expressions of that history have vanished. Collectively, the renovated and reused mills provide glimpses into the city's history as a textile mecca, but beyond that, there's not much else. I think that even Atlanta gets by a little in this regard, as they have managed to preserve some historically significant structures downtown (eg, the Flatiron), as well as having a historical district, "Sweet Auburn," which produced one of America's greatest citizens, MLK. Admittedly, there are few American cities which can even begin to compare with European cities in this regard, but razing what it did have didn't help Charlotte any.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gosh,I don't mean to be the killjoy :( Here are some :D Charlotte has great potential and one of the hallmarks of a..god I am :sick: of this term already "world class city" is a thriving walkable strolling or downtown district. We have nodes: camden/southend,elizabeth,plazamidwood, dilworth,noda and the large morningside project off Central looks like it will a fabulous mixed used and walkable development. What will propel Charlotte forward will be when the Uptown projects come online and our city is alive 24/7. Its scary going through Uptown on non gameday weekends. I expect to see tumblweed blowing past Trade&Tryon :rofl: This is the largest metro in the Carolina after all and bringing it more life will be a great boost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.