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swampfox43

Struggling with a "world class city" identity

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All to often we hear the Charlotte media and citizens discuss ways to make Charlotte a world class city. Indianapolis, a well known mid-western city, is also discussing ways to become a world class city.

I have visited Indianapolis twice. Not a bad place but like Charlotte, it is often identified with racing.

This article suggest how their mayor would create a world class identity.

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Hell, even Atlanta is struggling with this somewhat.

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Charlotte is ahead of the game compared to other midsize cities because of our strong economy and fast growing downtown. We have a lot to be proud of, that being said, so do many other cities that are strong competitors and it's hard to stand out. I think our lack of defining natural character like similarly landlocked Indianapolis, will always be a hindrance. Being alongside a river or having direct access to water, or having some striking geographical context has immeasurable worth in giving a city some swagger and life. I don't think this a hurdle that can't be compensated for but it's always more difficult to manufacture a "world class" environment as opposed to being naturally blessed with one.

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^ dude, crowders mountain. :)

so, what does charlotte have "geographically". first, we're not that different from atlanta, in this regard. chattahocee vs. catawba... stone mountian vs. crowders... plus we got a couple of big lakes.

the rolling greenfields and ancient forests of the piedmont are not so obvious... albeit, do hold a certain subdued magic.

i am a nature-boy @ heart and i love the mountains... i have often asked myself what is it about charlotte that appeals to my "organic" side? maybe it is because charlotte is nestled between the coast and les montagnes - and provides for almost instant gratification from both. perhaps it is charlotte's well rounded 4 seasons - that is a balanced reminder of how cyclical how life really is.

seriously, i hear ya V12... and i agree mostly. a natural body of water or a range of mountains... hell even a desert has an obvious impact on the way a city is "measured". it serves as an aesthetic back drop and offers specialized recreational uses.

*it reminds me of a joke that the elders used to tell us in waxhaw... that if south carolina ever crumbled into the ocean, we'd all have beach front property.

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I've always felt Charlotte's lack of a waterfront is a minus for the city (not that it can help it). I grew up in Florence, SC, which has almost no water near it (Lynches River, Black Creek, Pee Dee River--all swampy), which gave me great appreciation for The Congaree River when I moved to Columbia. Columbia has/is doing a great job of creating riverfront trails and parks. I used to run them at least once a week. It was amazing being able to feel that close to nature and look up and see the city skyline right there.

Now that I'm in Charlotte, if I feel like running along water, I get to run along the drainage channel that is the Sugar Creek Greenway. Not that I'm complaining, because the city is doing a great job of restoring it, it's just not quite the same.

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If every 1st and 2nd world country gets a few world class cities, it becomes a crowded list pretty quickly.

How many interior cities in the US, can be unflinchingly called world class? There are several that are "large and important" -- but outside of Chicago, I'm skeptical any make the short list and can stand toe to toe with the Capitals of most other nations.

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I think we're just trying to achieve the minimal evidence of a world class city like Kansas City and Richmond

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I think this topic, along with "rank your favorite skylines" and "rank your favorite new condo project" has probably been beaten to death. While I love Charlotte, the idea of the 20th largest U.S. metro trying to become a world class city is a bit far-fetched and a waste of time if you ask me.

As other people have worded it much better than myself, why not just let Charlotte be itself - whatever that is - rather than be all things to all people, which is generally what is required of these so-called "world class" cities. Frankly, I'm happy Charlotte isn't a world class city because if it was, I probably wouldn't live here due to the expense, traffic, and overall much lower quality of life associated with the cities on that list, not to mention those cities having constant terrorism bullseyes on them.

I'm just enjoying watching Charlotte continually grow and evolve and hopefully reach new heights, both literally (as we go more vertical) and figuratively. If it happens to become world class along the way, it's gravy!

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Smellycat is right, if you look at NYC,LA,Chicago etc...they may have everything under the sun but along with that comes horrid traffic and insane housing prices. I do not think that we will reach that level nor do we need to. "World Class City" means different things to different people. My view is that improving our downtown through new developments that encourage pedestrian friendly retail/residential districts is important. Improving our school system is a must and encouraging our city to be more open towards those that are not white,straight or Christian are my ideas of a "World Class" city. We are making progress on all those fronts, some at slower speeds than others, but Rome was not built in a day and this place will not be either :thumbsup:

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I did not know that :) My point was more in the vein that every city is a work in progress.

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In my mind a world class city has every amenity you could want, (not necessarily conveniently or inexpensively) and parts of it are open round the clock.

Heck, even Home Depot and Dunkin Donuts close by 8PM on Sunday in Charlotte, and the coffee houses close around 9. We do have a ways to go. :rolleyes:

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I think we're just trying to achieve the minimal evidence of a world class city like Kansas City and Richmond

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Creative Loafing went back to the well and beat the dead horse bloody with an "identity" cover story. Do you think our city is closer to creating an identity or "feel" with all the Uptown construction? I don't think so. Charlotte is the perfect place to raise a family and join a church because it's grounded in conservative and traditional values which will always hold majority sway. Which is wonderful for most residents, not knocking it but it feels stifling when you are not in that group. The civic "leaders" quoted in this article parroted this line. Others in the story expressed frustration with the lack of acceptance and true integration. Those outside of the mainstream are given lip service and a little room here and there but the corporate structure has to remain dominant. Just my opinion, I have grown to like Charlotte in the three years I have been here but I don't feel like a " Charlotttean". It's like being on the outside of an elitist high school clique on a citywide level. Feel like I am passing through and will then move to a city that does speak to me.

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Creative Loafing went back to the well and beat the dead horse bloody with an "identity" cover story. Do you think our city is closer to creating an identity or "feel" with all the Uptown construction? I don't think so. Charlotte is the perfect place to raise a family and join a church because it's grounded in conservative and traditional values which will always hold majority sway. Which is wonderful for most residents, not knocking it but it feels stifling when you are not in that group. The civic "leaders" quoted in this article parroted this line. Others in the story expressed frustration with the lack of acceptance and true integration. Those outside of the mainstream are given lip service and a little room here and there but the corporate structure has to remain dominant. Just my opinion, I have grown to like Charlotte in the three years I have been here but I don't feel like a " Charlotttean". It's like being on the outside of an elitist high school clique on a citywide level. Feel like I am passing through and will then move to a city that does speak to me.

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I feel like Charlotte has a long way to go before it will be able to establish a strong, defining characteristic for its residents. It is growing in so many different directions, with so many different cultures, that it will take a long time for those cultures to start setting a stereotype. I think that as Charlotte grows into more of a financial hub and more businesses begin relocating here, Charlotte's name will grow and will start reinforcing the city's culture. However, as it stands right now, a lot of Charlotte's lesser stereotypes have to do with NASCAR and religion.

Heck, our slogan "Racing Was Built Here, Racing Belongs Here" was plastered city-wide for months back during the NHOF competition. Any visitor immediately would have put two and two together then. I think that our biggest stereotypes are more based off of the non-Meck suburbs than anywhere in the metro. Most of what I've seen in Gastonia, Concord, Rock Hill, and Mooresville all have a very churchy, hick feeling to me. I'm not attempting to offend anyone, I lived in Concord for ten years. My parents still live there; my stereotype was further enforced when I went to a new asian place in northern Concord last night with my parents and of the fifty tables there, at least 25 of them had a guy sitting at them with a NASCAR hat on. Racing doesn't even start for another month.

I don't really get a strong religious vibe in uptown or UCity, outside of those two areas I can't testify as I spend little time anywhere else in Charlotte. So, in my opinion, Charlotte Proper really shouldn't be pegged stereotypically as part of the Bible Belt for any other reason than geography.

My opinion/forecast is that as uptown grows outward, more businesses move in, more flights open up to Europe and beyond, and we get a stronger presence with higher education institutes, HQ's, and tourist destinations, Charlotte will begin making it's dot on the map even bigger.

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I think that our biggest stereotypes are more based off of the non-Meck suburbs than anywhere in the metro. Most of what I've seen in Gastonia, Concord, Rock Hill, and Mooresville all have a very churchy, hick feeling to me.

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I DON'T see it. Maybe it's the people/areas I hang around when I'm there, but the conservative label on Charlotte baffles me (Charleston is one of the most conservative areas on earth IMO, as is Wilmington, I'm from there). Sure, they're a bit funky with small concentrations of diversity but at the core these places are truly conservative. One thing I do know IS NORTH AND SOUTH CAROLINA! For me, both Charleston & Wilmington lack tons of diversity that Charlotte or RDU provide. Great towns but are small and touristy/local in nature. Charleston is definitely a ladder above Wilmington in terms of urban living but neither are on the radar for a mass of people looking to relocate or live. For some to retire or be near the beach but not for the mass of people (primarily the lack of job variety!).

My lovely wife-to-be is from the Mooresville area and we're probably moving there in a couple of years... (one reason I'm always on the this forum). I prefer the RDU area but such is life...if you're married you'll understand :o (my road trips to DC are much closer from here) and Durham fits me like an old pair of jeans.

World class...who cares? But to label Charlotte as some religion-infested area is beyond what I've seen and experienced. I don't care to or have to deal with that type of an environment. Does that culture rear it's head in RDU, Houston, Dallas, etc. Yes! Does is it exist in the DC area..Yes! But I didn't/don't deal with it because I choose otherwise. I'm southern, I've got strong religious beliefs/opinions. Like anywhere else, if it doesn't appeal to YOU, ignore it and keep the ball rolling.

Charlotte is not that different than most city's I've traveled to and/or lived in. The heart of downtown is for the white-bread, DC, etc. surrounded by nearby neighborhoods with a mix of people.

Most city's more interesting "hoods" ARE NOT in downtown proper or the "business district" but near or attached to downtown (downtown proper is generally for business and tourist...toss in a nice park, retail, plazas, etc for some locals to do their thing)...that's anywhere USA (LA is a prime example). Typically, universities tend to be more liberal (that's where you'll find the "misfits" and Charlotte lacks that in the Uptown and adjacent areas near downtown). What would benefit Charlotte is an area of mid-rises (not downtown but near...eg, Georgetown) that caters totally to urban living. Oh, and a large PARK! Hell, you're getting or got everything else!

What I don't understand, is the relentless obsession with having an identity or world-class identity.

Just my opinion and observation after years on the road.....

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^Well to be fair, this thread had been dead for a full calendar year.

Be that as it may, I travel to real "world-class" cities for work. They're great, but you know what? They aren't home--this is. I've been here for 20 years and in this soul-less, suburban, third-tier city I've made great friends, have great neighbors (for the most part), and have a enjoyable life. I don't care about "world-class" and frankly wish the term and Creative Loafing would just go away.

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World class...who cares?

Charlotte is not that different than most city's I've traveled to and/or lived in. The heart of downtown is for the white-bread, DC, etc. surrounded by nearby neighborhoods with a mix of people.

Most city's more interesting "hoods" ARE NOT in downtown proper or the "business district" but near or attached to downtown (downtown proper is generally for business and tourist...toss in a nice park, retail, plazas, etc for some locals to do their thing)...that's anywhere USA (LA is a prime example). Typically, universities tend to be more liberal (that's where you'll find the "misfits" and Charlotte lacks that in the Uptown and adjacent areas near downtown). What would benefit Charlotte is an area of mid-rises (not downtown but near...eg, Georgetown) that caters totally to urban living. Oh, and a large PARK! Hell, you're getting or got everything else!

What I don't understand, is the relentless obsession with having an identity or world-class identity.

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^You should have seen this area in the late 70s before they tore everything down. It was pretty much open 24 hours/day. It was Charlotte's version of SoHo prior to gentrification.

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It would have made a HUGE difference if UNCC had been located in, or at least near, the center city.

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^You should have seen this area in the late 70s before they tore everything down. It was pretty much open 24 hours/day. It was Charlotte's version of SoHo prior to gentrification.

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I DON'T see it. Maybe it's the people/areas I hang around when I'm there, but the conservative label on Charlotte baffles me (Charleston is one of the most conservative areas on earth IMO, as is Wilmington, I'm from there). Sure, they're a bit funky with small concentrations of diversity but at the core these places are truly conservative. One thing I do know IS NORTH AND SOUTH CAROLINA! For me, both Charleston & Wilmington lack tons of diversity that Charlotte or RDU provide. Great towns but are small and touristy/local in nature. Charleston is definitely a ladder above Wilmington in terms of urban living but neither are on the radar for a mass of people looking to relocate or live. For some to retire or be near the beach but not for the mass of people (primarily the lack of job variety!).

My lovely wife-to-be is from the Mooresville area and we're probably moving there in a couple of years... (one reason I'm always on the this forum). I prefer the RDU area but such is life...if you're married you'll understand :o (my road trips to DC are much closer from here) and Durham fits me like an old pair of jeans.

World class...who cares? But to label Charlotte as some religion-infested area is beyond what I've seen and experienced. I don't care to or have to deal with that type of an environment. Does that culture rear it's head in RDU, Houston, Dallas, etc. Yes! Does is it exist in the DC area..Yes! But I didn't/don't deal with it because I choose otherwise. I'm southern, I've got strong religious beliefs/opinions. Like anywhere else, if it doesn't appeal to YOU, ignore it and keep the ball rolling.

Charlotte is not that different than most city's I've traveled to and/or lived in. The heart of downtown is for the white-bread, DC, etc. surrounded by nearby neighborhoods with a mix of people.

Most city's more interesting "hoods" ARE NOT in downtown proper or the "business district" but near or attached to downtown (downtown proper is generally for business and tourist...toss in a nice park, retail, plazas, etc for some locals to do their thing)...that's anywhere USA (LA is a prime example). Typically, universities tend to be more liberal (that's where you'll find the "misfits" and Charlotte lacks that in the Uptown and adjacent areas near downtown). What would benefit Charlotte is an area of mid-rises (not downtown but near...eg, Georgetown) that caters totally to urban living. Oh, and a large PARK! Hell, you're getting or got everything else!

What I don't understand, is the relentless obsession with having an identity or world-class identity.

Just my opinion and observation after years on the road.....

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