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Rufus

What is Charlotte doing right?

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Charlotte Native's topic on a perfect city got me to thinkin. In today's day and age, we are seeing cities grow at paces never seen before. What once was a suburban trend is now growing towards an urban lifestyle. So the question being raised is, with all of the talk about what makes a perfect city, what cities emulate a perfect city, and what cities aren't, we have begun to realize Charlotte's faults in becoming a truly urban city. So what exactly is Charlotte doing right in becoming an urban city?

To me Charlotte has reached the basic stepping stones to being an urban city. Yes there are bumps in the road that need to be brought to attention, but we have done some good. For example:

Mass transit -- the Light Rail is fulfilling a much needed amenity that will help reduce the car pollution we now have

Urban infill -- the space erasing parking lots are now being erased themselves by new developments

Uptown residential opportunites -- the new towers are a good step along with the many other residential low rises that are filling up space and providing uptown with a residential base to hopefully ensure a more 24-7 lifestyle here in the city.

Other "goods" that Charlotte a=has begun to realize or has taken part in also include LEED buildings, larger focus on the arts, and a pretty decent job of promoting an urban lifestyle.

What other things come to mind that Charlotte has done well or has begun to recognize in order to become a more urban city for all residents?

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Sugar Creek greenway goes a long way into creating a pedistrian corridor for a large portion of the city.

Hope people find out about it and it gets used.

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I think the U.S. National Whitewater Center will turn out to be a gem, and perhaps another great tourist attraction for the city. Also, it adds some diversification from the protypical NASCAR enthusiasts/tourists.

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I have complained in the past about the lack of inclusion of affordable housing in new developments but when I went back and investigated I must say that Charlotte has greatly improved in this sector. Scaleybark,Live Oak,Brooklyn, and others are including mixed income components which helps to foster a diverse urban enviroment :thumbsup:

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Sugar Creek greenway goes a long way into creating a pedistrian corridor for a large portion of the city.

Hope people find out about it and it gets used.

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I've been wanting to comment on this in the Metropolitan thread but have restrained myself as it is not exactly relevant. I agree with this point wholeheartedly, but I also think we need to take the LSC greenway to the next level - develop low-rises (5 - 10 floors) along as much of it as possible, abutting it's boundaries, have occasional openings for wider park areas and/or relaxed outdoor retail areas, kind of like Venice meets a residential Riverwalk (a la S.A., Texas) with urban park thrown in. There is a neighborhood in DC that is similar to what's in my head for this, I'll look up and see if I can find pics.

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^ Pieces of it, yes, though it has "tributaries" that I am more talking about, but for simplicity's sake, yes, Rock Creek Park. Wiki doesn't really have the pics I am thinking of, of course...

Thanks. :)

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Though it will be interesting to see exactly what they will end up with at the Met, lets keep in mind that Sugar Creek acts as a big open air sewer for all of the water that runs off the streets that surround it. So it ranges from having no water in it to being a raging rapids during downpours. Decades ago they tried making it into a public recreation area in Freedom park where there were paddle boats and such in that part of the creek. That is why if you pay attention to it you will see all of the strange dams and other concrete structures in the creek there. Unfortunately what I said above made it difficult to do and they eventually abandoned the idea. As long as this creek is bound by concrete walls as it meanders through this part of Charlotte then it becomes difficult to contain. And this doesn't even get into how unsanitary the water is.

Now if they would consider returning it back to what it was in nature and remove the development from around it and let it go natural then it might be a good idea.

However the greenway system in general is one of the pluses for the area.

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Charlotte is doing great in the arts sector. We already have Booth Playhouse, Belk Theatre, Spirit Square, Ovens, the two theatres at imaginon, and we are gaining the Charlotte Theatre and the Wachovia Theatre. As far as museums go, we have the Museum of the New South, Mint Craft and Design, the old burned out church, a bunch of galleries, and probably some museums that I am forgetting. We are also gaining the mint museum and the bechler. THe nascar hall of fame isn't really related to art, but that is a museum that will help tourism.

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Generally speaking I think Charlotte has done a good job, whether by trying or by good luck and chance, of attracting newcomers from all over. The result has been a building boom -- both the good and the bad have come with that but it has created far more options for lifestyles and living than have been here in the past. It has also provided us with lots more ethnic foods and regional foods.

I also think center city has been fortunate to gain a significant amount of cafes and restaurants. We need more, certainly more and much more variety, but these things if they develop organically and are not part of some cheezy overall master plan simply take time. We need tons more retail, but that too is going to take a while. Overall the downtown area has changed dramatically from the days when the only thing to do downtown after hours was Mythos or Cosmos.

I think we have also done a tremendous job preserving our tree canopy, a signature of the city. To me it remains priority and I was very happy last year to see the city planting replacement trees all over the place in their right-of-ways.

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The city has avoided developing a huge underclass. The poverty rate is pretty low compared to other big cities. Unemployment isn't extreme, and there is much opportunity. The city has mostly avoided white flight, and has kept the tax base intact and growing.

Charlotte has also done well in keeping the tree canopy.

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--> Committment to transit - I could write for days on this, but suffice it to say Charlotte (despite the S.LRT $ hiccups) is on the right path

--> Uptown development and streetscaping - very attractive and lots of exciting projects going on and will continue to help fuel the region's growth in many ways

--> This could go with #1, but more succintly put, good attention paid to 'greening' up the city and sustainable growth

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What does Charlotte have going for it? Easy, people like us who give a damn. We all deserve a pat on the back for being engaged in what goes on in our city and tyring to be proactive about what will affect us in the future.

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I am very happy that Charlotte has managed to build up the bus system so that it is carrying around 22 million riders/year. It's an impressive achievement and one that does not have many equals in the South. The fact there are a number of cities cutting service while Charlotte continues to expand its service, is quite remarkable.

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The local economy is pretty darn robust. I think that's an obvious plus.

The older neighborhoods in Charlotte are some of the nicest I've seen anywhere.

While we tend to lament the lack of historic architecture in Charlotte, I think the city overall has some pretty nice, even unique, examples of adaptive reuse of historic structures.

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Driving through there at least once per year, I find the skyline view from I-85 to be architecturally pleasing. Great balance and diversity in the looks and heights of the buildings with one's eyes being naturally guided toward the BOA tower. Wachovia will add even more balance.

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The local economy is pretty darn robust. I think that's an obvious plus.

The older neighborhoods in Charlotte are some of the nicest I've seen anywhere.

While we tend to lament the lack of historic architecture in Charlotte, I think the city overall has some pretty nice, even unique, examples of adaptive reuse of historic structures.

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The local economy is pretty darn robust. I think that's an obvious plus.

The older neighborhoods in Charlotte are some of the nicest I've seen anywhere.

While we tend to lament the lack of historic architecture in Charlotte, I think the city overall has some pretty nice, even unique, examples of adaptive reuse of historic structures.

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What is in the works as far as long term planning for *significant* cultural attractions in the CBD (or near by)? My personal wish has been for an aquarium though that may now be overkill since ATL's opened a year ago. In other words, are any signature type things planned that give CLT a cultural destination-level attraction?

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What is in the works as far as long term planning for *significant* cultural attractions in the CBD (or near by)? My personal wish has been for an aquarium though that may now be overkill since ATL's opened a year ago. In other words, are any signature type things planned that give CLT a cultural destination-level attraction?

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Of course the Mint Museums under one roof, located uptown. That will be a big cultural draw.

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Was thinking on a larger scale than these examples, though they are of course in total a positive force for CLT so don't want to sound as if that is a complaint, just really thinking of the wow factor and major attractions as with other major cities we will join the ranks of in a decade or two.

Examples: Chicago's Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium; NYC Broadway, Ellis Isle, etc.; San Fran's Chinese New Year Parade and arts scene; Seattle's Art Museum, wharf district; and even ATL's Olympic village and new aquarium of course. Not so much for the purpose of bragging rights, but as a symbolic thing, a positive association for people to make with CLT. Nothing against NASCAR, I'd just prefer it be something else.

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Examples: Chicago's Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium; NYC Broadway, Ellis Isle, etc.; San Fran's Chinese New Year Parade and arts scene; Seattle's Art Museum, wharf district; and even ATL's Olympic village and new aquarium of course. Not so much for the purpose of bragging rights, but as a symbolic thing, a positive association for people to make with CLT. Nothing against NASCAR, I'd just prefer it be something else.

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Was thinking on a larger scale than these examples, though they are of course in total a positive force for CLT so don't want to sound as if that is a complaint, just really thinking of the wow factor and major attractions as with other major cities we will join the ranks of in a decade or two.

Examples: Chicago's Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium; NYC Broadway, Ellis Isle, etc.; San Fran's Chinese New Year Parade and arts scene; Seattle's Art Museum, wharf district; and even ATL's Olympic village and new aquarium of course. Not so much for the purpose of bragging rights, but as a symbolic thing, a positive association for people to make with CLT. Nothing against NASCAR, I'd just prefer it be something else.

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