Tom Low's Vision for De-Sprawling Charlotte
Director of planning at Duany Plater-Zyberk, Low argues that traditional neighborhood design should play more of a role in a city that has spent too much of its history sprawling.
"Whatever its descriptor, Low is one of Charlotte's most vocal advocates for applying new urbanist principles to the city-for transforming traffic-dense spots like Fairview Road or Trade and Tryon into pedestrian-friendly town centers, stopping the construction of walled-off neighborhoods like those in Ballantyne or SouthPark, and retrofitting suburbia to be more connected to its own town center.
Our need for this kind of planning in Charlotte is urgent, he says. The evidence supports him.
Our sprawl is drawing national attention. In February, CNN Money named Charlotte one of the country's top ten "foreclosure hot spots" (the foreclosure rate increased by 37 percent in 2010, with one in fifty homes being repossessed). Forbes named it the second-most gas-guzzling city in the United States, with the average household driving 21,500 miles per year, a figure made all the more daunting when you take into account the nearly $4 we're spending on each gallon of gas."