UNC Charlotte Student Project Serves as Backdrop for Transit-Oriented Development Event

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

CHARLOTTE -- July 2, 2013 -- It started as a simple assignment for UNC Charlotte Master of Urban Design students: what should a sustainable, mixed-use development on 200 acres along the proposed commuter rail Red Line in northern Mecklenburg County look like?

Four months, 14 students and a multitude of renderings later, Professor Deb Ryan’s class has come up with some answers. Their vision will be the backdrop for a transit-oriented development breakfast at UNC Charlotte Center City on Monday, July 8.

“I don’t know of many developers who have the foresight to ask a class full of millennials to come up with a vision for their project,” Ryan says. “The Eastfield project provided the students an opportunity to explore the best and most innovative practices in sustainable development. The community they designed illustrates how transportation choices can create a socially connected, environmentally responsive, vibrant place where people can live, work, play, worship, and lead a healthier lifestyle.”

Eastfield, at least the way developer Phil Gandy – and now the students of this UNC Charlotte class – see it, is a blueprint of how sustainable, transit-oriented development in the Charlotte region should unfold. At the July 8 event, the tax revenue, economic development, environmental and quality of life impacts of such a project will be discussed by a panel followed by questions from attendees.

“The current shift in demographics, renewed desire to live in urban settings and the changing housing preferences all point to transit-oriented developments,” says Gandy. “They offer a mix of residential housing, employment centers and retail opportunities that will be the preferred place to live and work moving forward.”

The UNC Charlotte Master of Urban Design program is an applied research and design degree, structured to prepare design and planning professionals to engage complex issues faced by American towns and cities.The program takes the Charlotte metropolitan region as its laboratory while also examining issues of national and global import. 

Panelists include Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain and Charlotte City Councilman David Howard, who recently co-chaired the MTC Transit Funding Working Group; Natalie English of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, David Walters of the UNC Charlotte Masters of Urban Design program, Shannon Binns of Sustain Charlotte and Marsha Kaiser of the Washington, D.C. office of Parsons-Brinckerhoff.


Contact: Jill Santuccio, PRISM Communications,  704-361-8896 or PRISMJill@carolina.rr.com

UNC Charlotte Contact:  Paul Nowell, 704-582-9250, pmnowell@uncc.edu




Elected Officials, Charlotte Chamber, Sustain Charlotte, Planners and Academicians Gather for Panel