Tours

  • A mixed-use center for town and gown
    <strong>Storrs Center</strong> <em>Mansfield, CT</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • A unique building becomes a hub for historic neighborhoods
    <strong>Ponce City Market</strong> <em>Atlanta, GA</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • Mercado District | Tucson, Arizona
    A timeless place from the ground up. #thisiscnu

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • Southside
    Ten acres that transformed a city #thisiscnu

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • Jazz Market New Orleans Audience Seating
    Jazz Market New Orleans Audience Seating
    Trumpeting a cultural revival
    <strong>Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market</strong>&nbsp; <em>New Orleans, Louisiana</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • Expanding options for a car-oriented suburban area
    <strong>Village of Providence</strong> <em>Huntsville, AL</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • From parking lot to urban tour-de-force
    <strong>UCLA Weyburn</strong>&nbsp;<em>Los Angeles, California</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • Historic arcade houses young professionals
    <strong>Microlofts at The Arcade Providence</strong>&nbsp;<em>Providence, Rhode Island</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

  • Crosstown_Concourse_2018_Charter_LooneyRicksKiss
    Crosstown_Concourse_2018_Charter_LooneyRicksKiss
    From former warehouse to "vertical village"
    <strong>Crosstown Concourse</strong>&nbsp; <em>Memphis, Tennessee</em>

    Build Great Places / #thisiscnu

Experience all that our host city has to offer with tours throughout the region on foot, bike, bus, or light rail. Add tours when you register for CNU 31, or add them to your itinerary if you've already registered. Descriptions and pricing below, visual schedule available here

Wednesday, May 31

  • A New Hope (VI) - Hope VI projects | 8:00 - 10:00am
    BUS ($50 Member / $65 Non-Member)
    In the 1990’s, HUD awarded hundreds of HOPE VI grants to cities across the United States to redevelop distressed public housing projects into mixed income neighborhoods. Charlotte received multiple Hope VI grants and employed New Urbanist principles to significantly rethink and rebuild the neighborhoods where the projects were located. The tour will not only visit two of the city's most successful Hope VI neighborhoods, but also a new urban mixed-income project being built today, in the post HOPE VI era. The designers/developers of each neighborhood will discuss the challenges they encountered, and the successes they achieved in trying to both preserve and create new communities.
  • Triangle Tour | 8:00am - 6:00pm (SOLD OUT)
    BUS ($95 Member / $105 Non-Member)
    Communities in the Triangle Region of North Carolina are some of the fastest growing in the nation. How to incorporate this rapid growth while maintaining and enhancing the quality of life for residents has become a critical issue. With cutting edge universities, thriving downtowns, and the beauty of the rolling wooded landscape of the North Carolina Piedmont, towns and cities in the Triangle are exploring ways to integrate this new development into established downtowns and neighborhoods of communities such as Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, and into expanding formerly suburban communities such as Cary. Much of this development is occurring along arterial corridors and on the sites of first generation commercial suburban sprawl. Join us for a day long tour of several communities of the Triangle area, exploring the ways in which newer development is being incorporated or overlaid upon existing city or suburban fabric, as well as how development is being channeled to structure new community patterns in areas that have previously not seen such growth. Local developers, planners, and officials will be on hand to describe how the challenges of expansive growth and change are being addressed.
     
  • 5 Points Forward - The Tactical Afrocentric Urbanism of 5 Points | 8:00 - 10:30am (SOLD OUT)
    STREET CAR / WALK ($30 Member / $45 Non-Member)
    The Historic West End of Charlotte is an important business and cultural district for Charlotte’s African American communities. This 8-mile corridor is often called the “River of Life” for Black Charlotte. A new grassroots urban vision called “5 Points Forward” is on the rise at the 5 Points Plaza in the Historic West End. We will tour the community’s civic and business regeneration activities at this important cultural node anchored by Johnson C. Smith University (a celebrated HBCU). Recent efforts highlighted include the introduction of a streetcar line, the Better Blocks initiative to improve and activate public spaces with cultural programming, the organization to found a food co-op, and the bold move to reclaim land from highway interchanges in order to create a mixed-use arts and culture district. Come speak to the civic leaders, artists and architects laying the foundations of an Afrocentric cultural destination for Charlotte.
     
  • Le Tour de Charlotté - Exploring Charlotte’s Urban AAA (All Ages and Abilities) Bicycle Network | 8:45am (SOLD OUT)
    BIKE ($60 Member / $75 Non-Member)
    This bicycle mobile tour highlights Charlotte’s growing center city bike network and features recently completed projects, like:
    • The Uptown CycleLink – a roughly 7-mile retrofit of streets in the densest urban environment in the Carolinas;
    • Parkwood Ave Road Diet – Charlotte’s most ambitious/aggressive road diet to date; and
    • Charlotte Rail Trail – the backbone of transit/trails-oriented development in one of the hottest real estate markets in the southeast. Participants will be provided with an e-assist bicycle from Charlotte’s all-electric bike share system, JoyRides.

      ​​​The route is approximately 10-miles in length, starting and ending at TBD. The ride will use mostly dedicated, all-ages-and-abilities, bicycle infrastructure, however some riding in mixed traffic is anticipated. It is a “no-drop” ride, meaning we will stick together as a group and accommodate all skill/comfort levels. The proposed tour guides are public and private sector experts on Charlotte’s bicycle infrastructure and culture, including planners and engineers directly responsible for some of Charlotte’s best bicycle infrastructure.
       
  • The Shape(ing) of water - White Water Center | 9:00 - 11:00am
    BUS / WALK ($50 Member / $65 Non-Member)
    The U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina is designed and operated as an outdoor center offering over 30 different recreational activities. The Whitewater Center is currently comprised of over 1,300 acres of protected land offering 50 miles of trail and access to the Catawba River and Long Creek. The Center’s goal is to continue to increase the size of these protected lands and promote even greater access through land acquisition and natural resource management. Tour participants will see the Center’s development with Liquid Design and WWC staff.
     
  • Sketch this: South End | 9:15am - 12:15pm (SOLD OUT)
    LIGHT RAIL / WALK ($45 Member / $60 Non-Member)
    Learn to capture complex subjects in an urban sketch with artist Kevin Utsey. Winner of the Architectural Record 2018 Cocktail Napkin Sketch Contest! He’ll show you how to use basic techniques with perspective and tools so you can get started on your art and save the thinking for later. You’ll be able to capture any moment using ink and watercolor for a scenic urban sketch. All materials (and possibly a stool) and mediums need to be brought by those attending the tours.
  • Rail Trail  | 10:30am - 12:30pm (SOLD OUT)
    LIGHT RAIL ($30 Member / $45 Non-Member)
    Join us for a Transit-Oriented Development & Placemaking Tour of South End along the LYNX Blue Line. Participants will see and learn about multiple examples of transit-oriented development (TOD) as well as art and placemaking implemented through the CATS Art in Transit program and by Charlotte Center City Partners.
  • Camp Northend | 10:30am - 12:30pm
    BUS ($50 Member / $65 Non-Member)
    Once an early 20th century industrial complex that manufactured Ford Model Ts and missiles, Camp North End is being redeveloped into a hub for innovation and creativity in Charlotte. The 76-acre mixed-use site is creating a unified campus designed to encourage collaboration and community. This phased development by ATCO, in partnership with Shorenstein Properties will feature 1.8 million sf of large- and small-scale creative office space and retail, as well as light industrial and event space, with potential for future residential and hospitality use. Camp North End realizes the potential of this long-vacant site as a versatile home for ideation and recreation, located minutes from the core business district. With principal structures all over 180,000 sf per building, this creative campus turns the city’s largest collection of historic buildings into its most ambitious adaptive reuse project yet, incubating innovation in Charlotte, and offering room to grow.
  • Mt Holly - Walkable Small Town Suburbs | 12:30 - 4:30pm
    BUS / WALK ($60 Member / $75 Non-Member)
    Tour participants will explore the small suburban city of Mt Holly. Learn how a historic small town in a large metro area was able to keep its Main Street/Downtowns active, walkable and vibrant without becoming just another suburb full of parking lots. This bus and walking tour will take participants throughout the town.
  • X(CLT) gonna give it to you - Growing Our Greenways – A Joy Ride Through the Queen City | 12:45 - 3:45pm (SOLD OUT)
    BIKE ($60 Member / $75 Non-Member)
    The Mecklenburg County Greenway System is quickly becoming one of the finest in the nation. There are currently 62 miles of greenways in Mecklenburg County, with more being built every year. In 2019, Mecklenburg County established a goal to expand the Charlotte-Mecklenburg greenway network by 30 miles in 4 years. A key part of that commitment is the Cross Charlotte Trail (XCLT) – a 31-mile greenway stretching from South Carolina, through Uptown Charlotte, to UNC Charlotte, and eventually, north to Cabarrus County. This visionary undertaking is a partnership between Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte, who are teaming up to build different segments of the XCLT. This bicycle mobile tour features urban sections of the XCLT and other greenways in center city Charlotte. It will be led by some of the planners responsible for advancing key parts of the County’s greenway network. Participants will be provided with an e-assist bicycle from Charlotte’s all-electric bike share system, JoyRides. The route is approximately 10-miles in length, starting and ending at TBD. The ride will use mostly dedicated, all-ages-and-abilities, bicycle infrastructure, however some riding in mixed traffic is anticipated. It is a “no-drop” ride, meaning we will stick together as a group and accommodate all skill/comfort levels.
  • Periphery Towns - Living on the Edge: A Tour of Davidson | 1:00 - 5:00pm (SOLD OUT)
    BUS / WALK ($60 Member / $75 Non-Member)
    Join experienced private and public sector planners on a tour of Mecklenburg County's northern towns to see best practices and lessons learned from some of the earliest suburban adopters of form-based codes in the southeast region. Participants will travel by bus to Davidson and will walk throughout the town to various destinations. Participants will review the relative success of infill projects in its historic downtown compared to its newer, interstate-adjacent mixed-use areas built upon the same principles as the historic core, along with how other new-urbanist inspired residential projects have matured over time. Attention will be paid to affordable housing, of which Davidson has long led in requiring developments to integrate units within market-rate projects.
  • Under Pressure - Development Pressures on Historic Districts | 1:30 - 3:30pm (SOLD OUT) 
    WALK ($30 Member / $45 Non-Member)
    Southend was the old warehouse district you didnt want to be 20 years ago. The only thing it had going for it was Charlotte's historic neighborhoods on each side in Wilmore and Dilworth. Fastforward 20 years and the towering landscape of Southend has run out of warehouses to turn into midrise office and MF so they are looking to push out, into those historic neighborhoods of Wilmore and Dilworth. This walking tour will look at that development pressure into those historic neighborhoods and how the HDC is keeping development in check to fit in with the historical places of Charlotte.
     
  • Parks, Parks, Parks | 1:15 - 3:15pm (SOLD OUT)
    WALK ($25 Member / $40 Non-Member)
    In the last twenty years, Charlotte has built two major public parks in the center of uptown Charlotte, and the banks and museums have added inviting plazas to their properties as well. These initiatives have greatly increased the livability of the city while simultaneously creating significant value to the property that surrounds them. However, not all the efforts have been successful. The tour will highlight the highs and lows, and the successes and challenges of building urban open space in a city where the Parks and Rec Department is housed in county government.Romare Bearden, First Ward Park, The Green, Wells Fargo Plaza, Mint Museum Plaza, Brevard Court, BofA Plaza.

Thursday, June 1

  • Look what the Banks Built | 10:00am - 12:00pm (SOLD OUT)
    WALK ($25 Member / $40 Non-Member)
    Charlotte is the second largest banking center in the United States. The two largest banks here (now Bank of America and Well Fargo) have transformed the center city with their own growth, but also in the sports and arts-oriented places and projects they have supported. Most of the development has been a huge success, but there are a few bloopers in the mix. The tour will visit those places as well. In a walking tour from the hotel mostly along North Tryon Street, attendees will see places that would have never been built were it not for the leadership of city’s financial institutions. New BofA building, Football stadium, the Levine Cultural Campus, the Green, Overstreet Mall, BofA Corporate Center and the Blumenthal, 7th Street Parking Deck and Market, McColl Center, Fourth Ward, the Bof ACall Center and Johnson and Wales.
  • Great BODs! - Exploring Charlotte’s Best Bicycle-Oriented Developments | 10:00am - 1:00pm (SOLD OUT)
    BIKE ($60 Member / $75 Non-Member)
    This bicycle mobile tour highlights some of Charlotte’s most bicycle-friendly buildings, infrastructure, and development projects. Participants will be provided with an e-assist bicycle from Charlotte’s all-electric bike share system, JoyRides. The route is approximately 10-miles in length, starting and ending at TBD. The ride will use mostly dedicated bicycle infrastructure and low-stress streets, however some riding in mixed traffic is anticipated. It is a “no-drop” ride, meaning we will stick together as a group and accommodate all skill/comfort levels. The proposed tour guides are public and private sector experts on Charlotte’s bicycle infrastructure and culture, including planners and architects directly responsible for some of Charlotte’s best bicycle infrastructure and bicycle-oriented developments.
  • Birkdaling Birkdale | 12:00 - 2:00pm (SOLD OUT)
    BUS ($50 Member / $65 Non-Member)
    Birkdale Village was the first project of its kind to be built in North Carolina. Multiple onsite and nearby housing choices are coupled with even more varied lifestyle opportunities for recreation, entertainment, shopping, leisure, dining and neighborhood services. Now in its 20th year of operation, Birkdale remains one of the most studied and copied mixed-use projects by developers and municipalities alike. It is currently being modernized by its newest owner, North American Properties, to propel it into the next wave of placemaking in Charlotte and ensure it remains relevant for generations to come.
  • House: Affordable - Affordable Housing Public Private Partnerships in Charlotte | 3:00 - 6:00pm (SOLD OUT)
    BUS ($60 Member / $75 Non-Member)
    Join us on a tour of range of examples of Public Private Partnerships for Affordable Housing in Charlotte. From Mixed-Income Tax Credit Developments to Workforce Housing, Preservation of Existing Multi-Family Communities, Single Family Home Rehabs, as well as critical new home building efforts. In Charlotte, both the public and private sector have stepped up to support a myriad of development efforts that are resulting in real change. Come learn about real examples of public bond funds, private debt and equity impact capital, creative use of tax revenue and support for the local development community (both for-profit and non-profit).

Friday, June 2

  • Sketch this: NoDa | 10:00am - 1:00pm (SOLD OUT)
    LIGHT RAIL / WALK ($45 Member / $60 Non-Member)
    Learn to capture complex subjects in an urban sketch with artist Kevin Utsey. Winner of the Architectural Record 2018 Cocktail Napkin Sketch Contest! He’ll show you how to use basic techniques with perspective and tools so you can get started on your art and save the thinking for later. You’ll be able to capture any moment using ink and watercolor for a scenic urban sketch. All materials (and possibly a stool) and mediums need to be brought by those attending the tours.
  • Fighting Gentrification - Through the Local Historic Districts: McCrorey Heights & Oaklawn Park | 10:00am - 12:00pm (SOLD OUT)
    BUS / WALK ($50 Member / $65 Non-Member)
    In his time as head of Charlotte’s Historic Districts Commission, urban planner John Howard worked closely with two post-WWII African-American neighborhoods which sought Local Historic District designation as a tool to help deal with gentrification. We’ll visit both, McCrorey Heights & Oaklawn Park, and meet with neighborhood leaders. The tour includes both walking and bus/van transportation.
  • Reinventing the Front Porch | 10:00am - 1:00pm (SOLD OUT)
    BIKE ($60 Member / $75 Non-Member)
    Cluck Design has a large portfolio of projects growing almost daily in Charlotte. This tour focuses on their vision through renovation to help clients create nodes of placemaking through traditional neighborhood of Charlotte like Southend, Noda, West End + Midwood. These renovations have grown into new "front porches" building stronger communities and places for people to see old friends and make new.  This bike tour will allow a stroll through the neighborhoods it is building as it links together places like Church on Parkwood, Goodyear House, Undercurrent Coffee, Vanlandingham Estate in North Charlotte or Town Brewing, Common Market and Southbound in South Charlotte.
  • John Nolan was his Name-O! | 12:00pm - 2:00pm (SOLD OUT)
    BUS ($50 Member / $65 Non-Member)
    Queens Road has long been considered one of Charlotte’s most beautiful streets. It sits within one of the great historic neighborhoods in Charlotte, Myers Park, which was designed in 1911 by John Nolen. Queens Road, and its beautiful landscape, is considered the spine of Myers Park. The winding streets and elegant plan have made it one of the city’s most sought after neighborhoods; a marvelous example of successful early twentieth century first ring suburban development. It has proven to be adaptable as well as lasting. This tour will discuss the planning logic as well as the aesthetic and cultural value of the neighborhood.
  • No Cars Allowed - Neighborhood Development | 3:30 - 5:30pm (SOLD OUT)
    BUS / WALK ($50 Member / $76 Non-Member)
    In the last five years, areas closest to the city have exponentially grown in cost and as an effect have seen apartment rental prices soar. Some developers are building in this same area without the typical parking requirements found in traditional multifamily buildings, prioritizing alternate modes of transportation for their tenants to embrace. Convenient access to mass transit, building car share and bikes are being provided by these same developers as they scrap traditional parking and make it easier and cheaper to get around than owning a car. See the infill of development and the way these efforts answer the call to minimize energy use from housing and transportation, preserve natural land, and encourage a healthier lifestyle!

Saturday, June 3

    • Sketch This - Uptown | 10:00am - 1:00pm (SOLD OUT)
      WALK ($45 Member / $60 Non-Member)
      Learn to capture complex subjects in an urban sketch with artist Kevin Utsey. Winner of the Architectural Record 2018 Cocktail Napkin Sketch Contest! He’ll show you how to use basic techniques with perspective and tools so you can get started on your art and save the thinking for later. You’ll be able to capture any moment using ink and watercolor for a scenic urban sketch.  All materials (and possibly a stool) and mediums need to be brought by those attending the tours.
    • Mind the Mill: Charlotte's Renovated Textile Mills and the Hip Neighborhoods that Surround Them | 10:00am - 1:00pm (SOLD OUT)
      LIGHT RAIL ($30 Member / $45 Non-Member)
      Charlotte once had dozens of thriving textile mills, but between 1975 and 2003, most of them went out of business and sat vacant thereafter. However, in recent years there has been spike in the redevelopment of these properties, due to the reuse possibilities of their volumetric spaces, stately brick facades, and their towering windows, and spurred on by their location in neighborhoods that are close to the center of the city and connected to it by light rail. The tour will focus on the renovation and adaptive reuse of some of these former mills and the transit supported, now hip, walkable mill villages that surround them. In both the NoDa and Optimist Park neighborhoods, participants will witness how new multi-family housing has been wedged in between the mills and mill houses to create places that are rich in history and urban vitality. Of course, very little of this development came without controversy, especially relative to the juxtaposition of now high land values and the ability of long-time businesses to stay in the neighborhood, or with long-term residents who are wary of the rapid change they are witnessing. The new and increased density also creates a parking challenge so large decks wrapped by housing have proliferated as a building type. Simultaneously, the city is supporting an experiment with car-free development. But it is this very collision of old and new that creates both opportunities and challenges, and serves as the basis for lessons to be learned.
    • In Our Lane! Sustain Charlotte Ride | 10:00am - 12:00pm (SOLD OUT)
      BIKE ($60 Member / $75 Non-Member)
      This bicycle tour led by Sustain Charlotte will take you from the Lynx light rail stop at Parkwood eastward along one of Charlotte's more transformative street diet projects. This project resulted from the Parkwood Avenue & The Plaza Corridor Study. This corridor study only happened through many years of advocacy work by Sustain Charlotte and the multiple neighborhood associations supported by their residents. A once four-lane deadly neighborhood highway has now been remade into a "AAA" (All Ages and Abilities) network segment that connects the Plaza Midwood neighborhood to other adjacent neighborhoods and rapid transit. With this project, along with the entire Priority Bike Network (once completed), we will get more people out commuting by bike and scooter safely! This project demonstrates the power of advocacy and experience that help shape policy in the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.  
    • (Not) Little Sugar Creek - Charlotte's Green Corridors and the Little Sugar Creek Greenway | 12:00 - 2:00pm (SOLD OUT)
      WALK ($25 Member / $40 Non-Member)
      Charlotte doesn’t have the amenity of a major river but it is crisscrossed by numerous creeks, and they have created a location and opportunity for a growing greenway system. But building the bike and pedestrian network wasn’t easy as some of the creeks were hidden under parking lots and had to be daylighted for connections to be made. However, once made visible and then tamed, the exposed creeks and adjacent paths began to create real estate value along them. The walking tour will highlight the Little Sugar Creek Greenway and the adjacent Metropolitan, a new mixed-use main street neighborhood built on the site of a former indoor shopping mall.

    View a visual schedule of all currently scheduled tours here.  

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