Charlotte Future 2040
Place Types: Regional Activity Center
Goal: Provide major employment locations and cultural destinations for residents from throughout the Charlotte region.
Regional Activity Centers are large, high-density mixed-use areas, typically along transit corridors or major roadways, that provide access to goods, services, dining, offices, entertainment, and residential for regional residents and visitors.
- Uses in Regional Activity Centers, which are frequently vertically-mixed, include office, multi-family, retail, restaurant and entertainment, personal service, and institutional.
- This Place Type is characterized by its urban form, with mid to high-rise commercial, residential, and civic/institutional buildings in a pedestrian-oriented and transit-friendly environment.
- The transportation network supports transit access and complements land uses and design to create a “park once” environment, so that even those who drive to the center are comfortable and encouraged to use other modes within the center.
- The street network is very well-connected, with small blocks and highly walkable connections along streets and between destinations. Easy access and multiple connections between these centers and surrounding residential neighborhoods help reduce auto trip lengths, keep some vehicles off the Arterials, and encourage transit, walking, or bicycling
to the Center.
- Arterials provide for safe and comfortable transit, pedestrian, and bicycling movement. There are frequent opportunities to cross the Arterials, and the pedestrian facilities accommodate large groups of people.
- Mobility hubs with transit stations, pick-up and drop-off areas, bike parking and rental, and micro-mobility options should be provided within this Place Type to accommodate the high-level of non-vehicular traffic.
- The predominant building type is a mid- or high-rise building (over five stories) with commercial, institutional, multi-family or a mix of uses in the buildings. Buildings may be up to 20 stories when developed with community benefits.
- Buildings are designed with active ground floor uses to support a vibrant pedestrian environment. They have tall ground floors and a high degree of transparency using clear glass windows and doors. Buildings are also designed to step back after 3-5 stories, to provide a human scale at street level.
- Buildings over 8-10 stories may have “point towers,” where only a smaller portion of the building mass is built to the maximum height in order to maintain views and natural light. The portion of the building that is stepped back to the tower can be used for private open space and amenities.
- Improved open space is a key feature of this Place Type. Regional Activity Centers include numerous improved open spaces such as plazas, patios, and courtyards that may include landscaping. Public open spaces such as small parks and greenways, and natural open spaces such as tree preservation areas, are also an important feature and should be included.
- Safe pedestrian connections, including midblock crossings
- Wide sidewalks with hardscape amenity zone or landscape zone
- Safe, accessible bike facilities (grade separated or buffered on major streets)
- Highly amenitized public realm with transit stops and mobility hub
- Ground floors with retail or other active uses, buildings oriented to street
- Rooftop patios and upper story balconies
Bird’s Eye Highlights
- Mid- to high-rise mixed-use, hospitality, office, and high-density residential development (5 to 20 stories)
- “Point towers” con be used to step down the tallest buildings
- Active ground floors and buildings oriented to the street
- Organized/gridded street grid with 400-500’ blocks
- Frequent pedestrian connections to and between buildings and blocks
- On-street parking, screened, or wrapped parking lots and structures
- Transition down in density to adjacent neighborhoods
- Buildings are primarily mid- to high-rise mixed-use, with a variety of forms and uses. They are typically over five stories.
- Buildings may be as tall as 20 stories in Uptown or when developed with community benefits such as public space and amenities or affordable housing.
- All buildings should have a highly transparent and active ground floor to support a vibrant pedestrian environment, where uses spill into the public realm.
- A large, comfortable public realm with many amenities is key to creating a dense, walkable, mixed-use environment that supports offices, businesses, residents, and other active uses.
- Buildings orient and front directly onto streets with prominent entrances connected directly to the public realm. Buildings may also, secondarily, orient toward shared open spaces, parks and greenways.
- A tall ground floor, stepbacks and articulation in the facade helps create a human scale and a vibrant public realm.