Last week, ULI’s Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use brought together 20 members from multiple disciplines of real estate development and city planning for the ULI Charles H. Shaw Forum, an annual forum that focuses on development issues in urban neighborhoods. Gathering in Charlotte, North Carolina, participants shared experiences and discussed how communities can drive redevelopment strategies at the corridor scale.
While there is little debate that vibrant mixed-use communities with viable alternatives to driving are desirable assets for revitalizing downtown environments, few communities have found the package of investments or policy interventions that can turn outdated retail and auto-dominated strips into corridors that truly serve their communities.
By focusing primarily on how communities are working toward creating safe, vibrant, mixed-use places with next-generation infrastructure, this year’s Shaw Forum was intended to create a space where practitioners could discuss openly the policies and approaches currently employed across the nation for corridor revitalization and consider whether there are general lessons of scalable impact on operations and strategies for future projects.
The city of Charlotte was selected as the venue for this conversation because of ULI’s previous experience working with municipal officials during the 2010–2011 Daniel Rose Fellowship to identify the initial implementation steps to re-energize, reposition, and ensure long-term viability of development along Independence Boulevard, historically one of Charlotte’s major commercial corridors.
Over the course of a day and a half, Daniel Rose Fellow alumni and other ULI members toured three major corridors in east Charlotte, including Independence Boulevard, convened for presentations, and deliberated over the common policies and approaches for corridor redevelopment. In addition, Maureen McAvey, ULI/Bucksbaum Family Chair for Retail, presented observations from a cooperative forum held with the Office of Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the International Council of Shopping Centers earlier this year that explored the issues of retail in underserved communities. McAvey’s presentation outlined conclusions that will appear in a forthcoming forum report, tentatively titled Retail in Underserved Communities.