Walking Distance: 10-minute neighborhood part of Charlotte 2040 Plan


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Charlotte City leaders are in the middle of crafting and creating the 2040 plan. While there are plenty of options for growth, one thing they are looking at is “10-minute neighborhoods.”

Forget driving, Linda Deniston has one way of getting where she needs to go.

“I love to walk,” said Linda. “I walk every day. I just enjoy the atmosphere.”

Linda has lived in Dilworth for the last 50 years. If she needs something, chances are she can get there by walking.

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“I walk to the bank, I walk to the grocery store, Lowes,” said Lind. “I walk everywhere.”

Though Dilworth is a historic neighborhood, it’s also a blueprint for the future. From apartments, homes, grocery stores, and businesses everything is within a ten-minute walk. There are a handful of neighborhoods around the Queen City that fit that description, like Dilworth and Elizabeth.

“We have the overall vision of where the city is going to try to go, but now they’re really trying to write the road map and figure out the directions of how we get there,” said Ely Portillo. Ely’s the Assistant Director for Outreach and Strategic Partnerships at UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. They research growth, development, and societal issues within the area of Charlotte.

Ely said city officials are looking at “10-minute neighborhoods” as a way to help Charlotte grow, without creating massive traffic problems everywhere.

“This is really about creating a future that’s maybe not so congested, but it’s tough to do it when we’re dealing with the present-day realities of growth,” said Ely.

He said, hundreds of thousands of people are already moving to Charlotte each year and it’s hard to figure out where and how to grow when people are already coming.

However, he pointed out that it’s hard to get those neighborhoods established before people come.

“The developers, on the other hand, they’re saying listen…those grocery stores, shops, goods, and services, saying they aren’t going to build there unless there are residents, there are rooftops already there,” said Ely.

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Ely said, it’s definitely possible to create more “10 minute neighborhoods” throughout the city, but they likely won’t be the only way the city will grow.

“I don’t think it’s impossible because we have so many examples of how we can do it, it’s just going to take a lot more time to get there,” said Ely.

Ely said we will know more when the official 2040 blueprint comes out. City leaders are still trying to figure certain parts out.

“I think what we’re seeing now is some early tension about whether we build for the future or whether we really focus on what we’ve got, where we have density and trying to steer more growth to those places that are already built-in denser neighborhoods,” said Ely.

As for Linda, she said being able to walk everywhere is part of the reason why she’s staying in Dilworth.

“I don’t like driving, so that’s another reason why I love Dilworth,” said Linda.

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