Charlotte: An emerging walkable modern-day megalopolis

October 28, 2016 8 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Remember when Jacksonville used to have a larger downtown than Charlotte? The consolidation of the banking industry over the last two decades has pushed Uptown Charlotte into a different stratosphere. Here's a look at a booming Sunbelt urban environment.

Article from

While most of the country's largest cities were significant in size prior to the automobile era, Charlotte didn't pass the 100,000 residential population mark until the 1940 census (100,899). Once, a textile and distribution hub, the 1970s and 1980s saw Charlotte evolve into a major banking center. Since 1990, the city has doubled in population to 827,097 (2015 U.S. Census estimate) and is the nation's second-largest banking center behind New York City and home to 827,097 (2015 US census estimate) residents.

Uptown Charlotte in 1975. (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission)

Named in honor of German princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and incorporated in 1768, Charlotte is a city that has undergone dramatic change over the last decade. Dramatic growth has resulted in the development of a pristine and walkable Center City. While many cities have walkable core areas, Charlotte's vast collection of Neomodern-styled structures architecture create a unique pedestrian scale environment with a special sense of place.  Here's a look the city's rapidly transforming Center City: Uptown Charlotte.

Map of Uptown Charlotte

Uptown Charlotte Photo Tour


Completed in 2001, the 12-story, UNC Charlotte Center City building was designed to resemble a stack of books by world-renowned architectural firm KieranTimberlake.


ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center and the Hearst Center. Completed in 2002, the 659-foot-tall Hearst Center is the city's third tallest.

Uptown Charlotte Photo Tour

Article and photographs by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at