The City.Building.Lab pursues research initiatives that explore speculative, current and historical perspectives on urbanism, sustainable urban design, and development policies and practices. The lab examines these issues through various scales ranging from the neighborhood to the region and through a variety of initiatives ranging from classroom-based / student engaged partnerships, to grant funded regional policy initiatives, and to faculty led urban design scholarship.

Community Planning Workshop

This Community Planning Workshop (CPW) is a cross-listed course offered by the Master of Urban Design Program and the Community Planning Track of the Master of Geography and Earth Sciences. The City.Building.Lab, in collaboration with CHARP (the Charlotte Action Research Project) often “seeds” action-based research initiatives through the CPW. The CPW aims to create a platform for and exposure to participatory community planning processes. Students deepen their understanding of the issues facing today’s community development specialists, community organizers, urban designers and planners, as well as policy makers through explorations of the causes and consequences of neighborhood decline, successful neighborhood revitalization, and the theoretical tensions in community planning. One key aspect of this course is that it infuses planning practices with public interest and design-based thinking in order to connect policy and planning, design and development, as well as advocacy and empowerment.

Topic Studios

Through elective studios in the School of Architecture and intermediate Urban Design studios, the City.Building.Lab engages collaborative reserach and design initiatives that explore issues impacting both Charlotte and cities generally. Issues of public import such as affordable urban housing, civic identity, and sustainability often frame the speculative design investigations undertaken by the lab and its affiliated faculty.