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Oaklawn Forward

Oaklawn, Charlotte, NC, USA

Urban Planning

Oaklawn Forward is a stakeholder-driven development strategy for the future of the Historic District of West End in Charlotte, NC, funded by the Knight Foundation. The initiative aims to create a district-wide improvement and development strategy, branding the district and prominently highlighting its relationship with the Northwest School of the Arts and its history. The study area encompasses the business corridor properties fronting Beatties Ford Road from the Brookshire Freeway to the Northwest School of the Arts, and seeks to catalyze and build on the Oaklawn node's historical, cultural, and small business assets to benefit everyone in the West End corridor. The process included demographic data gathering and analysis, a study of the 5 Point Forward area, an assessment of Transit-Oriented Development and Neighborhood Center zoning overlay, focus group meetings, discussions with key parcel owners, local and national precedents for interstate reclamation, informal reviews with city and state agency staff, and a general public unveiling of the final plan.

To ensure the initiative aligns with community needs, the design team conducted in-person meetings with stakeholders, community leaders, and residents, understanding the perspectives of all local perspectives including both the Gen Z entrepreneur-to-be and the retiree. The team carefully reviewed the new Unified Development Ordinance, coalesced a stakeholder group to mobilize for City Council action, and sought exceptions for historic businesses due to new regulations that would impact them. The team asked stakeholders what to preserve and what to nurture, and what could be built for the community.



60 Acre Business District


Historic West End Partners

External Team:

Services Provided:

Community Engagement
Urban Planning

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