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Smithville Community Plan

Cornelius, NC, USA

Urban Planning

A mixed-income housing infill master plan to retain and prosper the historic Smithville community, an African American community in Cornelius, NC. The plan includes a neighborhood center with public park, an interlinked pedestrian network, and a wide range of housing typologies for affordable housing, senior housing, missing middle housing and single family housing.

Facing displacement pressures due to recent development, the Black-majority Smithville Community in Cornelius must search for new ways to survive. Finding collaborative ways to use land resources for long term prosperity without losing control of them is a tall order, but Neighboring Concepts is working with the community to assure every resident can prosper with new infill community development. To do this, Neighboring Concepts has been collaborating with the client team of the Smithville Community Coalition, led by Willie Jones, on a master plan for new mixed-income, scattered site infill development. New development will not only add locally attainable housing for seniors and families, but it will also critically save historic structures and upgrade neighborhood infrastructure holistically with Town, County and Federal resources. Throughout the process, the plan will strategically rectify liabilities and legal barriers preventing residents from enjoying long-term real estate opportunity and equity, factors that are tied to heirs’ property issues and other structural roadblocks arising from a long history of enacted racial disparities.       

In Progress


35-Acre Neighborhood Area


Smithville Community Coalition

External Team:

Services Provided:

Community Engagement,
Urban Planning,
Urban Design

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