International Experts Examine Public Spaces in Charlotte Neighborhoods

October 28, 2014 9:50 am

“Public Space Public Life Study” kicks off this Wednesday in South End

What: “Favorite Places” Workshop

When: Wednesday, Oct. 29 | 5:30-7:30pm

Where: Byron’s South End (101 W Worthington Ave #110)

Who: Everyone is invited!

ExpertsJeff Risom, Partner, Managing Director US, Gehl Julia Day, Project Manager, Gehl


What is it that makes the most popular public spaces in Charlotte so cool? Some of our favorite spots in Charlotte will be the subject of a study by international firm Gehl Studio beginning with an open workshop this Wednesday. The goal is to determine not only what makes these spaces successful, but also haw we can improve upon the spaces we have and better design more quality public spaces in the future. Background information on the project is below.

Gehl Studio is still looking for volunteers to help with observation of some of these spaces next week (Thursday, Nov. 6 and Saturday, Nov. 8). To sign up as a volunteer to help with the study, click here.



Public space is what connects people and places together in our cities. Quality spaces that support vibrant public life are a vital element of Charlotte’s neighborhoods. The way we enhance public spaces should be based on understanding how people in our community use the public realm.

Gehl Studio (Copenhagen and New York) is working with Charlotte Center City Partners, funded in part by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, on two initiatives to understand how to improve Charlotte’s public spaces.

1. Gehl Studio will facilitate a “Favorite Places” Workshop to find out from you how Charlotte’s public spaces are working and how they can be improved. Gehl will take advantage of this opportunity to hear from the people who know our city and its neighborhoods best. This workshop will take place on Wednesday, October 29 from 5:30 -7:30 pm at Byron’s South End. In addition to the community workshop, Gehl Studio will be conducting a series of four informal workshops where they will engage directly with the public at Common Market in South End, EPICENTRE, 7th Street Public Market, and Noda Brewery in an effort to reach a diverse range of citizens who are unlikely to attend a formal community workshop.

2. To help understand how public spaces in Charlotte can be designed better, Gehl Studio will conduct an ethnographic analysis called a Public Space Public Life Survey to find out who uses our public spaces and how the spaces are being used. This data will be used to encourage planning and policy that inspires creative, people-first public space design in Charlotte. Community volunteers will assist in conducting these observational studies during the first week of November in six different locations around Center City. These locations are the 7th Street Public Market, Romare Bearden Park, the Camden Road area in South End, Tranquil Court in Myers Park, Five Points on the West Side, and the Plaza Midwood business & entertainment district along Central & Commonwealth Avenues.

Next Steps:

Following the above-mentioned planning initiatives, the Gehl team will develop an illustrated Public Space Network Plan, which can be used to guide and inform the North Tryon Vision Plan but also be used to develop benchmarks for Charlotte planning efforts, inform design principles, and identify pilot project locations.

The Gehl team will return in late January to Mid-February to present the plan to the community.


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