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Mission Statement

The Civic By Design Forum is a monthly discussion on growth issues in the Charlotte region.


The mission of the Civic By Design Forum is to elevate the quality of our region’s built environment and to promote public participation in the creation of a more beautiful and functional region for all. We achieve our mission by engaging and uniting businesses, non-profits, academic institutions, municipal governments, and citizens through civic design. This is a free and open to the public forum starting our sixth year of activity. The Forum is sponsored through partnerships with the Levine Museum of the New South, the Foundation for the Carolinas, Crossroads Charlotte, American Institute of Architects Charlotte, the Congress for the New Urbanism Carolinas, the Charlotte Sierra Club, the US Green Building Council Charlotte, the City of Belmont, the Charlotte Area Bicycle Alliance, the Charlotte Mixed-Income Housing Coalition, CORA Architecture Charlotte, the Institute of Classical Architecture and Classical America Charlotte, and the Public Art Program of Charlotte’s Arts & Science Council. Thomas E. Low AIA CNU LEED  Chair, Civic By Design Forum.

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Check out our January Civic By Design on the new survey, "What Makes Place Matter."

Local non-profits, institutions, and the real estate community lead a panel discussion.

January 11, 2010, 5:30PM - The Levine Museum of the New South

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Latest News: Charlotte Sprawl Repair is a hot topic. Follow the link for a full report!

Listen on WFAE for the Charlotte Talks episode airing on February 18, 2010.

 

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Forum Calendar

2011

April

2010-November

CIVILIZING PLACES: PROJECT 1 OF 20 - PAVEMENT TO PLAZA

The Transformation of a Parking Lot into a Civic Garden Square for Charlotte Community School for Girls

PURPOSE: Pavement to Plaza programs have been popularized in cities including New York City and San Francisco. The purpose is to see how we can re-design relatively dense spaces to have a higher yield on our community. For the Charlotte Community School for Girls the transformation of an ugly parking lot into an inviting Civic Garden Square enable the space to become more people friendly, nature friendly, and serve as an educational and nutritional opportunity for the students.

OVERVIEW: By engaging the creative ideas of the students attending the Charlotte Community School for Girls — whose circulium is based on utilizing both left and right brain thinking — and using found and donated materials, we will utilize the approach of "lighter, quicker, cheaper"[LQC] to provide a vibrant public space without large expenditure of capital.

APRIL 12 EVENT: The public is invited to join us for the Forum meeting hosted at the Community School for Girls. The Forum will feature a panel discussion with local experts on urban gardening and agrarian urbanism followed by an open discussion. Earlier in the afternoon a small group of Civic By Design volunteers and partners will be working with the students on the next major step in installing the Civic Garden Square to be showcased for the Forum event.

PARTNERS: The Charlotte Community School for Girls, Woolly Pockets for Schools, Mecklenburg County Waste Reduction Program, Mecklenburg County Sheriff Department, Myers Park Garden Center, Crossroads Charlotte.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 | 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Charlotte Community School for Girls
1440 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28203
Turn on to Summit Avenue to find the school. Also within walking distance of the Bland Street Light Rail Station.
Free and open to the public
Parking on and across the street
RSVP info@civicbydesign.com

2010

2010-CBD

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December

2010-November

THE GREENEST SKYSCRAPER IN THE WORLD?

Can Charlotte now claim the greenest skyscraper in the world?

The Duke Energy Center has earned platinum-level LEED certification under the sustainable standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Wachovia Corp. – before it was acquired by Wells Fargo & Co. – developed the office tower under USGBC’s LEED for Core & Shell rating system Version 2.0.

We are pleased to announce we have confirmation for a tour of the Duke Energy Center for the Civic By Design Forum.

The tour will take approximately one hour to complete. We will visit several of the "green" elements of the building that contributed to its LEED Platinum designation. I have attached a news release announcing the LEED Platinum certification, which will provide more background on the building.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 | 5:15pm – 6:30pm
Duke Energy Center
534 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202
Free and open to the public
RSVP info@civicbydesign.com

November

2010-November

THE LANGUAGE OF TOWNS & CITIES:
A VISUAL DICTIONARY

How often do citizens, elected officials, and other decision-makers find confusion instead of clarity when discussing urban design? How can we attempt to help guide neighborhoods, towns, and cities and overcome the failures of the past, address current issues, and anticipate the needs of the future when we lack of a common language on urban design?

Dhiru Thadani’s The Language of Towns & Cities: offers a visual "encyclodictionary" that allows the professional and the layperson easy access to a vast source of ideas, materials, and methods at once comprehensive and accessible.

 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 | 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Levine Museum of the New South
200 East Seventh Street
Charlotte NC
Free and open to the public
RSVP info@civicbydesign.com

 

October

October 2010

ORGANIC REGENERATION THROUGH CULTURAL MEMORY: LESSONS FROM ATHENS FOR CHARLOTTE

The 2004 Olympics showered hundreds of millions of investment on new projects in and around Athens. Six months after the games, the Greek economy cratered and sports venues lay empty and unused. But the exception may be the successes gained by projects based on organic regeneration tied to walkability, history, and transit. How can these lessons apply to Charlotte?

Come hear Mary Newsom, a Charlotte Observer associate editor who writes about urban growth and development. She recently attended a conference of International Urban Fellows in Athens on the role of memory in urban regeneration - whether it's an asset or a hindrance. What she discovered is an unpublicized benefit from Athens' 2004 Olympics for the city's revitalization. http://americancity.org/buzz/entry/2602/ She'll talk about those things and about what they may mean for Charlotte.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 | 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Levine Museum of the New South
200 East Seventh Street
Charlotte NC
Free and open to the public
RSVP info@civicbydesign.com

www.civicbydesign.com

September

September 2010

THE ORIGINAL GREEN: UNLOCKING THE MYSTERY OF TRUE SUSTAINABILITY

How can green living be based on living traditions… the “sustainability all our ancestors knew by heart.” How can sustainability be embodied in our buildings and in the entire communities that they exist in, and the human behaviors they encourage. Before the “thermostat age,” we had no choice but to build green. Somehow, we lost that ability and knowledge. Today, how can we re-learn how to make buildings that are sustainable not just because of what they are made of, but because they are designed to be lovable, durable, flexible, and frugal? While these adjectives sound self-explanatory, what about “lovable”—how does that figure in?

Steve Mouzon, Miami architect and author, will discuss the Original Green, www.originalgreen.org. This is a common-sense, plain-spoken framework for sustainability that’s much broader than most green building discussions today, and it involves all of us.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 | 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Levine Museum of the New South
200 East Seventh Street
Charlotte NC
Free and open to the public
RSVP info@civicbydesign.com

www.civicbydesign.com

AUGUST

August 2010

EXPLORING COTTAGE COMMUNITIES DESIGNED FOR SPIRITUAL RENEWAL IN NATURE: CAMP MEETING GROUNDS

The Camp Meeting Movement of the 19th century is a uniquely American experience that may have its earliest beginnings in North Carolina at Rock Springs Camp Meeting Ground (1794) though it quickly spread to most areas of the country. Balls Creek and Motts Grove in Catawba County also date from the 19th century. The Camp Meetings started as temporary tent camps but soon became permanent communities with unusual cottages and compact street and path layouts, that create a powerful sense of community and relationship with nature. The communities such as the Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association and Ocean Grove, NJ, are better known, but there are still over 1000 of these unique places left. They have many interesting stories to tell us about vernacular building and the power of urban design to create an enduring sense of community.


Sara Hines, architect, photographer and urbanist, became fascinated with the phenomenon and is researching and documenting what she has found. So far she has been to over 40 of these special places and is working toward publishing the results. She has been in North Carolina photographing and experiencing the very different southern style camp meetings and brings a collection from her 2 year (so far) research in progress.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 | 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Levine Museum of the New South
200 East Seventh Street
Charlotte NC
Free and open to the public
RSVP info@civicbydesign.com

www.civicbydesign.com

July

July 2010

BECOMING A LEADER IN URBAN SUSTAINABILITY: WHAT MUST CHARLOTTE DO?

According to SustainLane, www.sustainlane.com, which ranks the sustainability of the 50 most populous cities in our nation, Charlotte ranks 35th. What must Charlotte do to join the ranks of America's most sustainable cities? Without a doubt, a major collective effort will be needed. It will require holistic thinking that considers the economic, environmental, and social aspects of our decisions and a deep commitment by local government, business, academia, and citizens.

Join Shannon Binns, Executive Director of Sustain Charlotte, www.sustaincharlotte.org, and a diverse panel of four local experts from Charlotte's public, private, academic and nonprofit sectors to explore what it will take to for Charlotte to become a leader in urban sustainability.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 | 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Levine Museum of the New South
200 East Seventh Street
Charlotte NC
Free and open to the public
RSVP info@civicbydesign.com

www.civicbydesign.com

June

2010-CBDJune

On the occasion of renowned sustainable designer William McDonough’s return visit Charlotte, we wanted to recommend to Civic By Design Forum participants to attend this lecture sponsored by Charlotte Center City Partners and UNCC School of Architecture.

Please convene with us in the lobby of the Levine Museum of the New South (free parking at 7th street parking garage with a museum stamp) at 5:30PM and stroll and chat with us as we walk through Center City Charlotte. This is intended to help each of us formulate our thoughts on what sustainability means to us by freshly looking at our evolving city. Then inspired by the lecture offer questions for discussion and continue this discussion on the return walk.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 | 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Levine Museum of the New South - Knight Theater
200 East Seventh Street
Charlotte NC
Free and open to the public
RSVP info@civicbydesign.com

www.civicbydesign.com

May

CBD-May2010

SAVE OUR SIGNS

Please join Civic By Design and Historic Charlotte Inc. for the special premier of Save Our Signs - a short documentary video showcasing Charlotte's landmark signs along with a lecture presentation by Historic Charlotte’s Preservation Planner, Leah Burch about the history of the forty plus vintage signs in the region along with a great exhibit. We’ll be serving JFG Coffee and doughnuts for sure!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 | 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Atherton Mill
2000 South Boulevard
Charlotte NC
Free and open to the public
RSVP info@civicbydesign.com
www.civicbydesign.com

Pictures from the event!

April

April Image

Sunshine and Fresh Air
Building Shapes & Skins for Sustainable Performance and Productivity

There is a growing trend in building science research indicating that people are more comfortable, productive, and perhaps most important, feel healthier in buildings that are specifically designed to allow daylight to be the primary source of illuminations. And buildings that “breath” may have advantages over airtight envelopes.

The combination of Spring and pollen-laden air make it a great time to present topical issues and research on energy efficient buildings, daylight, and air circulation for daily living! Please join us in welcoming Dale Brentrup for his presentation followed with a civic by design discussion on sustainable design.

CIVIC BY DESIGN FORUM
Tuesday, April 13, 2010 | 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Levine Museum of the New South
200 East Seventh Street
Charlotte NC
Free and open to the public
Free parking at 7th Street parking garage
RSVP info@civicbydesign.com
www.civicbydesign.com

March

February 2010

MEET A DESIGN PROFESSIONAL,
ASK A QUESTION,
DONATE A NICKEL
The DESIGN HELP 5¢ Initiative

Meet designers and friends from the Civic By Design Forum and CORA at the Design Help 5¢ booth #3651 in Independence Hall at The Park Expo and Conference Center (previously the Charlotte Merchandise Mart)

As a follow-up to the February Forum, designers will be offering design help for 5¢ per question at the Southern Spring Home & Garden Show. Designers, architects, landscape architects, interior designers, graphic designers, and others have volunteered their time to meet and offer their expertise to the general public in an exciting, inviting forum.

For March, this is in lieu of the Forum usually held at the Levine Museum of the New South. This is also a good networking event for designers with different skills and talents to meet each other and find ways to collaborate on projects, too.

All proceeds will be donated to Friendship Trays, a local charity that provides balanced meals to hungry individuals in our community. The Southern Spring Home & Garden Show is expecting 60,000 visitors. In addition to exhibitors with products for home and outdoor living and a green market, there will be special guest lecturers and action stations.

We want to thank Corrugated Container Corporation for their sponsorship of DESIGN HELP 5¢. Corrugated Container Corporation is a family owned company with four locations in the southeast, with headquarters in Roanoke, VA. The prototype booth stand for the show was designed in the Roanoke facility. CCC designs, manufactures and prints anything made of corrugated (recycled) paper such as POP Displays, retail and shipping packaging boxes etc. Please check out their website at www.CCCBox.com

 

Wednesday March 3 - Sunday March 7 2010
Charlotte NC
RSVP info@civicbydesign.com
www.civicbydesign.com
Dates and hours of the Show:
Wednesday, March 3: 10am to 6pm Thursday,
March 4: 10am to 6pm Friday,
March 5: 10am to 9pm
Saturday, March 6: 10am to 9pm Sunday,
March 7: 10am to 6pm

March

February 2010

ARCHITECTURE 5¢

From a recent New York Times article an excerpt “A troubled economy and the implosion of the real estate market have thrown thousands of architects and designers out of work, forcing them to find or create jobs.” sums up our current economic woes. It goes on to show how one designer has succeeded with a creative approach to the Great Recession.

When we suggested a Civic By Design forum “Architecture 5¢” where designers come in and set up a design booth with their portfolio and we advertise it to the public and see what happens – it created such a response from folks with very strong opinions on both sides we decided we should discuss this at the next Forum to further explore this idea and/or see if participants have other ideas locally or regionally Civic By Design can help initiate to benefit both designers and potential clients.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010 | 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Levine Museum of the New South
200 East Seventh Street
Charlotte NC
Free and open to the public
Free parking at 7th Street parking garage
RSVP info@civicbydesign.com
www.civicbydesign.com

January

January 2010

My Kind of Transit

If public transport is to compete effectively with the automobile, it must provide a uniquely enjoyable experience for all riders, says Darrin Nordahl in his new book, My Kind of Transit. Nordahl argues transit--like the street, park, or plaza--is public space, and can thus provide something the automobile cannot: a setting for public life. And if designed appropriately, this mobile form of public space can enrich many aspects of our lives. Nordahl challenges public space designers to step across a few boundary lines to help create better public transit systems, systems that passengers enjoy boarding and hate to leave.

Please join us in welcoming Darrin Nordahl (http://www.darrinnordahl.com) for a presentation followed by a Civic By Design discussion on the journey of transit.

CIVIC BY DESIGN FORUM
Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Levine Museum of the New South
200 East Seventh Street
Charlotte NC
Free and open to the public
Free parking at 7th Street parking garage
RSVP info@civicbydesign.com
www.civicbydesign.com

Darrin Nordahl’s book My Kind of Transit focuses on the journey of transit, and the need to create a pleasant experience for the passenger. He contends that “While much attention has been given to the environmental benefits, economics, and the quality of the destinations served by public transportation, a major problem with transit design today is that little, if any attention is given to the journey, the experience offered within the transit car. If public transportation is to be successfully marketed to the American masses, advocates of transit need to come to a collective realization. That realization is that some rides are simply better than others—better meaning more pleasurable, more exciting, more memorable, or more enticing. Quite frankly, the experience of riding in a car is often more rewarding than that of most public transportation systems, and when given the choice, people—stubborn as we are—choose better experiences over lesser ones."

 

2009

2009-Poster

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2008

Under Construction

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2007

2007-Images

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2006

2006 Civic By Design

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light imprint

Light Imprint
Initiative-LearningCottage
Keep Charlotte Starched

 

light imprint

The Light Imprint Initiative was introduced at an Open Space Workshop in conjunction with the Congress of the New Urbanism held in Philadelphia in 2007. Light Imprint is a New Urbanist planning approach that adds a tool box of techniques to manage stormwater and natural drainage. Interest generated at that workshop grew exponentially. DPZ Charlotte began creating Light Imprint overlays for its projects in the planning and construction stages. DPZ Charlotte assembled a team of experts, led by Low, to publish a limited edition of the first Light Imprint Handbook in 2007. Following an intensive four-month period of international peer review of the Handbook and the associated web site, the Light Imprint team gathered again at DPZ Charlotte in August 2008 to edit and compile version 1.3 of the newest Light Imprint Handbook: Integrating Sustainability and Community Design.

learning cottage

Learning Cottage

The Learning Cottage Initiative grew from an informal dinner discussion following a meeting of the Civic By Design Forum, which is chaired by Low. Those attending the dinner were discussing the Katrina cottages proposed as housing replacements for FEMA trailers. The question arose, "Could a similar design replace mobile classrooms at local schools?" Everyone agreed that mobile classrooms used to supplement classroom space are visually unappealing, generally poorly sited, and signify overcrowding. Ideas for a Katrina-inspired Learning Cottage were sketched on paper napkins. The interest generated became the basis for the School Design Workshop held on September 12, 2006. The Learning Cottage was the subject of a Salon held at the Congress for the New Urbanism in Philadelphia in 2007. Since then, DPZ Charlotte greatly expanded the scope of the initiative by designing campus plans, alternate classroom plans and elevations, and plans and elevations for gymnasiums and administrative buildings.

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habersham

 
Sprawl Repair
Q2P2
EASTLAND
 
Special Project
Special Projects School Forum
Special Project - John Nolen
   
Belmont-SpecialProject
   

Civic By Design

The Early Twentieth Century Neighborhood Planning Initiative seeks to return successful early town and neighborhood planning techniques to the development of modern towns and new neighborhoods. By focusing on the work of American planners like John Nolen and the Olmsteds, this initiative emphasizes the importance of providing public open space in compact, walkable communities. One product of this ongoing initiative is the publication of the book, Civic By Design: John Nolen's Lessons and the New Urbanism, written by Low with Thomas Hanchett. One example of the inspiration found in Nolen's work is the pinwheel square incorporated into Vermillion, a DPZ Charlotte project in Huntersville, North Carolina.

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Media and News

The Civic By Design Forum has been featured in several articles throughout its 5 year history.

Recently the Civic By Design Forum received a grant from the Foundation of the Carolinas through its Front Porch Program. This grant facilitates Civic By Design Forums and builds on the Crossroads Charlotte Initiative.

As part of the 2010 Front Porch Grant, the Civic By Design Forum is building a Civic Garden Square for the Charlotte Community School for Girls. The Civic Garden Square will create an interactive space for the students. The partnership will also help to foster a future relationship with the school.

Civic By Design was also recently featured in the Charlotte Observer for the Design Help 5¢ booth. The article highlighted the service of the booth, as well as encouraged people to attend and get helpful information from professionals. To read the full article, follow the link: Design Help 5¢.

The Learning Cottage Initiative was also featured in a News Special on WBTV. The clip describes the Initiative in a short segment.

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Contact

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