Thursday, November 10, 2005

Charlotte thoughts 1 - something slightly off balance

Charlotte has a beautiful, bustling (we'll get back to that in part 2) Uptown area. Walking through it, my initial impression was, well (have a headache so excuse the redundancy)... impressed. Tree-lined, broad, clean sidewalks. Cool buildings - and many more going up. Fountains on at least one corner of every intersection, often more, sometimes between intersections. Little parks and sitting places scattered around. Tons of restaurants (again, remember this for part 2).
But something felt - off.

And, after an afternoon of walking around, I realized what it was. There were no street-side shops. Correction - I saw a CVS and an Eckerds. All of the other stores are buried inside buildings and indoor malls.

What does this do to a city? What kind of statement does it make?
Brings to mind sprawl
planned communities (and later I did see Charlotte described as "planned" in a tourist mag)
The clean streets, parks, and fountains are very nice - but some form of vibrance seems lost.

What a contrast to the crooked, haphazard streets with their jumble of stores, historic buildings, etc. that I loved so in Boston!

part 2 tomorrow....

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