We are working to have an impact across the Charlotte metro region through a number of strategic initiatives. If you would like to help support or participate in any of these initiatives, please contact us!
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Sustainability Report Card
On August 5, 2014, Sustain Charlotte officially launched the first ever independently researched and written report that assesses the current health of the community using 57 metrics spanning nine issues. Using a robust methodology and years of data from a variety of sources, the authors have generated a report card for each issue and provided 94 recommendations for how Charlotte-Mecklenburg can accelerate progress. The nine issues assessed include: Air Quality, Energy Use, Equity + Empowerment, Food, Jobs + Income, Land Use, Transportation, Waste, and Water Use. Download the report card here.
We're currently researching our next report card, which will incorporate the latest data and trends. We anticipate publishing the 2016 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Report Card in the spring of 2016.
Transportation Choices Alliance
In January 2014, after more than a year of research and partnership building,Sustain Charlotte launched the Transportation Choices Alliance. The mission of the alliance is to increase transportation choices and their use throughout the Charlotte region to improve traffic, air quality, public health, mobility and the economy. More transportation choices means more safe and convenient opportunities to take a bus, catch a train, ride a bike, or walk. The first-year priorities of the alliance were to grow awareness of the alliance and its membership, increase awareness and support for the 2030 Transit Plan, and promote the connections between our economy, our quality of life, and more transportation choices.
The alliance has currently includes over 30 organizational members. The alliance's advisory council meets bi-monthly to share information and increase collaboration to support sustainable transportation choices for the Charlotte region. In November 2014, with support from the Knight Foundation, the alliance held a Sustainable Commute Challenge to promote walking, biking, and transit use. Over 100 photos were submitted and were awarded to families and individual who participated. The Knight Foundation also provided financial support for us to locate and install bike racks in five neighborhoods that identified a need for more sustainable transportation infrastructure. Throughout 2015, we are working with residents in Grier Heights and West Charlotte neighborhoods to identify transportation challenges and work toward solutions. We have hired a full-time Bicycle Program Director to build Sustain Charlotte's role as the hub organization for cycling in the region.
In January 2012, with financial support from Wells Fargo, we launched a partnership with Charlotte Neighborhood and Business Services to provide sustainability education to residents in motivated neighborhoods across the city, and empower them to set measurable sustainability goals for their communities, based on their interests and needs. We then suggested strategies and resources to help them achieve these goals, and compiled this information into Sustainable Vision Plans for each neighborhood. Goals vary by neighborhood but include reducing household energy use, improving access to healthy food, reducing the amount of waste going to the landfill, and getting more residents out of their cars, to name just a few. Below are the eleven neighborhoods we have been working with since 2012. Just click on a neighborhood name to download their plan. You can also read a news story about this initiative here and download our 2013 Progress Report here!
- Commonwealth Park - Morningside
- Enderly Park
- Graham Heights
- Grier Heights
- Northwood Estates
- Oaklawn Park
- Park Crossing
- Plaza Midwood
- Queens Tower
- Revolution Park
- Washington Heights
In 2014, we added five additional neighborhoods to this program and helped them work towards their top sustainability goals. Here are their Sustainable Vision Plans:
The projects chosen by residents were varied and creative! They included an edible walkway, a workshop about water conservation and distribution of low-flow water fixtures, a test bed for a future community garden, expansion of a vocational gardening program, a neighborhood clean-up as part of a youth mentorship program re-launch, and formation of a recreational soccer program for immigrants who have little open space near their apartment homes.
In 2015, we are working with Grier Heights and neighborhoods in West Charlotte to empower residents to continue working towards solutions for their sustainability challenges. Our programs in these neighborhoods are designed to increase involvement from apartment residents and youth. We engage residents through transportation workshops, educational games, creation of traffic calming signs, and participation in neighborhood events. In July 2015, we partnered with Mecklenburg County Park and Rec and 8 other organizations to host a Youth Sustainable Transportation Fair for 100 youth in the West Blvd area.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Livability Plan
After we launched Charlotte 2030: A Sustainable Vision for Our Region in 2010 (see below), we began encouraging city and county leaders to engage citizens in the development of a comprehensive plan to ensure we achieve this vision, and we shared with them the best practices from other metro areas around the country who have already created a plan. In April of 2012, Charlotte City Council Member John Autry invited us to give a presentation to City Council's Environment Committee on how similar cities to ours have developed these types of plans and our recommendations for how the city should proceed. View our presentation to the Committee here. Thanks to our educational and advocacy efforts over three years, the Charlotte City Council and Mecklenburg County Commission approved funds in the spring of 2013 to develop a Livability Plan over two years. Four citizen working groups helped to draft the plan and Sustain Charlotte staff served on the Built Environment Working Group.
Sustain Charlotte is now serving as a community partner to assist with further revision of the plan and its implementation. We are serving on three Think Tanks: Natural Resources, Re-development (also serving as co-chair), and Accessibility.
Annual Sustain Charlotte Awards + Earth Day Celebration
Each year, we invite the community to nominate those individuals who they feel are leading us towards Charlotte 2030: A Sustainable Vision for Our Region. We then recognize and honor all nominees as well as a winner in each of twelve categories at an exciting evening event. The award categories reflect the nine issues that shapes the sustainability of our community: Air Quality,Transportation, Energy, Land Use, Water, Social Equity, Economy, Food, and Waste. We also recognize an Overall Outstanding Leader. Click here to read about our 2012 winners, 2013 winners, 2014 winners, and 2015 winners. If you would like to sponsor our upcoming 2016 Sustain Charlotte Awards + Earth Day Celebration, please contact us!
Connect Our Future
In early 2011, we partnered with the Centralina Council of Governments as a key member of the Connect Our Future project, which is a process to engage citizens across our 14-county region to develop a regional growth framework, given that our region's population is expected to double within 40 years. Our role has been to help devise strategies for effectively engaging citizens of all backgrounds across our region, especially under-represented community members and youth. The process resulted in a preferred growth scenario for each of the 14 counties and for the region as a whole. The project also produced a large set of tools to advance the region's growth priorities. Sustain Charlotte is currently serving on a work group using this project to inform creation of the region's 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan.
Charlotte 2030: A Sustainable Vision for Our Region
On November 1, 2010, Sustain Charlotte launched Charlotte 2030: A Sustainable Vision for Our Region to serve as a guide for our work. This first-of-its-kind community-based vision for our region's future is the product of countless volunteer hours, and the engagement of more than 100 local citizens and experts from many disciplines using a collaborative and consensus-based process, drawn from government, the nonprofit and private sectors, and academia. Click here to download a free copy of the Vision and share it with your friends, colleagues, and family.