2040 Comprehensive Plan

​Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan?

​The Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan is a plan that will guide how our city grows and how we invest in our city over the next 20 years.

Once completed, it will be a living document that takes community input and ideas and turns them into the actions that guide our city’s decision-making in both the near- and long-term. It will include the seven topics that the city has chosen to focus on, the goals for each one of those topics, the strategies that will be acted on to get us to those goals, and the actions that make up each one of those strategies. 

It’s a plan that relies on connections – with other plans, with budgets, with what’s going on in the day-to-day life of Charlotte. And, it’s a plan that can only be successful with feedback from you.  How do you want Charlotte to grow over the next 20 years? How can this plan shape the future of the places you live, work, shop, and play, making sure Charlotte continues to be the vibrant and unique city you know it is? The Charlotte Future 2040 plan will give us a way to answer all of these questions and more. 

Why is the plan important?

Charlotte is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, and this growth comes with both opportunities and challenges. Making sure we have an idea for how we want to grow and develop is important to our city’s long-term success. 

Many U.S. cities have plans like the one Charlotte is creating to paint a picture for the future and create a blueprint for how they want to get there. Charlotte has not had a plan like this since 1975. Right now, Charlotte’s plan for the way we grow isn’t a single plan that covers all parts of the city: some areas of the city have new policies and ways of doing things; others have not had updates for many years. To make sure we can better deal with our growth challenges, the city needs an updated path for future long-range plans. Using the Charlotte Future 2040 plan as a map can help us:

  • See what’s working, what isn’t working, and what we need to do differently
  • Develop plans to address our opportunities and challenges
  • Create a path for our city’s growth that is clear and easy to understand
  • Address important issues that affect our community’s sense of equity – things like public transportation, affordable housing, healthy food, and more. 

How is the plan being developed?

We’re working on several ways to make sure we’re getting feedback from the people we need to hear from the most—you and other community members!  Our #1 goal is to make sure that the plan has diverse viewpoints, needs, and priorities. We plan to:
  • Build on what Charlotte’s doing now and what we’ve done in the past to get the community involved. 
  • Use different ways to connect in-person, including events (link to pop-up events page), interviews, outreach tools, and community workshops.
  • Collect input from community members through social media (Facebook, Instagram @cltplanning), this website, and upcoming online surveys.

What will the plan do to promote equity in Charlotte?

​A big way the plan will help with equity in Charlotte is by guiding the city in equitable development. Equitable development means being fair about what’s added in different parts of the city and why it’s added. 

Here’s an example: a sidewalk with a curb is something you may not think about if you have a fully-abled body – you step up and down onto the curb with no problem. However, if you’re elderly, or if you use a wheelchair, or need to push a baby stroller, that curb might give you some trouble. 

Equity is meeting people where they are – and with the comprehensive plan, that means understanding the impact and effects of what’s happening now in order to create situations that are fairer across the whole community. The planning and outreach process will provide a platform to make sure all viewpoints are heard—and the plan that’s created will be created from these perspectives, identify gaps that exist today, and craft policies and programs that close those gaps. 

What does the plan focus on?

The plan focuses on seven areas, and those areas may be changed or updated through our planning based on what we’re hearing from you:
  • ​Community Vision and Values

    This area is about understanding our past, taking a look at where we are now, and creating a shared vision for the future. We want to recognize our city’s strong foundation, voice who we are and want to be, and use all of this insight to build a city that’s ready for the next part of the 21st Century.

  • Livable and Connected (Built Environment)

    This area is about combining the smaller plans already in place into one large plan. For instance, Land Use and Community Design, Transportation (e.g. streets, public transit, biking and walking spaces, and the airport), and Public Facilities and Services (e.g. sewer and water, police and fire departments, schools, and parks) may all of their own plans currently. The comprehensive plan would make sure all these plans fit together and that all areas of the city are working toward the same high-level goals.

  • Welcoming and Inclusive (Social Environment)

    We want to ensure that Charlotte is welcoming, safe, and provides opportunities for everyone. Topics for this area are education, affordability, historic resources, health and safety, and creating an engaging city with a high level of social capital. Social capital is the networks, connections, and access to people who can give us information, resources, and opportunities. 
  • Healthy and Resilient (Natural Environment)

    Charlotte’s environment is very important, and we need to make sure we’re caring for it for years to come. This area focuses on air, water, and land quality; energy and sustainability, and our access to food.
  • Prosperous and Innovative (Economic Environment)

    The next 20 years of Charlotte requires us to pay attention to how we can brainstorm new ideas and find ways to work together to create new business opportunities. We also need to make sure we’re building an economy made up of several different industries instead of depending on one or two main job sources, one that can endure change, and one that can create jobs for all types of workers. 
  • Regional (Place in the Region)

    Our city is important to the state of North Carolina, and we’re also one of the key cities in the southeastern region of the United States. By partnering with businesses and organization that share our vision, we can grow our city into an even larger hub for regional activity.
  • Our Vision Realized (Implementation)

    It’s one thing to have a plan – it’s another to make that plan happen. Here’s where we work on making sure we lay out guidelines for land use and infrastructure investments, deciding what to spend money on, and planning for the future. Along the way, we’ll be amending and updating the plan and measuring the progress we make toward our goals. 

​What are the goals of the plan?

We’ve identified several goals for the plan:
  • A documented, easy-to-understand plan that serves as the foundation for our community’s vision;
  • A shared vision for Charlotte’s growth and development that’s endorsed by our entire community;
  • An updated blueprint that guides how land is used, what infrastructure we invest in, and how new policies are developed;
  • Steps that outline how we start to “live” the plan and how we measure its success.

What’s the plan’s timeline?

Work around the plan kicked off early last fall, and we anticipate a draft plan to be available for public review by August 2020. Here are the four key parts of the plan, and their timelines:
  • Phase I

    Existing Conditions and Trends Assessment. This phase is about collecting information and listening—looking at where we’ve been, where we are, talking about what we want our community to look like over the next 20 years, and the goals we need to set to make that happen. (Timeline: now through April 2019)
  • Phase II

    Growth Scenarios and Place Types. Here, we’ll take a look at the ways our city could grow and determine the trade-offs of each way to determine the preferred option to make our community’s vision a reality. Then, we’ll start creating the policies/plans we need to put in place to support it. (Timeline: March 2019 through November 2019)
  • Phase III

    Framework and Plan Elements. For this phase, we’ll put pen to paper, drafting the plan that will guide our city’s growth. We’ll combine the various department and agency plans and goals as well as the supporting policies, and will start to look at the steps we need to take to make following through on the plan a reality. (Timeline: December 2019 through August 2020).
  • Phase IV

    Final Plan and Adoption. In this phase, we’ll make changes and make the plan stronger based on what we hear from you. Then, we’ll conduct a review and take it to the City Council. City Council will be asked to adopt the plan and use it to guide their decisions. (Timeline: September 2020 through April 2021)
​We’ll be giving updates throughout each phase, so be sure to check back for the latest details!

What does the plan mean to me?

Charlotte is YOUR city, and this is YOUR plan. The plan will establish how our city’s built environment grows and develops—including housing, transportation, parks and open spaces, stores, plazas, and much more.

These places and spaces are ones that we live in, work in, and enjoy in our city on a daily basis. By being a part of this process, you can help shape our city’s shared future—and what you want Charlotte to be like for you, your children, and your grandchildren. 

This is exciting! How do I participate?

There are many ways to participate, all up to you and how much you want to be involved:

  • Sign up for our mailing list to stay in the know.
  • Visit our Charlotte furture 2040 website  to learn more about the planning process and to complete surveys.
  • Go to one of our upcoming pop-up events -- we’re planning several events across the city. 
  • Take part in a CF2040 Ambassador Information Session to learn how you can help collect thoughts and ideas from your friends and neighbors.
  • Host an input meeting in your neighborhood or with a local organization.
  • Talk with your friends, family, and neighbors about Charlotte’s future and ask them to get involved.