​Charlotte Urban Design Center

The Charlotte Urban Design Center's mission is to advance the quality of Charlotte's built environment and bring public awareness to the importance of urban design. The center reveals how design influences quality of life and economic resilience, and advocates for great public places in a livable city.

The Charlotte Planning, Design & Development Department formed the Charlotte Urban Design Center in 2016 to consolidate its urban design consultation, placemaking, and community engagement services under one roof.

Our Work

Learn more about the diverse projects we are actively working on across the city of Charlotte.

Young transit riders provide feedback on TOD planning at a pop-up event.

The Studio

The Charlotte Urban Design Center – South End Studio is the city’s hub for engaging the community around urban design and placemaking. It is a space where residents, artists and community organizations can access the City of Charlotte’s planning and urban design resources and staff in a single location.

Entrance to the Urban Design Center

Placemaking Program

The City of Charlotte’s Placemaking Program launched in 2018 with the mission of using urban design and placemaking to transform underutilized public spaces into vibrant places for people.

Visit the Placemaking Program page to see how the City of Charlotte is using placemaking to create more vibrant and well-loved community spaces, and how you can too.

Placemaking Program

People Make Cities Blog

The People Make Cities blog works to advance the quality of the built environment, create public awareness, and communicate the importance of urban design in Charlotte through in-depth storytelling and thought leadership from the Urban Design team.  Get sneak peeks on projects and stay up-to-date with events happening at The Studio.  

People make cities

Connect With Us

Calling All Creatives

Meet The Team

The Urban Design Center is made up of a team of designers with diverse backgrounds and training.  They provide leadership, expertise, and design thinking for the City of Charlotte and the broader community. Each team member works to advance the quality of Charlotte's built environment through public space, placemaking, infrastructure, transportation, transit, and economic development projects. 

Erin Chantry, LEED AP ND, CNU-A

Program Manager, Urban Design Center

Urban Design, Urban Planning & Architecture

Erin is an urban designer with a BA in Architecture, an MA in Urban Design, and an MS in Urban Planning. Erin has worked on a variety of projects in both the public and private sectors, with a primary focus on architecture, urban design, land development, placemaking, and public space. She is committed to bringing high-quality design to the public realm, especially to underserved communities in her hometown of Charlotte. As a mom of three young kids and two sweet dogs, Erin receives immense joy spending time with her family and all the craziness it brings.

Justin Ritchey

Urban Designer & Planner

Urban Design, Urban Planning & Transportation Planning

Justin has an MA of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Architecture from the University of Texas at San Antonio.  He also has a BS.  He previously worked in transportation planning in Philadelphia, PA, and Fayetteville, NC. He is passionate about community design and placemaking to make a positive impact in local communities by increasing accessibility to public spaces. When not at the studio, he spends his time hiking regional trails, running half marathons, and exploring the Carolinas.

Laura Bandara, ASLA

Project Manager & Urban Designer

Landscape Architecture & Cultural Studies

Laura has experience in urban design and landscape architecture at the intersections of ecological and cultural systems.  She has an MA of Landscape Architecture from the University of Virginia and a BA in Cultural Studies and Political Science from Hampshire College. She strives to celebrate the every day and foreground the human relationship to place in her work. Her happy place is the Piedmont forest and loves a walk in the woods on foot, snowshoe, or cross-country ski.

Jacob Huffman

Associate Urban Designer & Planner

Urban Design, Geography & Urban Agriculture

Jacob is a lifelong Charlotte resident.  He has an MA of Urban Design and a MA in Geography from the University of North Carolina Charlotte.  He has a BS in Geography and a BA in German also from the University of North Carolina.  He is passionate about the intersection of public space and green infrastructures, urban food systems, tactical urbanism, and drawing or looking at axonometric diagrams. Outside of work he enjoys riding bikes, growing garlic, eating mulberries, and sitting on porches, especially during thunderstorms.

Jessica Macks

Placemaking Event Coordinator

Event Planning, Entrepreneurial Support & Community Building

Jessica has strong communication skills geared to both internal leadership and providing outstanding customer service.  She has a BA in Music Business & Technology from Johnson C. Smith University.  Jessica focuses her work on activating Five Points Plaza in the Historic West End and other City of Charlotte public spaces. Not only is Jessica detailed oriented, but she is also passionate about customer service and building relationships across the community. Jessica ensures successful events that represent the identity in which they take place.

Will Linville, AICP, CNU-A

Senior Urban Designer & Planner

Urban Design, Urban Planning & Land Use Planning

Will has been working as an urban planner and designer for over a decade in communities across North Carolina.  He has an MA of Urban Design from the University of North Carolina Charlotte and a BS in Geography also from the University of North Carolina.  He is most happy walking along streets purpose-built for people and admiring the preservation of the best of the historic built environment.  He's motivated to create places that are more livable, equitable, and sustainable alongside community partners. When possible, he enjoys hopping on a tractor at the family farm in western NC.

Kate Cavazza

Associate Urban Designer & Planner

Tactical Urbanism, Built Environment Policy Development & Government Affairs

Kate has worked in Charlotte for five years, gaining an understanding of the political landscape.  She has an MA in Political Science from Lehigh University and a BA in Political Science and French Language Studies from Susquehanna University.  She is passionate about connecting community members to planning, urban design, and policy resources to make positive changes in the built environment.  She spends every minute not in the office on the water rowing or thinking about rowing or training for a regatta.