Neighborhood Watch: North End Smart District

Smart District offers unique opportunity to 8 Charlotte neighborhoods

Charlotte’s North End will get a makeover as a smart district that will blaze a new path for development in the Queen City. An up and coming center for economic activity and job growth, the North End Smart District (NESD) will provide a great quality of life for Charlotte residents.

The idea for a Smart District, stems from city government’s pledge to be a “smart city,” i.e. a community that uses data and technology to make decisions that impact: mobility, safety, energy, public services, education and environmental health.

What is the North End Smart District?

Eight neighborhoods form the North End Smart District: Optimist Park, Lockwood, Graham Heights, Druid Hills, Greenville, Park at Oaklawn, Brightwalk and Genesis Park.

Why the North End?

2014 statistics show that about 9,000 Charlotte residents live in the district, within five minutes of a park, less than 10 minutes from a bus stop and about 50 percent of the homes are rented.

In 2011, city government identified much of the area as the Applied Innovation Corridor, as part of a way to redevelop a largely former industrial area of the city.

In 2014, the Urban Land Institute Panel (a leader in the responsible use of land) also spoke the importance of the area as a key anchor for:

“Its connection to Uptown; transportation accessibility; distinct neighborhoods; underutilized land and links to research at local universities.”

The North End Smart District has been several years in the making — designed to bring together data, technology and teamwork to shape community.

It also presents an opportunity to leverage public safety, technology and innovation to build on community assets (rich history, community garden, parks, art, neighborhood leadership) and also address neighborhood concerns (affordable housing, employment options, homelessness, lost community character).

Community Input

The current state of this redevelopment focuses on community engagement. the North End Smart District team is currently focused on:

Holding group stakeholder mtgs.
Cultivating new and existing relationships
Relying on professional and personal networks 
Learning from residents who else should be included

The Vision for the North End Smart District

The North End team has identified four goals for the smart district:

1.) Build Community Capacity | jobs, training, housing and healthy living

2.) Catalyze Economic Development | competitive, innovative and inclusive district

3.) Apply Smart City Data + Technology | inform decisions and innovation

4.) Enhance Environment + Mobility Options | natural assets and connectivity

Pilot programs in the Smart District:

· Smart Home Utilities Savings: program coordination, weatherization, training and data, collection to reduce utility bills

· Mobility + Transit Options: enhance public outreach to maximize benefit of Blue Line Extension improve accessibility through new technologies for transportation

· Healthy Communities: neighborhood waste program to reduce pollution and improve underway health

· Technology Training and Internships: for high school students and adults in (fintech, cybersecurity, etc.)

These pilot programs were selected by city government because they:

1.) Address issues the community has brought up in past plans and engagement.

2.) Received initial, positive feedback from community leaders.

3.) Align with NESD goals.

4.) Greatest opportunity for quick implementation; partners are engaged and ready to help make it happen.

During this process, city government is working with business owners, neighborhood residents, community organizations, government leaders and developers/investors. To learn more about the North End Smart District, visit: http://charlottenc.gov/Sustainability.

Stay tuned for future stories in the Crown Jewel with a tour of the sites making up Charlotte’s smart district.