GES Alumna Claire Schuch and PhD student Tonderai Mushipe publish article on perceptions of Charlotte light-rail expansion.
Rail transit impacts on adjacent neighborhoods are contested. Through the lens of New Urbanism and sustainable urban development, this article offers a critical analysis of different perceptions of neighborhood changes occurring after the opening of a new light rail line in Charlotte, North Carolina. We conducted 15 interviews with representatives in planning, transportation, and real estate; 11 focus groups with 75 residents living close to a light rail station; and a content analysis of 86 local news articles. Although the various stakeholders do not represent homogeneous groups, light rail investments and associated neighborhood changes are typically viewed positively by planners, developers, and local media but have received mixed responses from residents. We tie this into a broader discussion about putting New Urbanism into practice. Besides furthering academic discussions, this article can inform local planning and policy in areas of transportation, housing, and economic development.