CONNECT Our Future was a three‐year process that brings together public, private and nonprofit organizations across our 14‐county region to develop a plan for growth that will help
build jobs and the economy, improve quality of life, and control the cost of government.

CONNECT Our Future is based on, and builds from, the region’s shared vision. In 2005‐2008, the 14‐county bi‐state region came together and developed a vision for the region’s future. That vision has been adopted by the local governments representing more than 70 percent of the population in the region and is being translated into growth options that will produce the results the public wants.

Phase One

Phase One started in the fall of 2012 by engaging community members about their personal needs and values through open houses, small group discussions and surveys. More than 2,200 participants from the 14‐county region provided a wealth of valuable information.

Phase Two

Phase Two started in the summer of 2013 with Reality Check 2050, during which 400 participants helped us begin to figure out how we fit the projected 1.8 million people and 850,000‐plus jobs to be added to this region by the year 2050, while still preserving the things Phase One participants said were important.

The “themes” for growth that were developed at Reality Check 2050 will be shared regionally at 48 workshops planned in each of the 14 counties. At these Community Growth Workshops, at least 1,600 residents will have the opportunity to weigh in on how they think those themes might work in their county.

Phase Three

In Phase Three, starting in early 2014, four to five “Alternative Growth Scenarios” for the region’s future were developed based on the results of those community workshops, the “themes” from Reality Check 2050 and information gathered from Phase One.

The public got to provide feedback on each of those scenarios and specify which scenario(s) provide the regional outcomes they would like to see. With a preferred scenario selected, recommendations and strategies were developed to help the region achieve its goals and the tools on this website were developed to provide resources and examples of regional and national best practices.

CONNECT Work Groups

CONNECT Work Groups provided technical support and guidance to the process of developing a regional growth framework. Work Group members brought their expertise in their respective fields, and the guidance from the members was crucial to the success of the development of the regional growth framework.

See the Reports page for all work group reports.

Air Quality

Project Responsibilities: Assess the current status of climate change impact planning in the region to recommend next steps; complete a technical planning study to establish the feasibility/process for black‐carbon emissions reductions and associated jobs.

Current Membership: Blanchard Machinery Company, Catawba Council of Governments, Catawba Indian Nation of South Carolina, Caterpillar Emissions Solutions, Charlotte DOT, Clean Air Carolina, Discovery Place, Duke Energy, Mecklenburg County, Rocky River RPO, SC Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Blueprinting

Project Responsibilities: Collect local data to develop a regional, existing conditions map and a trend scenario for Blueprinting; with public engagement, identify local values, and from those, craft performance metrics (how we will measure alternate scenarios); support development of alternate scenarios with ULI; create Regional Preferred Growth Scenario through inclusive public engagement process.

Current Membership: City of Charlotte DOT, UNC Charlotte (Urban Institute and School of Architecture), CCOG, CRCOG, Urban Land Institute, Rocky River RPO, Mecklenburg County Land Use and Environmental Services Agency (LUESA), Lee Institute, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Council on Aging, Lancaster County, Catawba Indian Nation, Area MPOs.

Economic Development

Project Responsibilities: With Blueprinting Work Group, develop data and analysis and prepare a Job Growth Centers Identification, an Enhanced Jobs‐Workforce‐Education Matching Plan, and a Redevelopment Tools Financing Study to assist revitalization investment and removal of redevelopment barriers.

Current Membership: Centralina Economic Development Commission, Catawba Regional COG, the Competitive Workforce Alliance, the Charlotte Regional Partnership, Regional Universities and Community Colleges, City of Charlotte Neighborhood & Business Services Division; local Economic Development Commissions and Chambers of Commerce.

Energy

Project Responsibilities: Conduct technical planning studies to establish the feasibility, financial models, and best approaches for energy conservation in public and institutional buildings and neighborhoods; and pilot project on Multi-fuel alternative energy feasibility study.

Current Membership: Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition (CCFC), Mecklenburg County, US Green Building Council‐Charlotte Chapter (USGBC), Greenthinc, Calor Energy, Efficiency First Solutions, City of Charlotte, CDOT; Duke Energy; NC Sustainable Energy Association; Cort Architectural Group, PA, SCDHEC – Bureau of Air Quality; UNC Charlotte Infrastructure, Design, Environment, and Sustainability (IDEAS) Center Energy Production Infrastructure Center (EPIC); Catawba Indian Nation.

Food Systems

Project Responsibilities: Assess regional food systems, map assets, develop action plan for food systems improvement, develop network of food policy councils at the regional and local level.

Current Membership: Charlotte‐Mecklenburg and Cabarrus County Food Policy Councils, Catawba Farm and Food Coalition (CFFC), Farm Bureaus, Mecklenburg County LUESA, Seventh Street Market, County Health Departments, NC and SC Cooperative Extension Programs

Housing

Project Responsibilities: Develop a Comprehensive Regional Housing Study that includes a Regional Housing Needs Assessment and a Fair Housing Equity Assessment/Regional Analysis of Impediments. The overall goal of the Comprehensive Regional Housing Study is to provide a regional housing assessment and strategies that address current and future affordable and market rate housing needs, at all price points, and to integrate housing with jobs and transportation.

Current Membership: Charlotte Housing Authority, Multiple Additional Public Housing Authorities throughout the region, Builders of Hope, Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, UNC Charlotte, The Affordable Housing Group, CRCOG, Real Estate‐Building Industry Coalition (REBIC), Laurel Street Residential, Saussy Burbank, Town of Mooresville, Habitat for Humanity, Allen Tate, City of Statesville, Bank of America, Socialserve.com, Crescent Resources, NC Housing Financing Agency (NCHFA), Greater Charlotte Apartment Association, St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, City of Salisbury, City of Rock Hill, Town of Cornelius, Pressly Development Company, Inc., City of Gastonia, HomeSight, LLC, City of Concord, City of Charlotte, City of Kannapolis, Reinvestment in Communities.

Public Engagement

Project Responsibilities: Develop and implement public engagement strategies for Blueprinting; ensure strong and inclusive public engagement in all work groups.

Current Membership: Lee Institute, Sustain Charlotte, Helping Empower Local People (HELP), Latin American Chamber of Commerce (LACC), Urban Land Institute (ULI), Council on Aging, UNCC School of Architecture, Kimley-Horn Associates.

Public Health

Project Responsibilities: Complete data collection on health data and disparities particularly for preventable/controllable disease; relate health impacts to projects currently including in RPSD development; identify and develop additional strategies for addressing health impacts in context of these projects and others.

Current Membership: Johnson C. Smith University, Mecklenburg County Health Department, City of Gastonia Special Projects Department, Cardinal Innovations, Pfeiffer University, UNC Charlotte, Primary Care Medicine & Public Health Synergy Consulting, Community Health Partners, Carrabus Health Alliance, Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, Carolina HealthCare.

Plan Alignment

Project Responsibilities: Develop a framework for initiating plan alignment, integrating public engagement findings and technical works completed by other work groups; work with local governments to identify current plans that support livability and areas that represent potential gaps; support participation in Blueprinting; identify resources or additional information needed to support post‐Blueprinting plan alignment processes.

Current Membership: Above-mentioned Work Group Chairs and Staff Managers