Charlotte cityscape

The City.Building.Lab. is the refocused and rebooted public outreach and research arm of the Master of Urban Design Program located in UNC Charlotte’s Center City Campus. C.B.L. foregrounds common threads connecting the research interests of affiliated faculty members though explorations of the ways that cities have been, are, and continue to be shaped over time. The redefined lab, therefore, simultaneously encompasses a wide set of initiatives while also supporting the University’s urban research mission.

Our new name also reflects a clearer vision, mission, and renewed “identity” for the former center. The Master of Urban Design faculty, over the course of a strategic planning process (Spring 2013), expressed an interest to address innovative and varied research initiatives focused upon cities, communities, and the complex urban forces that shape them over time and space.  While the term “center” was initially an important touch-point in our discussions, the term “lab” emerged as a more flexible and open-ended research framework.

The lab’s mission is to think and do—to pursue sustainable urban design strategies as agents of innovative inquiry and positive change.  This enables the CBL to both advocate for the design of vital places and to demonstrate how to achieve sustainable cities and communities.  Its challenge is to address the complex issues facing the future of cities that range from the impacts of new technologies to rapidly shifting demographics and from changing patterns of growth to environmental stewardship in the face of climate change.

In order to meet these responsibilities, the City.Building.Lab. will pursue its mission through:

  1. historical and theoretical research (think)
  2. public engagement using applications, explorations and visualizations of sustainable urban design and development policies and practices (do).

The City.Building.Lab. continues to support the mission of the Master of Urban Design Program and the School of Architecture through its emphasis upon sustainable urban design and “local-to-global” urbanism.