CREW Charlotte June 2021 Luncheon – The Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan with Taiwo Jaiyeoba
Taiwo Jaiyeoba, assistant city manager and director of planning, design and development, was the perfect speaker for CREW Charlotte’s first in-person luncheon since early 2020. Taiwo discussed the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which is the first comprehensive plan in 45 years. This plan addresses equity, transportation, quality of life, economic development, jobs, upward mobility, affordable housing, health, safety and sustainability.
Taiwo is known for his ability to bring people together – he champions accessibility and connectivity for all Charlotte area residents. One area he finds particularly important is diversification of housing projects in neighborhoods. He believes that neighborhoods should not offer exclusively single-family homes, but should have options for duplexes, triplexes, and quadraplexes. Having a variety of housing options allows the area to attract a variety of people and meet them where they are. Taiwo mentioned that the variation in housing product has been met with some resistance from existing community members. The primary concern is that these products are often rentals and do not have the same level of upkeep as traditional single-family homes. His suggestion is that we need to hold the landlords accountable for the maintenance of their product.
He also mentioned the importance of connectivity through transit. A strong transit system helps create access for a diverse group of people. He specifically focused on the bus system because 80% of public transit users rely on the bus system. Of that 80%, people of color make up 79%. It is therefore extremely important that we find a way to improve this system. He was quick to acknowledge that our current system is not as quick or as frequent in service as he would like. This is a discouragement for a lot of people in using the public transit system.
Taiwo’s energy and excitement over the plan was encouraging. He left us with the idea of a community benefit agreement which is the idea that people shouldn’t feel that development is doing something to them but instead be involved in the process. The new plan looks for a way to create a community that connects and includes all residents.