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Like many BIPOC communities (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), residents of Charlotte’s Historic West End live with a longstanding legacy of redlining. This has contributed to air pollution exposure from industrial zoning and highway construction that continues to impact the community today. Addressing these hazards are imperative to improve public health and advance the goal of Environmental Justice.
The Historic West End Green District of Charlotte is an initiative between community leaders who have been collaborating with CleanAIRE NC since 2017. Our shared goal of a Green District is designed to improve air quality and health, reduce emissions, and advance equity.
Mecklenburg EPA Pollution Sites

Mecklenburg air polluting facilities represented by the blue dots are primarily located in communities of color shaded in red and orange.

Creating a Green District in Charlotte's Historic West End

Air Quality Monitoring

Monitoring efforts began with the intent to broaden understanding of air quality and the possible health impacts associated with it. These ongoing air quality monitoring efforts led to the development of the Clearing the Air report which community leaders successfully used to advocate for a federal EPA regulated monitor installment in the Historic West End.

This monitor is now located in Friendship Park near the Sportsplex and measures invisible fine particle pollution which is linked to asthma, COPD, diabetes, and heart disease. Monitoring efforts continue in order to inform neighbors about pollution sources and increase opportunities to advocate for cleaner air. Host a monitor today!

Strategic Tree Planting

Trees provide boundless benefits. Among many things, they are responsible for filtering out pollutants, releasing oxygen, and providing heat relief. The trouble is that these benefits are not equitably distributed. The latest report from TreesCharlotte confirmed that there is disproportionate tree loss in the Historic West End and other underserved neighborhoods.

Strategic tree planting, landscaping, and vegetation is needed to protect the health and safety of the community and shield residents from pollution. A major goal of the Historic West End Green District is to make access to the benefits of trees more equitable.

Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure helps to mitigate climate and air pollution impacts, as well as enhance social equity and improve health outcomes. As climate change increases the number of days above 90 degrees, we must reduce heat impacts by enhancing infrastructure that will help to build resiliency. We have begun implementing plans to beautify and add green infrastructure to the Historic West End including biomonitoring gardens, green walls and adding greenery to the iconic Historic West End Green District pillars.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

With transportation being the major source of air pollution in Charlotte, promoting electric vehicles, electrification efforts and sustainable transportation which emit no pollution is a major goal of this initiative. Residents want to ensure that the Historic West End does not get left behind in securing EV infrastructure and benefitting from a clean energy transition. 

Partnerships have been formed with local government entities and businesses to deploy EV charging stations in various locations, including the latest PoleVolt charging station located at the Ritz at Washington Heights. In this process, we are also working to facilitate opportunities, incentives, and programs to make electric vehicles more accessible and affordable to members of the community.

Clean Air Awareness

Educating about sustainable strategies to reduce air pollution and protect health is the backbone of our efforts. We offer Clean Air Advocacy Training and Healthy Air Education to increase understanding of air pollution in the Historic West End, increase enthusiasm for reducing emissions, and encourage participants to take actions to protect their health. Historic West End residents receive stipends for participating in these sessions. 

A Clean Air Advocacy Training was held in July 2022 and provided the location of pollution sources and tools residents can use to increase their engagement in air permitting and zoning decisions.

The Healthy Air Education Series is aimed at increasing participants’ knowledge about air quality impacts on specific health issues. The series will be held on September 13, 2022 and September 24, 2022.

Get to Know Our Advocates

Since 2016 CleanAIRE NC has worked with community leaders to create a Green District in Charlotte’s Historic West End neighborhoods, with the goal of reducing emissions and improving community health. Hear the latest about this exciting project from Daisha Williams and Ron Ross.

Historic West End Charlotte Leaders

Historic West End Green District lead organizers (from left to right): Ron Ross, Mattie Marshall, and William Hughes.

Program Leader

Daisha Williams

[email protected]
704.307.9528, ext. 113

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Resources

Find all our current resources on policy and advocacy.