Todd Mansfield

Todd Mansfield
The environmentalist developer

Todd Mansfield The environmentalist developer

The environmentalist developer

Todd Mansfield, fifty, is seemingly a study in contrasts. He's the CEO of Crosland, one of the Southeast's largest developers of apartment complexes and shopping centers, but he's also an active environmentalist. And while his firm's biggest projects have been in the suburbs, he's preparing to take over next year as chairman of Charlotte Center City Partners. He doesn't see the contradiction.

"There's no doubt that we have to have a viable and healthy region in order to have a viable and healthy downtown. They're mutually reinforcing. The reality is that, when we get back to a more traditional level of population and employment growth here, there's no amount of densification of the city core that will absorb all that growth. The outer edge will expand. But the growth shouldn't be like peanut butter -- spread around anywhere and everywhere. I think if you roll the clock forward, what we will have and should have are these nodes of development in the inner city and also on the periphery."

"Studies have shown that when you have more compact development, it reduces the need for car trips and therefore reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Another one of the advantages of more compact development is that it allows for more land preservation, and that's very important for Charlotte. What has made this city a vibrant place has been the beauty and natural appeal of Charlotte. I'm hopeful that through the preservation of land for parks and bikeways that we can preserve that, because if we spoil that quality of life and the attractiveness of Charlotte, that will be our undoing."

"What we need is a consistent vision, developed as a community for what we want Charlotte to be like in the future that will help serve as a guide for how we make decisions about growth issues. I do wonder if we have that clarity of vision."

Big Idea

Have the Urban Land Institute (for which Mansfield just finished a two-year term as national chairman) put on a "Reality Check" like the one recently done in the Triangle area. A few hundred community leaders would participate in the process to come up with a vision for the region's future.

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