25 big ideas from 30 geniuses for how to make Charlotte a better, more interesting city -- and how to make it matter

By Miriam Durkin, Jarvis Holliday, Tamela Rich, Jen Pilla Taylor, and Richard Thurmond
Photographs by Chris Edwards

Got any big ideas of your own for how to make Charlotte a better place? Submit them via form or email them directly to, and we’ll post the best ones on this page.

Todd Mansfield
Todd Mansfield
The environmentalist developer
Josh Thomas
Josh Thomas
Accidental environmentalist
Carlos Espin
Carlos Espin
Art collective facilitator
Mark Peres
Mark Peres
Celebrator of the creative class
Donna Scott
Donna Scott
Independent theater producer
Will Miller
Will Miller
Social venture capitalist
Sharon Portwood
Sharon Portwood
Working on the nonprofit holy grail

Saving Us From Sprawl
Tom Low will not rest until we all think differently about planning and design

The Future of Journalism
Justin Ritchie, Justin Ruckman, and Matthew Tyndall are citizen journalists, but their vision goes beyond CLT Blog

The Global Mentor
Ann Francke is helping women in North Carolina help women around the world

Making Eating Local Easy
Christy Shi will deliver farm-fresh food to your house -- along with recipes

Housing the Homeless
Kathy Izard thought someone here should start a program offering permanent housing to the homeless. Then she thought, "Why not me?"

Speaking of Art ...
Manoj Kesavan's lunchtime salon has grown into a full-blown support group for creatives

The Urban Frontiersman
Rich Deming is an evangelist for self-sufficiency -- while still living an urban lifestyle

The Avetts' Arrival
On the cover of the October 2005 issue, this magazine proclaimed the Avett Brothers as the local music scene's best hope. This month, the band starts making good on that

The Sweetest Thing
Marco Casol's big idea is to make gelato ubiquitous in the U.S. -- and to do it from Concord

The Online Migration
Ex-Observer staffers David Boraks and Glen Burkins have launched hyperlocal Web sites. Welcome to the future of news

Speaking Truth to Power
Armed with a keyboard and an audience, Mary Newsom is doing her damnedest to coax Charlotte to grow better

Keeping an Eye on the Americas
Someone has to make sure the president doesn't forget about this side of the world. That someone is Russell Crandall

Soccer Anywhere
Akbar Majeed's love for soccer turned into an avenue to help underprivileged youth

Big Idea: A Trauma Collar You Can See Through

Big Idea: Matching Needy Tenants with Affordable Housing

Categories: Feature, The Buzz