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    When a city’s infrastructure becomes a work of art


    In the 4.5 mile stretch connecting 10 neighborhoods within the city of Charlotte, North Carolina (USA), city officials and businesses have been joining forces to create an urban park along the light rail tracks. Known as the rail trail, this linear park draws visitors and commuters from all of the surrounding areas. The goal is to make it more than simply a way to get from point A to point B – it should become a destination in and of itself.


    “Our vision is for the Rail Trail to be a zipper that connects people and neighborhoods,” said Cheryl Myers, senior vice president for planning and development at Charlotte Center City Partners. “This project represents the type of unique experiences we plan to curate across the length of the Rail Trail and is a remarkable example of what can be accomplished when the private sector and community stakeholders collaborate.”

    Both the Beasley Broadcasting radio Tower and the Duke Energy substation have been lit with Philips LEDs, allowing for up to 16,000 color changes and 13 programmable scenes. The possibilities for tailoring the lighting are endless and already bringing positive feedback from the city of Charlotte. Local businesses use the lights as landmarks, helping bring additional traffic to their locations. Visitors are reacting positively as well. Plus, the new lighting adds an additional level of safety to the surrounding area.

    Duke 3

    Celebrating and beautifying a city’s infrastructure, creating a park along the light rail, and creating art where at first there was just function, the city of Charlotte, along with businesses and citizens, hopes to make the rail trail a destination itself.


     Duke Energy represents the first sponsorship ‘flagship’ project for the Charlotte Rail Trail initiative whereby sponsor businesses generously support funding of these projects to further leverage Charlotte’s Art Place grant funds.

    This most recent “illuminating” project is symbolic for the effort to reimagine this urban space.

    Duke 2
    All images by Sean Busher