Our Story

Our Story

In late 2007, Sustain Charlotte Founder and Executive Director Shannon Binns moved to Charlotte after spending a decade living in major cities – Washington D.C., New York City, Seattle – where he could easily navigate using public transportation. While he’d lived car-free for 10 years, he found himself unable to navigate without one in Charlotte. 

The pattern of urban sprawl that has defined our growth for the past 70 years has resulted in a tragic loss of tree canopy, forests and farmlands; degraded our waterways and air quality; and severely worsened our impacts on the climate.

This sprawling pattern of development was accompanied by decades of building roads solely for cars. The needs of people who walk, bike, and ride transit were overlooked, which led to our current lack of bike lanes, sidewalks, and safe intersections. Soon, cars became necessary for nearly every daily living trip, from the grocery store to work, doctor’s appointments to school, and everything in between. People who didn’t drive were often left behind, literally disconnected from opportunities and from their community.

Bikes on the rail line uptown

Sustain Charlotte was born because our city needs a better way to grow, now and for generations to come. 

One of our roles is to educate citizens and policymakers about the way in which many of our greatest community challenges are systemic in nature. These big challenges require holistic thinking and problem-solving, along with effective actions and investments.  

We focus on trying to change current unsustainable land use patterns by advocating for more compact growth that makes walking, biking, and transit feasible. 

We also advocate for redesigning our existing streets to make walking and biking safer and public transportation more accessible.

Sustain Charlotte's 2022 Sustainability Awards. April 22, 2022.

Leaders are celebrated at the Sustain Charlotte Awards

Our Board of Directors

At Sustain Charlotte, our Board of Directors walk the walk of advocating for smart land use and transportation solutions to meet our community's deepest social, economic, and environmental challenges. With backgrounds in industries ranging from solar and green energy solutions to finance and commercial real estate lending, our board brings valuable expertise and perspectives to shape our collective strategies and goals.

2023 staff

Our Staff

We are proud to have such a passionate and knowledgeable team at Sustain Charlotte, whose members specialize in programs, development, marketing, communications, and keeping up with the latest in urban design, smart growth, and local policy and initiatives.

Volunteering at Biketoberfest

Grant Baldwin Photography

Jobs + Internships

Are you ready to join a team dedicated to improving the sustainability and quality of life for individuals in the Greater Charlotte Area? Check out our jobs and internships page for available positions, and don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for updates.