The year 2040 might seem a long way off, but for decision-makers in Greenville, now’s the time to make the GVL2040 plan a reality.
Population taking off
GVL2040 is the city’s comprehensive plan to shape its growth and evolution over the coming years. After years of stagnation, the city’s population has grown by nearly 14,000 people over the past decade (from 58,409 in 2010 to 72,095 estimated July 2021), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The population of Greenville could reach more than 110,000 by 2040, according to the city’s estimates.
Central to this forward thinking plan is the concept of “nodes.”
A node is a compact, walkable and mixed-use activity center or hub where an increased concentration of residential, employment, retail, transit and other uses are located.
Nodes, according to Mayor Knox White, may have different rules that may cap the height of buildings to different sizes in different nodes to match the surrounding neighborhoods. White said while a neighborhood like the area around Pendleton Street can develop into a node, it will have much different character from what he calls the “ultimate center” — downtown Greenville.
“The 2040 plan — it’s an attempt to be intentional about how we grow,” White said, noting that the existing GVL2040 plan is merely a guide as leaders look to rewrite the zoning codes for the coming years.
The city council has yet to finish rewriting the city’s land management ordinance. The city is still working with neighborhood stakeholders to finalize the zoning code that comes from the GVL2040 plan and hasn’t yet taken any votes on the GVL2040 plan.
“I think they’ll benefit every district,” said Councilwoman Lillian Brock-Flemming.
Nodes as sprawl-fighters
In an effort to combat sprawl and unplanned development across the city, leaders have reexamined how to make the community more livable and more functional through nodes and corridors. Corridors connect the nodes through a multi-modal transportation route through the city that provides a range of convenient connections between nodes and link existing neighborhoods to opportunities in nodes.
A new way of development
Greenville City Councilman Russell Stall said the node/corridor model is a very new concept in thinking about development. Stall, who’s also studying for his doctorate in planning, design, and built environment at Clemson University, said the node concept is a way of dealing with rapid growth that concentrates it in smaller areas while preserving the nature of existing communities.
“Other cities and other communities are going to use this,” Stall said, adding that he believes this type of development will guide other cities in writing zoning guidelines.
As nodes develop, they will move toward form-based code, meaning retail, homes and more could be grouped into the same node, making for a more walkable environment that will reduce dependence on vehicular traffic and foster better neighbor interactions.
“Greenville is always a place that’s willing to be innovative and creative,” Stall said.
- Village of West Greenville
- County Square
- North Timmons Park
- Greenville Convention Center
- McAlister Square
- North Paramount Park
- Haywood Mall
- Laurens Verde
- Downtown Greenville*
*Note: Downtown Greenville is considered an existing node per the GVL2040 plan.
- Wade Hampton Boulevard
- North & South Pleasantburg Drive
- Laurens Road
- Fairforest Way
- Pendleton Street
GVL2040 core values
- Being an enterprising community — Taking risks, having initiative and charting the city’s course.
- Being a resourceful community —The community as a whole succeeds when leaders strive to make the most of the city’s greatest strengths and assets — from human capital, to natural assets, to history and heritage.
- Being an inclusive community — The decisions the city makes must strive to include as many voices and perspectives as possible to ensure outcomes that are more equitable and just.
- Being a courageous community — The community has demonstrated an ability to make bold decisions that may have been difficult in the moment but that put the community in a position to succeed.
Source: City of Greenville