Ely Portillo

UNC Charlotte Urban Institute
Assistant Director of Outreach & Strategic Partnerships


  • ui.uncc.edu
    Nov 25, 2019
    Charlotte is a city with a reputation for tearing down its old buildings to replace them with the next big thing, and perhaps nowhere is that go-go approach to development more apparent than at the site of the Main Library.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Nov 06, 2019
    Cities boom while rural areas struggle. People seeking opportunity leave the countryside for urban areas. Small towns left behind after the local mill or factory closes down are hollowed-out shells. We’ve heard these tropes before; cliches about the urban-rural divide abound. But the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connections project is built on the premise that there’s more that unites us than divides us.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Oct 29, 2019
    Charlotte officials moved one step closer to a regional transit plan this week, approving an agreement to hire a consultant and craft a vision for the city and a dozen surrounding counties.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Oct 28, 2019
    In the wake of manufacturing-based economies that once formed the basis for much of the region’s prosperity, three cities in the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection study area are hoping the crack of a bat will give them a second chance.  Gastonia and Kannapolis were once regional textile powerhouses, while High Point remains an important player in the furniture market. They’re all investing tens of millions of dollars in new, minor league baseball stadium meant to spur adjacent redevelopment and draw people back downtowns that have been hollowed out by the departures of major employers and retailers.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Oct 22, 2019
    Charlotte planners are trying to change the city’s decades-long focus on building streets solely for cars with an effort to map and plan for future bicycle lanes, expanded sidewalks and more accommodations for alternative ways of getting around like scooters. The first phase of that effort — mapping and planning for the streets along the Blue Line — is nearing completion, with Charlotte City Council expected to adopt the plans Oct. 28. After that, city planners will expand the planning effort to streets along the future Gold Line streetcar and Silver Line light rail corridors, then citywide.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Oct 15, 2019
    The Charlotte region rose to prosperity on the strength of ties between its rural areas and urban center, but those ties have frayed in recent decades, with the decline of the textile industry and Charlotte’s emergence as an independent finance center. The first annual Schul Forum Series, hosted by the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, will examine what remains of those economic, social and cultural connections, and how we can work to revive them.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Oct 07, 2019
    Cramerton’s mills are long gone, as they are in most of the small towns that depended on textiles for generations. But Cramerton and other former textile towns are embracing the South Fork for what they hope is a new economic spark: outdoor recreation 
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Sep 30, 2019
    New data on the Quality of Life Explorer mapping tool paint a picture of how demographics are changing across Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, as well as other measures such as bicycle friendliness, voter participation and average water consumption.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Sep 26, 2019
    Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are still facing a large gap between the supply of affordable housing and the number of residents who need it, as inreasing rents and a tight housing market are squeezing more families’ budgets and putting them at risk of housing instability, evicion and homelessness. 
  • plancharlotte.org
    Sep 24, 2019
    Charlotte has a reputation as a car city, but many of its leaders badly want to promote more biking, walking and transit use. That’s one reason an intriguing idea kept surfacing at this week’s City Council Transportation & Planning Committee meeting: Why not take all the cars off a major street in uptown or South End, creating a pedestrian-only space?