Jeff Michael

UNC Charlotte Urban Institute
Past Director
Sycamore 310-F
704-687-1201

Biography

Jeff Michael is past director of the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute.  A planner and attorney by training, his professional experience includes extensive work around land use, sustainable development and land conservation  issues. Prior to coming to the institute in 2003, Jeff served as director of the Wildacres Leadership Initiative and the William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations, one of North Carolina’s premier leadership programs. He left the institute in 2021 to become North Carolina's Deputy Secretary of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. 

A native of the Charlotte region (Stanly County), Jeff is often called upon by the news media and policy makers to share his professional and personal knowledge of the region, and to provide commentary on the economic, environmental and social issues confronting its communities. 

Jeff was named a William C. Friday Fellow in 1997 and an American Marshall Memorial Fellow in 2005 and has served on the boards of numerous statewide and regional organizations.

Education

JD, University of North Carolina School of Law
Master of Regional Planning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
B.S. in Business Administration, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Expertise

Land use law, land conservation, regional planning, sustainable economic development, leadership development, diversity/multicultural training

Stories by Jeff Michael

Building on natural assets: How Burke County is capitalizing on recreation

Rural communities around Charlotte are looking for new economic engines. Urban residents are looking for more outdoor recreation. That provides an opportunity for communities around Charlotte to use...

Can these programs bridge the gap between urban and rural leaders?

Are rural leaders different than their urban counterparts? And how can programs that develop leaders bridge the gap between them, if indeed there is one?

Is there a leadership deficit in rural communities and small towns?

“The more successful towns have a champion. The really successful ones have multiple champions.” What happens, however, if a community doesn’t have champions to lead it forward? And do our...

The Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection: Strengthening ties to revitalize communities

Today it’s hard for many, especially newcomers, to imagine Charlotte’s interdependency with the small towns and rural communities surrounding Mecklenburg County.  But Charlotte’s emergence as a...

Why do old places matter? A Mecklenburg native explores the question.

Why do we care about old places, and why should we work to preserve them? A Huntersville native and prominent national preservationist takes a look at those questions through a lens that stretches...