Articles

  • Wealth grows from wealth

    Savings, investment and racial wealth gap over generations

    Wealth serves as a buffer through economic downturns, job loss, and other unexpected emergencies such the COVID-19 pandemic. In Charlotte, households of color are more than twice as likely to lack sufficient savings or assets that can be used to pay for basic needs for three months without income when compared to White households. The result: almost half of all Latinx and 44% of Black households wouldn’t be able to cover basic needs after three months. 
  • Bicycle parked near shops in downtown Charlotte

    Post-coronavirus, everything will change in cities — or not

    We who write about cities are quick to make predictions. Some will prove prescient. Some won’t. But nobody really knows. Cities aren’t all alike. New York’s texture, way of life and pandemic experience are not Charlotte’s, or Houston’s, or Seattle’s. And this: We humans have a long history of behaving both predictably and unpredictably.
  • Brookhill Village in South End

    Residents wait to see if they can stay in fast-changing South End

    Debbie Williams grew up in Charlotte’s Brookhill Village, a neighborhood of one-story duplex and triplex apartments built for black families in the 1950s. She has watched while its owners let the buildings deteriorate as luxury apartments began rising nearby.  Two decades ago, she moved away. But her mother and sister remained in the low-rent housing community, home to several generations of many families. Williams’ ties to the neighborhood these days, however, extend beyond family. She is working to keep the low-income residents there from being displaced by gentrification in fast-growing South End, on the outskirts of uptown Charlotte.
  • Three lessons our city should learn from COVID-19

    The novel coronavirus is extracting a terrible toll from our society, replete with mind-boggling statistics: A death toll of more than 100,000, 40 million people unemployed, a 95% plunge in airline passengers and so many more. The losses are immense. Grief is immeasurable. It’s still unclear how far-reaching and deep the economic pain we’re facing will run.  Amidst that, however, the pandemic offers lessons, and opportunities for change. Here are three lessons surfaced by COVID-19 that we should not let fade even after the virus is under control.
  • Belmont neighborhood Charlotte

    The racial wealth gap: Business ownership & entrepreneurship

    In Mecklenburg County, business ownership rates are proportionate to the racial and ethnic makeup of the county. But disparities persist: Although ownership is demographically proportionate, the majority of the economic value of business ownership is held in a small number of White-owned businesses. 
  • Southern leopard frog

    Identifying the frog calls of spring

    June is upon us, and the rush of activity in the ponds, streams, and vernal pools of our state is already well underway. For many native frogs, it’s breeding season. Right now is a great time to experience the variety of nighttime songs that signal the return of summer in our waterways. The best part is, you don’t need to collect ticks or put on a pair of waders to do so. Frog songs can be enjoyed from a distance, just about anywhere there’s trees, grass or water. So grab your favorite beverage, head to the porch, and enjoy this guide to identifying a few of the most commonly-heard frog calls in Central North Carolina in the month of June. 
  • Peas in a Charlotte garden

    Growing peas and finding peace in the Piedmont

    The English peas are finished. Given the long spell of mild weather we’ve enjoyed this year, I’d hoped this cool-weather crop might last a bit longer. Alas, they still flamed out in a matter of weeks. English peas (Pisum sativum) are the very essence of a Piedmont spring – sweet and tender and all too fleeting.
  • A worker stocking a Family Dollar store

    How jobs contribute to the racial wealth gap

    Income is a major component of wealth, but the relationship between income and wealth is complex. Wealth and income are both used to measure a family’s economic situation, but they tell us different things about the health and strength of economic well-being. 
  • The Webb Custom Kitchen was refurbished in 2015 as a white tablecloth restaurant for historic downtown Gastonia at the site of the former Webb Theatre, built in 1927. (Photo: Wagner Murray Architects).

    What does COVID-19 mean for place-based development?

    Places like Shelby’s Don Gibson Theater, the El Dorado Outpost outdoor retailer in the Uwharries and The Twilight Bark pet supply company in Troy were built on grit, luck and the surety that there would be demand for something other than the offerings at chain stores and strip malls. But for those counting on place-based, experiential strategies to drive their revivals, the key question is: Will that be enough?
  • Coronavirus cases mapped by zip code in Mecklenburg County as of May 13.

    Coronavirus resources: Data, maps and more

    The coronavirus pandemic has generated a flood of data, maps and other resources to track the spread — and places to get help — throughout the region. Many of these resources are scattered across different websites and dashboards. Here’s a brief summary of what’s available, collected in one place. We will update this list as the pandemic goes on.