Articles

[title_1]
Mobilizing for climate change: Evaluating the Strategic Energy Action Plan, two years in
   March 19, 2021
Martin Zimmerman

Contributing writer Martin Zimmerman interviews Sarah Hazel, recently appointed as Chief Sustainability & Resiliency Officer for the city of Charlotte.
 
Sarah Hazel comes to the...

Read more


[title_1]
Concerns about Charlotte's new comprehensive plan rise from many quarters
   March 8, 2021
Ely Portillo

Neighborhood activists fighting to preserve single-family-only neighborhoods, Charlotte City Council members worried about gentrification overwhelming historically Black neighborhoods and developers who want to stop any notion of new regulations like inclusionary zoning don’t often end up on the same side of an issue.

But that’s the case in Charlotte, where concerns about the city’s...

Read more


[title_1]
2020 was supposed to be ‘year of the plan.’ What happened?
   March 2, 2021
Ely Portillo

Back in late 2019 – before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down much of the world – it looked like 2020 would be the year for plans to guide our community’s growth for the next several decades would coalesce.

What happened? Well, the pandemic, of course. But a couple of key plans have also run into deeper issues, illustrating some of the difficulties in planning for future decades in a fast...

Read more


[title_1]
The past and future of the Charlotte 'fourplex'
   March 2, 2021
Chuck McShane

Down the middle of Hawthorne Lane at the corner of East 8th Street, the dust is just settling on the new LYX Gold Line Extension tracks. When the line opens later this year, it will be the first time a streetcar has rumbled down this block since 1938.

Still, the legacy of that old streetcar era is written all over the Elizabeth neighborhood in the preserved stone-arch shelters and tree...

Read more


[title_1]
Dead trees can help make a healthy forest
   February 26, 2021
Ruth Ann Grissom

My husband and I recently hiked the Birkhead Trail, starting at Tot Hill Road for the first time since that section was hit by a wind storm in June 2019. Hundreds – perhaps thousands – of mature trees were snapped or uprooted along the trail. I hate to see a mature hardwood forest in the Uwharries suffer such extensive damage. It will take a century to replace those massive oaks. As I trudged...

Read more


[title_1]
Who’s paying attention to the planning conversation in Charlotte?
   February 24, 2021
Ely Portillo

Charlotte City Council members confronted an uncomfortable question Monday: How can you get people in the general public to pay attention to technical, somewhat boring, but extremely important matters like the city’s new development rules – before a major controversy erupts?

Planning staff are nearing the finish line for Charlotte’s...

Read more


[title_1]
Moving to the suburbs: Three things I’ve learned that make me hopeful
   February 22, 2021
Ely Portillo

When the moving truck pulled up to the Dilworth duplex we’d been renting for years, I felt more than a twinge of regret to be leaving the urban amenities I’d come to love.

Living within a short walk of two supermarkets, plentiful coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and some of Charlotte’s best parks was a fantastic convenience. But after nearly a decade in Dilworth, three different...

Read more


[title_1]
Updated maps let you explore Charlotte’s changing housing
   February 18, 2021
Ely Portillo

Which Charlotte neighborhoods have gotten denser, with more residences per acre? Where have average home sizes ballooned? Is the proportion of single-family homes rising or falling in neighborhoods where new apartments and tear-downs vie for space?

Newly updated maps on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Quality of Life Explorer allow you to probe these...

Read more


[title_1]
What’s next for uptown once the pandemic fades?
   February 11, 2021
Ely Portillo

A few minutes after noon on a recent Friday, a single customer waited for lunch at the Halal food cart parked on the sidewalk at Trade and Tryon streets.

A couple of workers in construction vests and a handful of security guards were the only other people in the plaza. The lunchtime crowd that would normally fill the streets with office workers taking the chance to stretch their legs...

Read more


[title_1]
Can a street help heal America’s fractures?
   February 3, 2021
Mary Newsom

I’ll never again look at a city’s Main Street the same way. In Mindy Thompson Fullilove’s newest book, Main Street: How a City’s Heart Connects Us All, she does something relatively rare for books about urban issues.

Some focus on cities’ physical attributes, such as low-density single-family sprawl, building design, street...

Read more