Articles

  • Smokestack emitting gas

    Invisible pollution: Spotlight on clean air coming to Charlotte

    It’s all around us, but we usually can’t smell or see air pollution. A major art piece and a series of events coming to Charlotte this spring could help change that.
  • Richmond Va. bus rapid transit system shelter

    Trains, buses and people: More lessons for Charlotte

    In his recent book, Trains, Buses, People – An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit, Christof Spieler dispenses a refreshly forthright  assessment of 47 of America’s larger systems, including Miami, Atlanta, Austin, Houston, Dallas and other Sun Belt cities. Never before has a publication compared this many cities and transit modes for a mainstream audience. Research included photographs at all locations and interviews with agency staff, elected officials, and advocates. The final product is compressed into a digestible format of full-page maps, abundant infographics and the author’s informed commentary.  Spieler’s opinions derive from several complex factors: political dynamics, funding challenges, planning dilemmas, land use constraints, ridership fluctuations, and conceptual biases all come into play.  He reveals a few winners, but also a lot of losers. Charlotte hovers precariously in between.
  • Three new office buildings - for Ally Financial, Honeywell and Bank of America - in uptown Charlotte. The corner of Stonewall and Tryon was formerly occupied by a Goodyear auto shop and the Charlotte Observer building. Photo: Ely Portillo

    Charlotte just wrapped up its busiest decade ever for uptown development

    The 2010s in uptown Charlotte were a decade with a split personality, starting with an epic crash and swinging to a huge boom that transformed the skyline and left an enormous mark on the city. At the start of the decade, rusting rebar poked up from the EpiCentre, a reminder of a condo project that never got started. Now, those buildings are full and cranes dot the skyline, picking their way around new towers.
  • Construction on Stonewall Street in Charlotte, NC

    What Charlotte needs to grow into a great city

    In more than three decades since she moved to the city, UNC Charlotte professor Deb Ryan has seen a lot of changes. At Charlotte City Council's annual retreat in January, Ryan said she thinks it’s time for the city to raise its expectations of developers.  “We’re not the needy little city we used to be,” Ryan said. 
  • ArcGIS Urban model of Charlotte

    What will Charlotte look like? This new tool makes it easier to visualize

    The skyline changes every year in a fast-growing city like Charlotte, as parking lots morph into high-rises and humble houses or older building are demolished to make way for the next big thing. It can be tough to keep track of the changes, and even harder to visualize what a proposed development might look like once it’s actually built. A new tool the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department is planning to adopt soon could make that easier.
  • Goldenrod Galls in Uwahharies

    Finding the exceptional in the ordinary: Goldenrod galls

    Mama has a knack for finding four-leaf clovers. We’ll be strolling along, chatting, and she’ll stoop down and pluck one. She doesn’t break stride to stop and search – they just jump out at her.  She doesn’t focus on finding the oddity. Instead, she takes in the sameness of the masses until something different catches her eye. I’ve tried her approach, but I still fail miserably with four-leaf clovers. I guess I didn’t inherit the luck of the Irish. But I have trained my eye to pick out goldenrod galls among the millions of stems in our early successional habitat in the Uwharries. 
  • Music in uptown Shelby

    The Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection is featured on TV

    As urban areas boom while many rural areas and small towns struggle, experts and local leaders are looking at success stories like Shelby as a roadmap to revitalization.  That’s the topic of UNC-TV’s ncIMPACT this week. The show, focusing on strategies to help communities that have lost manufacturing and textile jobs, is set to air Thursday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m.
  • Trash in Catawba River
  • Prothonotary Warbler

    Here are the five best springtime Uwharries hikes

    Cold and wintry weather have (finally) settled in, but spring will be upon us before you know it. In honor of the soon-to-be warmer weather, here are some of my favorite hikes for springtime. There are lots of great places in the Uwharries to hike any time of year, but these five trails are particularly nice from March to June, because of the flora and fauna that show up when winter gives way to springtime.
  • Trash on an island in the Catawba River

    The biggest environmental issues facing Charlotte share a common root

    Air pollution, runoff and sediment in our waterways, disappearing open space and development chipping away at our tree canopy: Charlotte’s facing many environmental challenges with one common cause. Growth.