Articles

  • Uptown Charlotte skyline

    10 key questions for public administrators in the time of COVID-19

    There will certainly be scores of studies and articles for years to come about lessons for public administrators from how our multiple levels and units of government managed the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. An important place to start is asking the right set of questions.
  • Five Points Plaza rendering Charlotte NC

    Growth and change surge in Charlotte’s Historic West End

    Sitting in a gas station turned into a café and coffee shop along Rozzelles Ferry Road in Charlotte’s Historic West End, J’Tanya Adams, a longtime community activist, spotted a commercial real estate broker who has been working with developers interested in building new homes in the area. The conversation was brief, but packed with news. Adams is founder and program director of  Historic West End Partners, a non-profit which largely promotes economic growth and revitalization. She swapped information with Forde Britt about a potential dog grooming shop and other businesses for several nearby empty buildings along the  street. Such interactions are happening more often in the Historic West End as the historically African American community on the outskirts of uptown Charlotte braces for an anticipated spike in growth and development.
  • Volunteers packing food at the Sandhills AGInnovation Center

    We want to hear your COVID-19 stories

    The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and the city of Charlotte are collecting stories to learn what you and your neighbors are seeing and to celebrate the efforts underway by people pulling together that are getting us through this unprecedented time. 
  • Uptown Charlotte from Independence Blvd

    Does regionalism still make sense in the era of the ‘Nation City’?

    This is the age of the “metropolitan revolution” in the U.S.: the city as the crucible of change in the wake of waning effectiveness at the national level. Or so say some, like former Chicao mayor Rahm Emanual, whose book “The Nation City” came out in February.  That the triumph of the city could now seem almost blasé to urbanists makes it all the more provocative to regionalists and rural advocates. We asked former UNC Charlotte Urban Institute Senior Fellow Brian Dabson, a nationally recognized expert on regional development and resilience, to give us his take on the new book. Below he shares why he thinks cities (still) need their regions, whether the urban-rural divide narrative will wither away in 2020, and how this new era of pandemic risk might foster more regionally-minded thinking in the future.
  • Man walking dog solo on greenway in Charlotte

    Inequalities in Charlotte: Coronavirus shines a spotlight

    As unemployment rises and schools remain closed, the coronavirus crisis is highlighting some of the many inequalities in the Charlotte region.  Those problems go beyond the ones we’re familiar with, such as income inequality and patterns of segregation. They point to deeply embedded inequalities in how we’ve built our city and our region, as well as access to key infrastructure. 
  • Residents applying for affordable housing on shared computers

    Coronavirus highlights our digital divide

    As much of our work, learning and lives move online following the stay-in-place policies to control the coronavirus pandemic, the inequity of the digital divide for low-income and rural households here and around the country is now more visible.  Like most states in the country, North Carolina has poor broadband (or high-speed internet) outside of most cities and towns. Almost all 100 counties in the state include rural areas with little or no broadband
  • Dwarf crested iris

    Wildflowers in our woodlands

    It’s a great time to be in the woods and spot our region’s many wildflowers (socially distant and with plenty of room between you and anyone else on the trail, of course). Although many state parks are closed due to COVID-19 situation, the trails in the Uwharrie National Forest are still open, and exercise is a permitted activity within the state’s stay at home order. For those of you who live on your own land with a creek or stream, you may even be able to spot these commonly seen wildflowers in your own backyard. 
  • Seeds of Change in west Charlotte

    Eating healthy in a food desert: Mecklenburg leaders seek new solutions

    Mecklenburg County leaders are trying to find solutions for a worsening food crisis in the county’s poorest neighborhoods. Nearly 15 percent of the county’s population lives in what the U.S. Department of Agriculture calls food deserts — low-income communities where most residents don’t have access to a full-service grocery store or supermarket carrying nutritious food. That figure exceeds the national average of 11 percent and North Carolina’s statewide average of 13 percent.
  • UNC Charlotte Urban Institute

    Public service while we’re social distancing

    Like everyone else, the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute team is adjusting to the new reality of working from home and becoming part of a national focus group on consumer preferences for remote conferencing services (after a couple of weeks of sampling, do you now prefer Zoom, WebEx, or Google Hangouts Meet?). In our effort to stay connected as a team, even the institute’s weekly “research huddle” has gone virtual. It’s a 30-minute “standup” where our researchers provide updates on what they’re working on and share ideas for future research topics. It’s a wonderful time as a director to sit back and marvel at the talent that has been assembled in one team, and to be impressed by their passion to serve the public, even during a time when that public has by necessity turned inward and when it’s not always clear what form our service should take.
  • Women working in a home office

    Five things coronavirus could change in Charlotte

    Closed bars, restaurants and breweries. Hundreds of thousands of employees working from home while trying to home-school children. Near-empty road and no toilet paper on the shelves.  The immediate impacts from the coronavirus crisis are highly visible. But the virus could have more long-lasting and farther-reaching impacts beyond the immediate unemployment and economic disruption we’re seeing. Here are five other areas the coronavirus could have an impact on our region.