Articles

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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. Read more


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Post-coronavirus, everything will change in cities — or not
   June 4, 2020
Mary Newsom
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. Read more


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Residents wait to see if they can stay in fast-changing South End
   June 4, 2020
Mae Israel
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... Read more


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Three lessons our city should learn from COVID-19
   June 2, 2020
Ely Portillo
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... Read more


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The racial wealth gap: Business ownership & entrepreneurship
   June 1, 2020

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.  Read more


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Identifying the frog calls of spring
   May 27, 2020

Lily Cooper
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... Read more


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Growing peas and finding peace in the Piedmont
   May 26, 2020
Ruth Ann Grissom
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. Read more


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How jobs contribute to the racial wealth gap
   May 26, 2020

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.  Read more


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What does COVID-19 mean for place-based development?
   May 20, 2020

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:... Read more


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Coronavirus resources: Data, maps and more
   May 19, 2020
Ely Portillo
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. Read more