Articles

  • 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.
  • Cleveland Regional Medical Center in Shelby

    Over-65 population varies across North Carolina

    The coronavirus crisis is growing across North Carolina, with a statewide stay-at-home order going into effect Monday, but the effects could be felt differently from place to place. 
  • Carolina jessamine flowers

    Social distancing in nature

    After weighing the pros and cons of taking groceries to elderly parents; after assessing the risk of exposing them to coronavirus while driving them to the doctor; after worrying about friends who are sick in New York City, those who are considered essential workers and those who are now unemployed; after obsessively wiping surfaces with bleach solution and slathering hands with sanitizer; after years of developing virtual networks only to be unnerved by social distancing, I find moments of respite while pulling winter weeds. 
  • Crowded housing Mecklenburg County

    As Mecklenburg shelters in place, crowded housing conditions vary widely

    Mecklenburg County residents are directed to stay at home through a new proclamation Tuesday, in order to limit their social contacts and slow the spread of coronavirus. But some residents could find that harder to do: The rate of crowded housing varies widely across the city of Charlotte and the rest of the county. 
  • Homeless encampment in Charlotte

    Our homeless neighbors are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus

    If there has ever been an object lesson on why housing matters and why we must prioritize providing it for people who don’t have a place to live, this latest crisis should teach us. Charlotte’s homeless population is at particular risk as we collectively adjust to COVID-19.  Work to end homelessness takes on new urgency in a pandemic, for reasons of both personal and community safety. The lack of housing makes social distancing difficult, if not impossible. Many individuals experiencing homelessness are especially vulnerable to the virus because of high rates of underlying health conditions. A growing number of homeless individuals are over the age of 60. Simple necessities to maintain hygiene and prevent the spread of any infection are not regularly available (it’s hard to wash your hands for 20 seconds if you don’t have a sink). 
  • 2020 Census online response

    See how many people in your neighborhood have taken the Census

    The 2020 Census is crucial for making policy, assigning Congressional seats and divvying up resources for the decade to come, but it’s one of the many institutions facing a big challenge from the coronavirus. Census response forms were sent nationwide last week, inviting people to respond online. People who respond online, over the phone or via mail  won’t get a knock on their door from a Census worker — an especially important consideration in a time of pandemic.
  • American Airlines jet pushes back from gate

    Airlines, facing a crisis, make up a big part of the Charlotte region’s economic heft

    Charlotte is home to the world’s sixth-busiest airport by takeoffs and landings, and Charlotte Douglas International is often cited as the region’s most important economic asset. That’s why the airline industry’s sudden existential crisis could be especially consequential for the region.  Because of the coronavirus crisis, American Airlines and other carriers are struggling with the twin blow of a massive dropoff in customer demand and radically tightened restrictions on where they can fly.