• Unity in the Community of the Foothills is a nonprofit and a coalition of black churches that are working to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Polk County and the surrounding area by providing, activities and services for the entire family. Photo: Nathan Burton, Resourceful Communities/ The Conservation Fund

    Community foundations demonstrate the importance of regional links

    Can philanthropy foster greater regional connection? Yes, according to our research for the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection project. But it’s not just the movement of money that matters, say local leaders: it’s the regional exchange of ideas about how to put that money to work that seems to make a difference.
  • Youth visit Growing Change in Scotland County, an aquaponics program operated by Smyrna UMC and Wingate UMC in Union County, and Wingate University, to learn about college enrollment opportunities. Photo: Nathan Burton, Resourceful Communities/ The Conservation Fund

    How does philanthropy vary across, and connect, the greater Charlotte region?

    Charitable giving is an invisible thread binding people and communities together across the 32-county Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection study region — but how much people give, and what resources are available, varies from place to place. 
  • A map showing student absenteeism by neighborhood in Mecklenburg County. Source: Quality of Life Explorer.

    New maps show Charlotte demographic trends

    New data on the Quality of Life Explorer mapping tool paint a picture of how demographics are changing across Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, as well as other measures such as bicycle friendliness, voter participation and average water consumption.
  • On Sept. 22, 2014 Charlotte Housing Authority opened access to its online application for Section 8 housing, for the first time since 2007. These photos were taken at the main Library, where CHO staff helped applicants with the process.  By 11 AM on Sept 22, 5,200 people had visited the site. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    High rent, cost burdens, and inadequate supply: Five new, key facts about housing

    Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are still facing a large gap between the supply of affordable housing and the number of residents who need it, as inreasing rents and a tight housing market are squeezing more families’ budgets and putting them at risk of housing instability, evicion and homelessness. 
  • A pedestrian-only plaza in Chester City, UK. Photo by Rachel Bradshaw on Unsplash

    Should Charlotte make one of its major streets pedestrian-only?

    Charlotte has a reputation as a car city, but many of its leaders badly want to promote more biking, walking and transit use. That’s one reason an intriguing idea kept surfacing at this week’s City Council Transportation & Planning Committee meeting: Why not take all the cars off a major street in uptown or South End, creating a pedestrian-only space?
  • A worker from Carter Farms in Moore County loads empty boxes onto his truck to use tomorrow, after dropping produce at Sandhills Farm to Table, subscription-based community supported agriculture and online food store that rents space at Sandhills AGInnovation Center. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    People appear to commute farther for certain kinds of jobs

    To better understand commuter flows at select sites in the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection region down to the individual level, we studied anonymized cell phone tracking data. We sought to determine how commuter connections differ between types of business districts and types of firms. By mapping the residential location of workers at a broad range of employment locations, we were able to make some judgements about the local economic impact, and community-building abilities of specific business types. 
  • Commuters fight traffic on Interstate 485 in Charlotte. The share of commuters in the region has increased, and more people are driving farther for work. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    Commuting and the Charlotte region’s economic connections

    An array of environmental, cultural and economic connections together give rise to the interdependence of the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection study region.  But none of these connections are more economically significant than the flow of workers within our regional economy. Counties within the region relied on out-of-county commuters for their workforces more in 2015 than at any point in our history: nearly one-quarter of our region’s residents had jobs outside of their home county.
  • People fill out an application for subsidized housing in 2014. The Charlotte Housing Authority opened its wait list for the first time in seven years. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    Talking Policy: How should we maximize the impact of analysis?

    The UNC Charlotte Public Policy Program, in Partnership with Gerald G. Fox Masters of Public Administration Program and the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, will hold its 2nd annual Talking Policy in the Queen City event on October 2nd from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Center City campus.
  • A rezoning request near Prosperity Church Road and Interstate 485. Charlotte City Council usually approves rezoning petitions, unless there is strong neighborhood opposition. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    When developers ask for a zoning change, Charlotte usually says yes

    In the past decade, City Council has only denied 27 rezoning petitions out of more than 1,200 filed, according to city records. That means there are more new breweries in Charlotte since 2009 than rezoning petitions turned down.  What’s behind the high approval rate?