Articles

  • A man watches a sprinkler as it waters fresh produce on a farm.

    Coronavirus uncertainty impacts local farm economies

    No doubt, 2020 will be known as a year of change; good, bad, and lasting. The global coronavirus pandemic has forced shifts and pivots in almost all industries and facets of life. The food system is no exception. As the resiliency of the local food system is challenged, some farmers and food producers will find it tough to stay afloat in 2020. For others, 2020 is a year of growth, adaptation, and a record-breaking good year, much like 2008 when the Great Recession triggered a return to “local” that drove up demand.
  • The city of Charlotte's skyline during the day.

    In spite of a pandemic, city planning isn’t slowing down

    With the coronavirus crisis in its fifth month, Charlotte planning director Taiwo Jaiyeoba has noticed something odd: Despite massive disruptions, his staff is actually completing some work more quickly. Plan reviews are faster. Advisory committees now meeting virtually are seeing 100% attendance. And developers have asked if they can continue to have the option of virtual meetings to go over their proposals with staff once the crisis ends.
  • Walking dogs in Charlotte

    How gig work is changing during the pandemic

    Kevin Ross runs a pet care service from his home in Indian Trail through Rover.com. By mid-March, as cases of COVID-19 were rapidly rising in the US, his typically steady stream of clients began to dwindle. When states began issuing stay-at-home orders, many of his clients started working from home or cutting out travel. That’s when he saw a wave of cancellations. 
  • Two people rowing in a canoe on a river in Badin, NC.

    A breath of fresh air for your mental health

    I don’t know about you, but I am tired of being stuck at home. While I understand the need during a global pandemic, months of “the new normal” has me missing the old one. Not being able to go to the gym, church, or the movies has got me—and a lot of other people—feeling anxious, and sometimes, pretty down. As it turns out, this is pretty normal, according to research. Folks at the Pew Research Center have completed a number of surveys over the past couple of months and found that half of all American adults are experiencing moderate to high distress during quarantine. There is a great deal of stress, anxiety and worry about health, finances, and the future, among other things. And the longer this continues, the more people report high levels of distress. Learning how to take care of our mental health during an extended quarantine could not be more important.
  • Ridgeline Trail in Crowder's Mountain State Park

    The pandemic is an opportunity for investing in our community

    As the world sinks towards an unprecedented depression, now is the time to invest.   The demand for the most valuable commodity in the world — human ingenuity — has not been this low since the Great Depression in 1933. The nation’s unemployment rate spiked to 16.1% in April 2020 (before dipping to 13.3% in May), and world populations are confined to their homes, threatening the global economy. While this presents enormous problems, it also opens opportunities. 
  • Bicycle parked near shops in downtown Charlotte

    Post-coronavirus, everything will change in cities — or not

    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.
  • Three lessons our city should learn from COVID-19

    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 pandemic offers lessons, and opportunities for change. Here are three lessons surfaced by COVID-19 that we should not let fade even after the virus is under control.
  • The Webb Custom Kitchen was refurbished in 2015 as a white tablecloth restaurant for historic downtown Gastonia at the site of the former Webb Theatre, built in 1927. (Photo: Wagner Murray Architects).

    What does COVID-19 mean for place-based development?

    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: Will that be enough?
  • Coronavirus cases mapped by zip code in Mecklenburg County as of May 13.

    Coronavirus resources: Data, maps and more

    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.
  • Cushman & Wakefield rendering of a "6 feet office,"

    The effects of COVID-19 on architecture: Predictions from tomorrow's designers

    When the coronavirus pandemic hit in the middle of the spring semester, it added a whole new layer of significance to the assignments in Assistant Professor of Architectural History Lidia Klein’s spring seminar. The curriculum for the graduate course, Architecture and Production: from Assembly Line to 3-D Printing, challenged students to investigate “changes in methods of architectural production from the 19th century to the present,” placing those changes “within social, political, cultural, and economic contexts.”