Articles

  • Housing in Charlotte

    Crises and family violence: Sometimes home isn’t safe

    Encouraging people to stay home, avoid non-essential outings is the main strategy to contain the spread of COVID-19. However, for those facing family violence, home can be anything but safe.  Advocates across the country are concerned about an increase in domestic violence and child abuse incidents, with schools closed and  families stuck at home.
  • A conceptual rendering of Tryon Street in the North Tryon Vision Plan. Charlotte Center City Partners.

    What does coronavirus mean for the future of urbanism in Charlotte?

    Monday night’s rezoning meeting felt like most Charlotte City Council sessions from previous years, despite the mayor and staff sitting six feet apart and developers battling audio and video glitches in the remote setup.  But even though developers are moving forward with most of their previously announced plans and cranes are still filling in the blank spaces on our city’s skyline with new towers, questions are swirling about what the era of COVID-19 means for the much-touted urban revival. 
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg public elementary school students work in their school's computer lab. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    COVID-19 closes schools and brings on its own ‘summer slide’

    Students lose 20% to 30% of their school year learning gains over the summer and research has found that students of color, students with disabilities and those from low income families experience greater summer learning loss than their peers — and now, the coronavirus pandemic threatens to compound these losses.
  • Residents' belongings at the Salvation Army Center of Hope for women and children.Caption info from photographer: Salvation Army Center of Hope shelter for women and children. This is a family dorm room.

    One month into the coronavirus crisis, food and housing insecurity rise

    Since the coronavirus lockdowns began, Mecklenburg’s resource helpline has seen housing assistance requests jump 219% and food assistance jump 747%. These numbers are an indication of the dramatic impacts we’re seeing unfold on Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s economy. 
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.