Articles

  • Trash on an island in the Catawba River

    The biggest environmental issues facing Charlotte share a common root

    Air pollution, runoff and sediment in our waterways, disappearing open space and development chipping away at our tree canopy: Charlotte’s facing many environmental challenges with one common cause. Growth. 
  • Storm drain lowering Blue Line construction

    ‘Raise our expectations:’ Four takeaways from Charlotte City Council’s retreat

    Charlotte faces a wide range of needs, from affordable housing to more police, bigger parks and better transit, but they all share a similar root cause: growth.  That was one of the main themes at City Council’s annual planning retreat, held this week over four days in Durham at the Washington Duke Inn. There was little anxiety about when the city’s boom might end. Instead, the focus was on ways to manage, change and deal with the side effects of a booming city.  “We’re growing faster than we’re putting in that critical infrastructure around it, and people are feeling the pain,,” said council member Tariq Bokhari. 
  • Charlotte Area Transit System uptown bus center

    Should Charlotte make its transit system free?

    There’s been a lot of planning lately for Charlotte’s growing transit system, with new rail lines, improved bus service and the first inter-county transit links in the works — as well as questions about how to pay for that growth But one Charlotte City Council member raised a different idea this week at the group’s annual retreat: How about getting rid of fares altogether?
  • Job alert: Join the Urban Institute team

    The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute is hiring an Associate Director of Research who will also serve as the Director of Community Research Services.
  • Brookhill Village housing Charlotte NC

    Nonprofit charts a new course for troubled South End development

    A new, mixed-income housing development is set to take the place of a long-troubled, low-income housing complex in South End.  Brookhill Village is a paradox: An oasis of affordability in the midst of a booming and fast-gentrifying part of the city, but full of run-down units, many of them boarded up and visibly decaying from the street. Developed in the 1950s by the late C.D. Spangler, a wealthy Charlotte businessman, the complex of one-story buildings occupies 36 acres. Less than two miles away, uptown’s skyline glitters on the horizon.
  • Construction on Stonewall Street in Charlotte, NC

    Would Charlotte be better off with less planning?

    Charlotte has a lot of ambitious, master-planned efforts underway right now, but it is the more spontaneous, less-planned areas that have seen truly explosive growth. Consider six areas: Brooklyn Village, Eastland Mall, North Tryon, South End, NoDa and Stonewall Street.
  • New houses on Wonderwood Drive in Cotswold

    A brief HunterWood history lesson

    HunterWood and several surrounding neighborhoods were carved from 200 acres once owned by the Hunter family, whose homestead still stands on Charlotte’s Sardis Road. The Rev. John Hunter, installed as the minister at nearby Sardis Presbyterian Church in 1859, began assembling the property during the Civil War in the 1860s and lived there until he died in 1890, according to an overview prepared by the Mecklenburg County Historical Landmarks Commission.
  • Construction on Wonderwood in Charlotte

    Accepting change when you can’t stop it in a “tear-down” neighborhood

    HunterWood is fast approaching a tipping point, as new houses replace old. A quick walk around the neighborhood found 76 old houses (built before 2007) and 50 post-2007 houses. On my walk, I found long-time neighbor Jane Stout walking her dog. “The neighborhood is simply recycling. I get it. That happens,” she said. “I just wish the builders could be more sensitive to the surroundings. They seem to be so callous to what a lot of us like about the neighborhood.”
  • Walking in HunterWood, a Charlotte section of Cotswold.

    Charlotte has 56 “tear-down” neighborhoods: Here’s a portrait of one

    The Walters-brand piano held a commanding spot for decades in Sue and Dale Riley’s den, on Charlotte’s Wonderwood Drive. They bought it for $75, used, for their daughter Megan to learn on when she was 4 or 5 (she’s 47 now). Even when she was grown and came home on weekends or holidays, the piano, ever in need of tuning, came alive again. Until recently. One bright afternoon on my daily walk, I found the aging upright kicked to the curb.
  • #39 cross-town bus transfer at the Old Concord Road light rail station. Photo: Martin Zimmerman

    Charlotte is trying to get you out of your car and onto a bus

    Bus ridership has been falling in Charlotte for years, even though buses still carry the majority of public transit riders.  Local transit officials are hoping to reverse the trend with dedicated bus lanes, greater frequency and easier ways for people to track when the next bus is coming. But they face hurdles, including money and the stigma many people attach to riding the bus.