• Three vehicles parked outside of small stores on South Boulevard in Charlotte, NC.

    Charlotte region's Hispanic population grows at a rapid pace

    It’s been nearly a generation since the 2000 Brookings Institution Report that classified Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham as “Emerging Immigrant Gateways,” based largely on the rapid growth of Hispanic/Latino immigrant population. Hispanics now make up more than 10% of the population of the 14-county Charlotte region, according to recently released U.S. Census Bureau population estimates.
  • The sun rises behind the skyline of the city of Charlotte, NC.

    Sun Belt cities are driving much of our urban growth. Let’s study them.

    The U.S. population, like that in Charlotte, is growing, and much of the growth is in the cities of the Sun Belt. A new report from a Houston university research center says the country should be paying more attention to those Sun Belt cities – treating them as a specific genre that needs its own body of research.
  • 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 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.
  • Crane on Charlotte skyline

    Three ideas that could shake up planning and development in Charlotte

    The coronavirus pandemic has slowed some of the region’s planning efforts and stopped public meetings, but the virus hasn’t stopped Charlotte’s rapid growth. And in a city that’s added more than 150,000 new residents in the past decade, the effects of that growth are visible everywhere from the rising skyline to ever-more-clogged highways. That’s one reason so many new plans — covering everything from transit to zoning to parks to greenways — are underway right now in the Charlotte region. Amidst all that change, here are three ideas that might shake up how Charlotte plans for its future and what that future looks like.
  • Watching fireworks at uptown Charlotte ballpark

    Here's what the next 20 years could hold for uptown Charlotte

    A new “Central Park” for Charlotte. A Tryon Street that prioritizes pedestrians over cars. A new neighborhood built around the Carolina Panthers’ stadium, and the burial — or even total elimination — of I-277. These are some of the big ideas planners are batting around as they work on the new Center City Vision Plan, meant to guide development in uptown and the surrounding neighborhoods for the next two decades.
  • Fireflies

    How to help fireflies — and save a bit of summer magic

    A bobwhite quail calling from the edge of a stubbled hayfield. Honeybees buzzing in every patch of clover.  Fireflies hovering just beyond reach as dusk gives way to night. These are the images that come to mind when I think back to summers outdoors in the Uwharries when I was young. Little did I know that over the course of my lifetime, each of those species would experience precipitous population declines. Or that I’d be so devoted to saving them.  
  • Rendering of pedestrian bridge across I-277 in Charlotte

    Is Charlotte car culture finally changing?

    As a post-World War II, Sunbelt city that grew up in the age of the automobile, a car has long been pretty much a prerequisite for a comfortable and convenient life in Charlotte. Despite the completion of the Blue Line light rail, added miles of greenways and bike lanes, and new options like fleets of shared electric scooters, Charlotte is still a city where more than eight out of 10 people drive to work alone. For most of us, a trip to the grocery store, picking up kids from swim practice and going to a doctor’s appointment require a car.
  • 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. 
  • College graduates wearing hats

    Myths about closing the racial wealth gap

    Most efforts to increase economic stability operate under the assumption that helping individuals increase one key asset will eliminate wealth disparities. Educational attainment, long seen as the surest path to equality, is a great example. Education broadens career choices, enhances specialized skills, and raises earnings. But the value of an education —  and specifically its impact on household wealth — varies considerably across racial and ethnic groups.  The data are clear: obtaining a college degree is not enough to close the racial wealth gap.