Articles

  • Berewick development in Charlotte

    Home ownership and the legacy of redlining

    Home ownership is one of the key strategies to close the racial wealth gap. A home is where households see gains in equity (market value of home minus any liens attached to property)  and is typically the largest asset Americans hold, regardless of race or ethnicity.  But Black and Latinx households have considerably less equity in their homes than White and Asian households. As Richard Rothstein says in The Color of Law, “A home is one of the only assets where the race of the owner affects the rate of return.”
  • Worker loading farm boxes

    Pandemic highlights food chain workers' precarious and essential positions

    Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, news headlines have called attention to both “essential workers” in the food system, such as farmworkers and grocery store employees, and extensive job losses for food system workers, primarily in retail and restaurants. There are requests for contributions to virtual tip jars and for customers to buy gift cards from small businesses alongside fears of food chain disruptions, empty grocery shelves, and virus exposure while shopping. All of this highlights the often invisible precarity of essential workers in the US food system — and the precariousness of the food system itself.
  • Little Sugar Creek Greenway near uptown Charlotte

    Keeping the conversation about public space alive past coronavirus

    Projects that usually take years are happening in weeks during the coronavirus pandemic: Cities are closing streets to cars, opening public space for sidewalk cafes and investing more in pop-up parks and outdoor amenities.  Planners are responding to a desperate desire for more public, outdoor space, as restaurants, gyms, bars, concert venues, offices, schools and other indoor gathering places remain closed or severely restricted. In Charlotte, city officials have closed about two miles of streets near parks to through traffic, in order to give people more room that’s usually been reserved for cars.  The question, though, as restrictions begin lifting and people crave a return to some kind of normalcy, is whether such changes represent a permanent shift or a fleeting blip in our car-centric culture.
  • Bulldozer demolishes house in Charlotte neighborhood of Brooklyn

    The historical roots of the racial wealth gap in Charlotte

    Wealth is more than money. While simply defined as the net amount of assets over liabilities, wealth functions in more expansive ways. It opens doors to homeownership, no-debt or low-debt education, business ownership, and the ability to weather personal and national emergencies.  These opportunities and the racial wealth gap that locks some groups out — White households in the United States have 10 times the wealth of Black households and 7 times the wealth of Latinx households — have historical policy roots.
  • Malmö, Sweden bicycle paths

    Can Charlotte’s auto-dependency be cured? Planners launch Strategic Mobility Plan

    The heightened attention to COVID-19 aftershocks has not  distracted  local planners from tackling related issues that beg for solutions. High among these is overcoming Charlotte's long-standing love affair with the car — especially reliance on driving alone, even when carpooling, light rail, cycling or other options are readily available. Charlotte Department of Transportation Deputy Director Ed McKinney brought this to the attention of City Council’s Transportation, Planning and Environment Committee at its January meeting.
  • Empty classroom desks

    COVID-19 highlights educational inequities

    The novel coronavirus, better known as COVID-19, has changed the world as we know it. This holds true for the field of education, particularly K-12 schools in North Carolina and across the U.S. COVID-19 has exposed some glaring educational inequities that were present before the pandemic, but in many ways have been amplified during this crisis. As a result, I provide four major educational inequities that have directly impacted the most vulnerable K-12 students’ ability to learn and reach various educational academic achievement metrics.
  • Uptown Charlotte skyline with UNC Charlotte building

    Gambrell Faculty Fellows program returns to fund studies of the Charlotte region

    The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, with support from the Gambrell Foundation, is preparing to launch the second cohort of faculty fellows to study pressing issues in the Charlotte region. 
  • Charlotte skyline

    COVID-19 exposes the impact of the racial wealth gap

    In the United States, White households have 10 times the wealth of Black households and 7 times the wealth of Latinx households.This has not occurred by mere happenstance. Wealth is built through a combination of pathways, each with its own history of policy and practice.  The consequences enhance or hinder asset building across racial and ethnic groups. The systemic patterns of racial inequity that lead to such stark differences in wealth accumulation are the same well-worn paths that lead to unequal outcomes in labor, housing, education, and health.
  • A red-breasted grosbeak

    A rare encounter with a beautiful bird this spring

    On one recent hike, I saw a fantastic bird up close that I’d not seen in person before – the red-breasted grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus). These birds typically prefer to stay near the tops of trees, so spotting them is not easy. I was fortunate that these birds were using my friend’s bird feeder, dining on birdseed and sunflower seeds. I was able to get some good photographs of them with my camera with the 40x optical zoom. I tried with my phone but was not able to get anywhere near them, as they are pretty skittish.
  • Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

    The gendered implications of COVID-19

    What are the gendered implications of COVID-19 for women doing the work that keeps many of us alive? At the front lines of this pandemic, women are overburdened,  an unseen labor force that keeps the country running and takes care of those most in need whether or not there is a pandemic. These women are underpaid and undervalued, they are the essential workers, and they are more at-risk for intimate partner violence and sexual exploitation. And the most striking implication is that we are exposing women to COVID-19, in some cases killing them, even as they are trying to save us.