Articles

  • Raleigh writer Scott Huler in 2015, braving the 100-degree sun along North Tryon Street beside light rail construction. The street is likely the Indian Trading Path, where explorer John Lawson walked in January 1701. Photo: Mary Newsom

    Review: In ‘A Delicious Country,’ an author rediscovers the Carolinas

    You probably have never heard of John Lawson. Scott Huler aims to change that. Lawson was an Englishman and explorer who, over two months in late 1700 and early 1701, traveled almost 600 miles through the Carolinas, including through what’s now Charlotte. His book, A New Voyage to Carolina, recorded the terrain, plants and people he found. It was, as Huler writes, one of the most important early books to emerge from the colonial South.    
  • A conceptual illustration of the future Gateway District, where an Amtrak, streetcar and light rail station is planned. City of Charlotte, Depiction LLC

    Charlotte loves visions. Here are some of the biggest on the drawing board.

    If planners, developers and other leaders in Charlotte have a favorite word, it might just be “vision.” In a city defined by its growth, local leaders aren’t shy about throwing the word around,. and there are plenty of visions being promoted in Charlotte at any one time. Visions, of course, don’t always become reality - and if they do, they often take far longer than the original planners imagined, and mutate from their original form. But visions can also set the stage for development patterns that persist for generations. 
  • Dr. Jeffrey Kline, MD, director of research for the Department of Emergency Medicine at Carolinas Medical Center, wheels a device used for breath-based management of pulmonary embolism in the emergency department at CMC.

    Five maps that show stark health disparities in Mecklenburg County

    Sharp differences in race and income are visible on a map of Mecklenburg County, generally in the familiar “crescent and wedge” pattern many Charlotteans are familiar with.   But differences are also available in other, more unexpected dimensions as well. These five maps illustrate some of the biggest disparities: In people’s health. 
  • In a Charlotte carport, an Indian family holds a traditional Hindu Fire Ceremony. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    Immigrants play a big role in Charlotte’s growth, new study shows

    Almost one in six Mecklenburg residents were born outside the U.S., and immigrants make an outsized contribution to the local economy and many key industries.  That’s according to a new study that highlights the substantial role immigrants are playing in Charlotte’s booming growth. Immigrants make up big chunks of the local STEM, construction and manufacturing labor forces,. And they’re far from a monolithic group, hailing from countries around the world. 
  • Camp North End, a former Ford factory, distribution center and missile factory north of uptown Charlotte that's being redeveloped for adapative reuse projects. Photo: Nancy Pierce.

    Should Charlotte do more to preserve its history?

    There’s been a lot of talk lately in Charlotte about the value of older buildings and what we should do to save them, spurred by the Excelsior Club’s possible sale and demolition. For a fast-growing city with leaders who have long been spurred on by the promise of more development and an ever-bigger, ever-shinier skyline, it can be hard to preserve the past. Charlotte has a reputation for tearing down its past to make way for the future, with casualties that include notable buildings such as the Masonic Temple, Independence Tower and Hotel Charlotte (imploded as part of a David Copperfield television special).
  • A Charlotte City Walk in the Belmont Neighborhood. Three structure demonstrate the changes in Belmont: From left: new affordable housing apartments, historic neighborhood music venue now a private residence, a new large house. These are on Harrill Street. Photo: Nancy Pierce.

    Want to know why developers are embracing walkable urbanism? Follow the money.

    Charlotte’s suburbs are starting to look more like urban areas, and a new study is pointing to the value to be gained from promoting walkable, transit-connected, urban-style growth. Real estate experts have said they’re responding to market pressure: Businesses, workers and residents want to get from home to work to dinner without spending big chunks of their day in a car, and suburban-style developments that cater exclusively to drivers no longer cut it. 
  • Volunteer interviews homeless residents for 2018 PIT count, Point-in-time Count, January 31. Photo: Peter Safir

    A new local racial equity analysis tool highlights disparities in homelessness

    According to local Point-in-Time Count data, 77 percent of people experiencing homelessness in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care are black. American Community Survey data indicates that only 31 percent of the general population in Charlotte-Mecklenburg is black. This is just one of the major disparities in our local housing and homelessness statistics highlighed by a new tool.
  • Triple Falls, where spray cliff communities thrive. Photo: Crystal Cockman.

    Rare plant communities abound in some unusual North Carolina spots

    When you think of rare species, your mind might turn to majestic tigers, ferocious grizzly bears or majestic elephants. But how often do you think of bogs, sandbars and the slimy rocks coated in spray? A recent Natural Heritage Program Rare Plant and Natural Communities Workshop in Hendersonville highlighted the importance of these unusual ecosystems for many of our region’s rare plants. Such environments play an important role in our state, but many are threatened.
  • A postcard of Charlotte from the UNC Charlotte archives. Source: J. Murrey Atkins Library.

    Should Charlotte’s “brand” emerge organically or be something aspirational?

    There was a stir in town a few weeks ago, when the new Charlotte Regional Business Alliance CEO, Janet LaBar, commented to the Charlotte Observer, “I think Charlotte doesn’t have a brand. That’s not necessarily, today, good or bad. That just means that’s an opportunity for us to actually create one.”
  • The cover of a 1955 report that raised some of the same questions about Charlotte's growth we're still asking today.

    How should Charlotte grow? Decades-old study points to some lessons worth remembering.

    The year was 1955, but the city’s problems would look pretty familiar to its modern residents. Charlotte was confronted with growing traffic, inadequate transportation options, a lack of park space and the fear that growth was running away without a real, comprehensive plan.