• 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.
  • Charlotte's skyline in the 1970s, after "urban renewal" had cleared much of Second Ward.

    Charlotte 1979: Uptown was downtown, everyone wore a tie and the city hungered for 'world-class' status

    One of people’s favorite pastimes fast-growing Charlotte is to look back and marvel at how much has changed in so little time. Stephen Overcash, principal at Overcash Demmitt Architects has worked in Charlotte for 40 years, a time in which the city’s population nearly tripled, skyscrapers shot up in parking lots and downtown became uptown. We invited Overcash to reflect on changes he’s seen in Charlotte as he starts his fifth decade in the city. 
  • White-bracted sedge mingles with lobelia, liatris and jewelweed in the author’s Charlotte garden.

    A native plant that adds habitat - and flair - across North Carolina

    Found primarily along the Southeast coast, white-bracted sedge also grows with abandon in wet, sunny meadows you can create in your Charlotte backyard. The flowers attract a crazy array of pollinators - bumblebees and honeybees, bizarre bugs and colorful moths, tiny bees and flies. And the bracts remain attractive deep into fall, even after a hard freeze has turned them to parchment.
  • Antonio Butts, executive director of Walnut Way in Milwaukee.

    Data, urban agriculture and opportunity zones: Lessons from Milwaukee

    Sometimes it can feel like the world is drowning in data: Big data, data mining, data science, data analytics and other buzzwords have become so familiar as to be cliches.  But the meeting last week of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, held in Milwaukee, was also full of reminders about the power of data to tell stories and inform decision-making. 
  • Putting the urban in suburban

    Across Charlotte, developers are planning to add dense, mixed-use developments to parking lots at malls, shopping centers and office parks. See some of their plans, along with what's there now. 
  • "Ballantyne Reimagined" seeks to redevelop an office park into a mixed-use hub of activity.

    From Ballantyne to SouthPark to University City, the suburbs want to be more like the city

    It’s happening across Charlotte: Apartments, office buildings and restaurants are popping up in parking lots, as dense, mixed-use developments, connected by bicycle paths and walking trails, invade suburbia. What’s driving the shift at some of the city’s most iconic suburban centers?
  • Falls Reservoir, a small lake in between Badin Lake and Lake Tillery.

    Beyond Crowders and Morrow Mountain: 8 great spots to get your nature fix near Charlotte

    Most people who visit the Uwharrie region, east of Charlotte, for recreation probably know about spots like the Uwharrie Trail and Morrow Mountain State Park. Or maybe you’re used to driving west, to Crowders Mountain State Park. However, there are a lot of lesser-known gems in the region that many tourists miss out on, and some that even locals have never been to see.
  • An eviction notice posted on an apartment in 2017. Thousands of evictions are filed each year in Mecklenburg County.

    Project documenting evictions’ toll in Mecklenburg wins national award

    Tens of thousands of people a year are evicted in Mecklenburg County, but the full impact is often hard to see. Court data on evictions is often incomplete, accessible only in paper files, or difficult to compile and access. Demographic data on who is evicted, and for what reasons, is not comprehensively collected. A 2017 project by the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and Mecklenburg County sought to change that.