• Charlotte's 2040 plan is coming. What will be in it?

    Here’s what Charlotte really, really needs from its 2040 plan

    We asked a dozen Charlotte community leaders from different walks of life one question: What does the city need more than anything in its new vision for growth? From designing for people instead of cars to building more equitably to not imposing too many regulations, here’s what they had to say. 
  • The Sandhills swamps are a diverse and unique ecosystem.

    Not far from Charlotte, the Sandhills swamps beckon - and need protection

    The Sandhills are one of the more diverse landscapes in the state, mainly because longleaf pine ecosystems house so many unique and endemic species. The transition area between Sandhills and Uwharries is especially diverse as you may find species found in the coastal plain, Sandhills, Piedmont and the mountains all in one place.
  • Park spending has lagged in Charlotte

    Mecklenburg parks could get a big spending boost

    Mecklenburg County is poised to substantially increase funding for its park system, after years of stagnating budgets and staff cuts following the 2008 recession. It could help the county improve its ranking of dead last among major U.S. cities for parks and open space. 
  • Bicycling on Charlotte's new uptown cycle track.

    Can Charlotte actually become a bike-friendly city?

    Is the city's first protected bicycle lane, now open in uptown, a model for expansion - or a solution that only works in certain parts of Charlotte? Advocates hope it's the former, but they acknowledge that the city has a long way to go.
  • Growth and development continue in Charlotte

    Don’t design the church for Easter Sunday - and other ways to reduce our impact

    Responsible and thoughtful design entails understanding the relationship between the built environment and its impact on ecological systems.  With 6.7 billion people projected to live in urban areas worldwide by 2050, there are many achievable strategies that should resonate with architects, developers and local governments to sustain the natural environment even as growth and development continue. 
  • Field Guide to the Southern Piedmont

    This Piedmont field guide will take the mystery out of identifications

    When I was a novice birder, attending bird walks in New York’s Central Park, I asked the leader which field guide I should buy.  Without missing a beat, and without a hint of sarcasm, he replied, “All of them.”  While I’ve come to appreciate his wisdom, there’s also something to be said for having a basic, indispensable guide you can turn to again and again.
  • Suburbs in Charlotte are growing fast, as they are in many cities.

    Is the future of cities in the suburbs?

    As cities continue to grow and thrive, with downtowns reviving and old neighborhoods being redeveloped, is their future still really in the suburbs? That's what one advocate said this week at a real estate forum, provoking debate about growth, transit and sprawl.
  • Charlotte arts institutions seek out more diverse voices

    As Charlotte has become more urban and cosmopolitan, grassroots artists and organizations have energized the visual and performing arts. But some say there have largely been two separate arts scenes in Charlotte: One shaped by established arts institutions and the other by a more diverse group of artists and arts organizations emerging outside the establishment.
  • Camp North End in Charlotte

    “We are not giving ourselves credit." Charlotte’s arts scene is growing, changing.

    Is Charlotte's arts scene growing? Becoming more diverse? Does the city need a dedicated arts district? Read what some of the city’s key advocates and artists have to say about Charlotte's art community. 
  • Camp North End in Charlotte

    Charlotte's arts scene is growing - and at a crossroads

    As rapid growth and development reshapes Charlotte's urban personality, the cultural arts scene is expanding and becoming more dynamic, as a number of new festivals and venues show. But arts advocates say funding has stagnated, and more is needed to maintain the growth.