Articles

  • Job alert: Join the Urban Institute team

    The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute is hiring an Associate Director of Research who will also serve as the Director of Community Research Services.
  • Brookhill Village housing Charlotte NC

    Nonprofit charts a new course for troubled South End development

    A new, mixed-income housing development is set to take the place of a long-troubled, low-income housing complex in South End.  Brookhill Village is a paradox: An oasis of affordability in the midst of a booming and fast-gentrifying part of the city, but full of run-down units, many of them boarded up and visibly decaying from the street. Developed in the 1950s by the late C.D. Spangler, a wealthy Charlotte businessman, the complex of one-story buildings occupies 36 acres. Less than two miles away, uptown’s skyline glitters on the horizon.
  • Construction on Stonewall Street in Charlotte, NC

    Would Charlotte be better off with less planning?

    Charlotte has a lot of ambitious, master-planned efforts underway right now, but it is the more spontaneous, less-planned areas that have seen truly explosive growth. Consider six areas: Brooklyn Village, Eastland Mall, North Tryon, South End, NoDa and Stonewall Street.
  • New houses on Wonderwood Drive in Cotswold

    A brief HunterWood history lesson

    HunterWood and several surrounding neighborhoods were carved from 200 acres once owned by the Hunter family, whose homestead still stands on Charlotte’s Sardis Road. The Rev. John Hunter, installed as the minister at nearby Sardis Presbyterian Church in 1859, began assembling the property during the Civil War in the 1860s and lived there until he died in 1890, according to an overview prepared by the Mecklenburg County Historical Landmarks Commission.
  • Construction on Wonderwood in Charlotte

    Accepting change when you can’t stop it in a “tear-down” neighborhood

    HunterWood is fast approaching a tipping point, as new houses replace old. A quick walk around the neighborhood found 76 old houses (built before 2007) and 50 post-2007 houses. On my walk, I found long-time neighbor Jane Stout walking her dog. “The neighborhood is simply recycling. I get it. That happens,” she said. “I just wish the builders could be more sensitive to the surroundings. They seem to be so callous to what a lot of us like about the neighborhood.”
  • Walking in HunterWood, a Charlotte section of Cotswold.

    Charlotte has 56 “tear-down” neighborhoods: Here’s a portrait of one

    The Walters-brand piano held a commanding spot for decades in Sue and Dale Riley’s den, on Charlotte’s Wonderwood Drive. They bought it for $75, used, for their daughter Megan to learn on when she was 4 or 5 (she’s 47 now). Even when she was grown and came home on weekends or holidays, the piano, ever in need of tuning, came alive again. Until recently. One bright afternoon on my daily walk, I found the aging upright kicked to the curb.
  • #39 cross-town bus transfer at the Old Concord Road light rail station. Photo: Martin Zimmerman

    Charlotte is trying to get you out of your car and onto a bus

    Bus ridership has been falling in Charlotte for years, even though buses still carry the majority of public transit riders.  Local transit officials are hoping to reverse the trend with dedicated bus lanes, greater frequency and easier ways for people to track when the next bus is coming. But they face hurdles, including money and the stigma many people attach to riding the bus. 
  • Uptown Charlotte as seen from NoDa

    'Stay true to what we are': Looking ahead while appreciating the past

    What a year 2019 has been been for the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute: The completion of a two-year study of the connections between Charlotte and surrounding rural communities. The launch of a new Urban Institute Faculty Fellows program focusing on economic opportunity. The inaugural Schul Forum Series. But it was also a year of reflection, as the institute celebrated its 50th anniversary.
  • Little Long Mountain trail view Uwharries

    Enjoy hiking? You should help build a trail

    Most people who hike trails don’t take time to think about who makes and maintains paths through the woods.  In the Uwharries, as in most recreational areas, most trail-building is done by dedicated volunteers.
  • Artist's rendering of the pedestrian bridge across Interstate 277 in Charlotte

    What’s on our city’s wish list? See some gifts for Charlotte

    It’s hard shopping for the city that has it all: Gleaming office towers, a new-ish light rail line, a booming population and one of the world’s busiest airports. But that doesn’t mean Charlotte couldn't still use a few gifts this holiday season. After all, despite the city’s obvious and explosive growth, there are still plenty of challenges: Housing that’s too expensive for many, a rising violent crime and murder rate, increasing traffic and low economic mobility for those born into poverty.  So, what would you get Charlotte this year, if you could gift the city anything? I took a (very informal, totally unscientific) poll on Twitter, and received more than 100 replies and suggestions.