Articles

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Three ways to address affordable housing beyond subsidies
   March 12, 2020
Ely Portillo

Charlotte is in the midst of a major affordable housing crunch, and though the city has substantially increased its subsidies for building leaders acknowledge there’s no way to fund the tens of thousands of units we’d need to meet demand. 

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Opinion: Let’s steer clear of the “D-word” when it comes to housing
   March 11, 2020

Post-war zoning effectively made America’s historic neighborhoods illegal. No longer could you live above the store. No longer could you build a duplex, triplex, or quadraplex  amidst single-family houses. Now, most new housing was a homogenous spread of nothing but single-family bungalows. Apartments were all lumped together and quarantined off in a different part of the city. But stroll... Read more


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Would closing these streets help our lack of public space?
   March 9, 2020

Clayton Sealey, CLT Development
A steady rain of giggles falls on a busy street in Uptown Charlotte. It’s May 2019, and a neat row of see-saws undulate back and forth, bright LED strips highlighting their movement, as elated, carefree riders push off. The smell of food trucks serving eager patrons wafts through the air. Parents watch, relaxed, knowing they don’t have to pull their child out of oncoming traffic, as kids run... Read more


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What can flocking blackbirds in the winter teach us?
   March 2, 2020
Ruth Ann Grissom
Nothing speaks of the winter sky quite like a flock of blackbirds flying in unison above a sprawling pasture, field or marsh.  They spiral and bank and funnel, breathing life into a void of leaden gray. It’s a spectacle you won’t observe in any other season.  In the Piedmont, these flocks are often composed of an assortment of common species, not all of which are native or even... Read more


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See highest and lowest voter turnout areas in Charlotte
   March 2, 2020
Ely Portillo
Ads have been running for months, streets are blanketed with yard signs and North Carolinians have cast early ballots, but with Super Tuesday this week, the presidential election officially kicks into high gear locally.  But how many of us will actually turn out to vote? It turns out that the answer depends a lot on where you live. Like patterns of race, income, education and even... Read more


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‘You can only make roads so big’: Charlotte region launches first transit plan
   February 24, 2020
Ely Portillo
Leaders from across the region gathered Monday in a conference room at Charlotte Douglas International Airport with an ambitious goal: Creating a comprehensive plan for public transit, covering a dozen counties and setting the transit agenda for decades.  Called CONNECT Beyond, the 18-month planning effort by the Centralina Council of Governments is, to put it simply, big. The... Read more


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Can we build our way out of the housing affordability crisis?
   February 24, 2020
Ely Portillo
There’s a growing consensus that if we want to get out of the housing affordability mess we’re in, we need to hear a lot more swinging hammers. Policymakers, developers and housing advocates are all talking about the need to build more, and more of everything: single-family houses, duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, townhouses and apartments. It’s fast become the conventional wisdom that we need... Read more


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North Carolina’s parks showcase the state’s diverse landscapes
   February 18, 2020
Crystal Cockman
North Carolina is truly blessed with a fantastic and diverse system of state parks and nature preserves, stretching from the mountains to the coast. Read more


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Putting a ‘there’ there: Placemaking aims to boost overlooked areas
   February 17, 2020
Ely Portillo
A vacant park in a bustling downtown. A waterside bandshell and lawn that sit empty most days of the year. A busy intersection thousands of people drive through every day without a pause. In a fast-growing city that lacks parks and other public gathering spaces, planners are looking at ways to make these places into more of, well, places. Not just somewhere to pass through, but somewhere to meet... Read more


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Invisible pollution: Spotlight on clean air coming to Charlotte
   February 11, 2020
Ely Portillo
It’s all around us, but we usually can’t smell or see air pollution. A major art piece and a series of events coming to Charlotte this spring could help change that. Read more