• A pedestrian-only plaza in Chester City, UK. Photo by Rachel Bradshaw on Unsplash

    Should Charlotte make one of its major streets pedestrian-only?

    Charlotte has a reputation as a car city, but many of its leaders badly want to promote more biking, walking and transit use. That’s one reason an intriguing idea kept surfacing at this week’s City Council Transportation & Planning Committee meeting: Why not take all the cars off a major street in uptown or South End, creating a pedestrian-only space?
  • A worker from Carter Farms in Moore County loads empty boxes onto his truck to use tomorrow, after dropping produce at Sandhills Farm to Table, subscription-based community supported agriculture and online food store that rents space at Sandhills AGInnovation Center. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    People appear to commute farther for certain kinds of jobs

    To better understand commuter flows at select sites in the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection region down to the individual level, we studied anonymized cell phone tracking data. We sought to determine how commuter connections differ between types of business districts and types of firms. By mapping the residential location of workers at a broad range of employment locations, we were able to make some judgements about the local economic impact, and community-building abilities of specific business types. 
  • Commuters fight traffic on Interstate 485 in Charlotte. The share of commuters in the region has increased, and more people are driving farther for work. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    Commuting and the Charlotte region’s economic connections

    An array of environmental, cultural and economic connections together give rise to the interdependence of the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection study region.  But none of these connections are more economically significant than the flow of workers within our regional economy. Counties within the region relied on out-of-county commuters for their workforces more in 2015 than at any point in our history: nearly one-quarter of our region’s residents had jobs outside of their home county.
  • People fill out an application for subsidized housing in 2014. The Charlotte Housing Authority opened its wait list for the first time in seven years. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    Talking Policy: How should we maximize the impact of analysis?

    The UNC Charlotte Public Policy Program, in Partnership with Gerald G. Fox Masters of Public Administration Program and the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, will hold its 2nd annual Talking Policy in the Queen City event on October 2nd from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Center City campus.
  • A rezoning request near Prosperity Church Road and Interstate 485. Charlotte City Council usually approves rezoning petitions, unless there is strong neighborhood opposition. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    When developers ask for a zoning change, Charlotte usually says yes

    In the past decade, City Council has only denied 27 rezoning petitions out of more than 1,200 filed, according to city records. That means there are more new breweries in Charlotte since 2009 than rezoning petitions turned down.  What’s behind the high approval rate? 
  • Members in the Charlotte Region Chapter of the American Leadership Forum work on systems thinking. Building connections across leaders from different communities is the program's focus. Photo Courtesy the Lee Institute.

    Urban and rural leaders embrace common ground in this program

    Many programs focus on developing leaders in the Charlotte region. One, the Charlotte Region Chapter of the American Leadership Forum, intentionally chooses its participants from across the region in hopes of bridging a bit of the gap between urban and rural leaders. 
  • Volunteer interviews homeless residents for 2018 point-in-time count, in the cold January air. Photo: Peter Safir
  • Leaders from urban and rural settings gather and mingle at the the Kanuga Retreat Center in Henderson County. Photo courtesy Wildacres Leadership Initiative

    Can these programs bridge the gap between urban and rural leaders?

    Are rural leaders different than their urban counterparts? And how can programs that develop leaders bridge the gap between them, if indeed there is one?
  • A rural area near Lake Twitty in Union County. Photo: Clayton Hanson.

    Is there a leadership deficit in rural communities and small towns?

    “The more successful towns have a champion. The really successful ones have multiple champions.” What happens, however, if a community doesn’t have champions to lead it forward? And do our rural communities have such champions - or are they losing their leaders?
  • The Institute for Emerging Issues forum in Charlotte will explore concrete ways of connecting people to jobs that pay more, in fields with a future. A worker at Storm Technologies. He is fitting a venturi (a device that measures air flow) , a component of a power plant emissions system. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    How can we reconnect North Carolinians to opportunities and good jobs?

    To move up the ladder of opportunity, there’s generally consensus that people need jobs that pay a living wage, where they can grow their earnings over time. But what’s the best way to get workers, especially low-income workers with barriers such as low educational attainment, connected to those jobs? That’s the focus of the ReCONNECT to Economic Opportunity Forum, scheduled for Oct. 15 in Charlotte.