ECONOMY

Mar 11, 2011
On Wednesday, March 2nd, the first set of data from the 2010 Census was released for North Carolina counties, cities, towns, etc., providing the first hard population counts for these areas since 2000.   We know that the Charlotte region as a whole has grown rapidly in the last decade,...
Mar 03, 2011
What should Charlotte look like?  When discussing urban design many planners, architects and developers assume that what works in New York, San Francisco and Portland should work here.  This assumption ignores the reality that Southerners have a very different perspective on "...
Feb 25, 2011
Among the many state programs whose futures hang in the balance as North Carolina’s leadership wrestles with how to close the state’s projected budget shortfall are the four “trust funds” that have served as the primary sources of funding for land conservation over the past few decades. As leaders debate their future, a new report released by the Trust for Public Land (TPL) earlier this week demonstrates that the return on investment of these programs since 1998 has been significant.
Feb 11, 2011
Headlines have highlighted multiple demographic trends affecting Charlotte and the metro area over the last decade. “Carolinas lead the nation in Hispanic growth,” read the headline of a Charlotte Observer story in 2008. The city has ranked highly on “Best City” lists for African Americans throughout the 2000s. Moving beyond the headlines, however, is there any clear demographic picture emerging for Charlotte’s future? A glimpse at the 2009 Census Bureau data (the final estimates before the 2010 official counts are released later this spring) provides some insight.
Jan 21, 2011
The emergence of the biotechnology sector was not due to luck, rather it was due to vision, the ability to see the invisible and do the impossible.  Our state prepared for success by investing in roads, K-12 education, community colleges, universities, research, innovation, business parks and...
Jan 13, 2011
Today’s public libraries are expected to deliver traditional services in a rapidly changing technological environment . As libraries struggle to maintain high quality programs that are financially sustainable, the impact of the recent recession and the consequent decline in financial support further challenges libraries to find ways to survive while continuing to deliver essential services.
Jan 06, 2011
City-County consolidation, when a county and the cities within a county merge to form a single government entity, is the most visible and comprehensive change in the local government structure. With an average passage rate of fifteen percent, and only forty total consolidations in the US, city-county consolidation is an extremely rare event. Yet, during this great recession, many communities such as Charlotte, along with Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Cleveland continue to entertain the idea in order to improve their economic competitiveness.
Nov 22, 2010
Charlotte is once more at a crossroads: future challenges abound—in education, environmental sustainability, and social equity to name only three. Even more important is the question of transportation infrastructure, and I make no apologies for returning to one of my favorite topics...
Nov 12, 2010
A few weeks ago, UNC Charlotte hosted the ninth annual Charlotte Biotechnology Conference.  The original idea for this event was that it serve as a barometer of the “life science cluster” in the Charlotte region.  Sensing increased activity in patents and start-ups ten years ago, UNC...
Oct 28, 2010
Nothing is more heartbreaking than seeing a child go without. During tough economic times, more families and children must face their daily struggles with fewer resources. As the unemployment rate increased over the past several years, these struggles became more challenging and affected more people in the community. Last school year was no exception in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System (CMS). More children than ever applied for free and reduced lunch during the 2009-10 school year.
Oct 14, 2010
In its last annual survey* which was conducted in late winter of 2010, the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute included a few questions on a variety of issues currently facing the people of Mecklenburg County.  Three of the questions directly touched on the state of the economy in Mecklenburg...
Oct 07, 2010
Charlotte, like much of the nation, has been affected by the economic recession that began in December 2007.  Job losses and unemployment extend across nearly all economic sectors, leaving virtually no region or industry immune from the downturn.  Due to the tenuous situation of...
Oct 07, 2010
In the early 1950s the not yet established Research Triangle Park (RTP) was pitched to Governor Luther Hodges as a cluster of “two medical schools, two engineering schools and a core of preeminent researchers in every field of science.”  Hodges response: he called the presenter (a...
Sep 08, 2010
For both serious and casual observers of Charlotte’s economic and cultural history, a new book released in July provides a fascinating look at the effects of globalization on the city’s recent development. Published by the University of Georgia Press and edited by UNC Charlotte geography professors Bill Graves and Heather Smith, the book Charlotte, NC: The Global Evolution of a New South City is a collection of chapters written by some of the city’s most...
Sep 08, 2010
I'm writing this essay because I'm worried. I've grown attached to America in the 27 years I've lived and worked here but I'm forced to look elsewhere for useful examples of government action, corporate innovation and citizen activism to meet the fast approaching crises of climate change, future...
Sep 02, 2010
Efforts to construct subsidized apartment complexes in two South Charlotte neighborhoods were recently abandoned after Ballantyne and Ayresley residents raised concerns that the proposed projects would have a detrimental impact on surrounding property values by overburdening public infrastructure...
Aug 23, 2010
One of the delights of an academic life is the opportunity to spend time in the summer traveling on research trips to foreign countries; there really is nothing like studious foreign travel to give useful perspectives on conditions here in America. This year I went home to England and traveled to...
Aug 10, 2010
Downtowns around the Charlotte region are coming back to life.  This video highlights the Town of Davidson and the strategies used there to attract people to the town center.   
Aug 10, 2010
Twenty years ago, the downtowns in our region were believed to be destined for oblivion.  Retail was leaving, if not already gone, locating along a major thoroughfare somewhere on the suburban fringe in the vicinity of the latest big box retail store, often Wal-Mart. Professional offices, if...
Jul 23, 2010
Photos by Nancy Pierce
Jul 09, 2010
An economically healthy metropolitan region needs a vibrant urban core as well as strong suburban and rural communities. The institute offers articles and research on a variety of economic topics.  
Mar 30, 2009
  The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute has more than 40 years of experience seeking solutions to the social, economic and environmental challenges facing our communities. Click on the images above to explore how these issues are being addressed in the Charlotte region today.