SOCIAL WELL-BEING

Aug 19, 2019
Ronald Rael gained national attention this summer for installing teeter-totters through the U.S.-Mexico border fence, allowing children on either side to play, but the architect and designer has been studying borders, walls and their meaning for much longer. 
Jul 30, 2019
Charlotte has a problem with housing affordability for many of its citizens. But the solution is more complicated and nuanced than just putting more money into subsidies. The housing affordability problem is primarily a result of the combination of two basic factors: It is getting more and more expensive to develop and operate housing, while at the same time, many families don’t have enough income to meet the required prices associated with these higher costs.  
Jul 30, 2019
Fifty out of 50: That’s where the Charlotte area ranked in Harvard economist Raj Chetty’s influential 2014 study of economic mobility. By now, that headline finding is well-known. It’s spawned task forces and soul-searching in Charlotte for half a decade, as leaders seek a way to change the city’s dynamic and increase upward mobility. So, it’s hard to move from the bottom to the top. But what about other, less dramatic moves that can still vastly improve a person’s circumstances - say, from the lowest one-fifth of the ladder to the middle fifth?
Jul 22, 2019
You probably have never heard of John Lawson. Scott Huler aims to change that. Lawson was an Englishman and explorer who, over two months in late 1700 and early 1701, traveled almost 600 miles through the Carolinas, including through what’s now Charlotte. His book, A New Voyage to Carolina, recorded the terrain, plants and people he found. It was, as Huler writes, one of the most important early books to emerge from the colonial South.    
Jul 09, 2019
Sharp differences in race and income are visible on a map of Mecklenburg County, generally in the familiar “crescent and wedge” pattern many Charlotteans are familiar with.   But differences are also available in other, more unexpected dimensions as well. These five maps illustrate some of the biggest disparities: In people’s health. 
Jul 01, 2019
According to local Point-in-Time Count data, 77 percent of people experiencing homelessness in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care are black. American Community Survey data indicates that only 31 percent of the general population in Charlotte-Mecklenburg is black. This is just one of the major disparities in our local housing and homelessness statistics highlighed by a new tool.
Jun 20, 2019
Sometimes it can feel like the world is drowning in data: Big data, data mining, data science, data analytics and other buzzwords have become so familiar as to be cliches.  But the meeting last week of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, held in Milwaukee, was also full of reminders about the power of data to tell stories and inform decision-making. 
Jun 18, 2019
It’s happening across Charlotte: Apartments, office buildings and restaurants are popping up in parking lots, as dense, mixed-use developments, connected by bicycle paths and walking trails, invade suburbia. What’s driving the shift at some of the city’s most iconic suburban centers?
Jun 11, 2019
Tens of thousands of people a year are evicted in Mecklenburg County, but the full impact is often hard to see. Court data on evictions is often incomplete, accessible only in paper files, or difficult to compile and access. Demographic data on who is evicted, and for what reasons, is not comprehensively collected. A 2017 project by the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and Mecklenburg County sought to change that. 
Jun 10, 2019
A UNC Charlotte professor used the integrated data system at the Institute for Social Capital, a part of the Urban Institute, to examine whether students of color are more likely to enter the juvenile justice system because they’re more disengaged from school. Her conclusion: “The way our kids are being processed in the system is affected by the color of their skin.”
Jun 03, 2019
Charlotte City Walks 2019 wrapped up after a record-setting year, with 40 walks and more than 600 attendees. The programs explored food, history, art, murals, the lived experiences of being blind or homeless in Charlotte, tree canopy and more.
Jun 03, 2019
The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute organized a record number of free walking and biking tours last month that highlighted the diversity of Charlotte neighborhoods. The 40 tours took place in neighborhoods such as University City, NoDa, Uptown, South End, Historic Wilmore, Cherry, Belmont, Plaza Midwood, McCrorey Heights, Biddlesville, Commonwealth-Morningside and Historic Camp Greene.
May 29, 2019
The Institute for Social Capital combines data from dozens of different agencies and provides a unique way for researchers to find connections and study problems, helping policymakers find solutions that work. 
May 28, 2019
It turns out you can see disparities on the map in Charlotte across way more dimensions than traditional measures like household income. 
May 28, 2019
As Charlotte grows denser and more urban, parts of the city built decades ago on an auto-centric, suburban framework are struggling to both absorb more traffic and adapt to new beliefs about how people should get around. A one-mile stretch of congested road in fast-growing University City illustrates the tensions between balancing the needs of cars and pedestrians, as well as local residents and commuters, in an area where the distinction between urban and suburban is starting to blur.
May 14, 2019
It’s a familiar story: A new transit line opens, spurring gentrification in nearby neighborhoods and pushing out long-time residents.  But is that always what happens? New research from UNC Charlotte suggests the story is more complicated. 
Apr 23, 2019
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.
Apr 23, 2019
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. 
Apr 23, 2019
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.   
Apr 22, 2019
Charlotte City Walks has almost 40 free, community-led walking and bicycling tours planned for 2019, the most in the program's history.
Feb 21, 2019
Everyone wants to be included and accounted for. This is no different for our homeless population, a group that often feels overlooked and ignored. Charlotte-Mecklenburg is doing their best to remedy this with their annual Point-In-Time Count. 
Feb 06, 2019
On February 4, 2019, the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and Lake Norman Economic Development Corporation released the 2018 North Mecklenburg Demographic and Housing Assessment. This report presents the findings from a demographics and housing assessment for the northern part of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina (North Mecklenburg).
Jan 02, 2019
Journalist Mae Israel spoke with Gravel recently about his ideas for creating more livable cities. His comments have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Dec 31, 2018
As the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019, we are reflecting on how our history and growth mirror both the region we focus on and the university that nurtures us.
Nov 15, 2018
A major gift to the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute from the institute’s first director, Dr. Norm Schul, and his wife, Marianne ‘73, will establish an annual speaker series focused on policy issues affecting the Charlotte region.
Oct 10, 2018
When Mary Newsom retired as the institute’s Director of Urban Policy Initiatives on October 1, not only did the institute lose a trusted and respected colleague of seven years, but the Charlotte region lost one of its most important journalistic voices for quality planning, urban design and the value of public engagement to inform public policy.
Oct 10, 2018
Authors James and Deborah Fallows, who’ll appear in Charlotte on Nov. 13, talk about their travels through America and what they discovered about civic revitalization.
Oct 02, 2018
Talking with Lori Thomas, the new director of research and faculty engagement at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and interim director of ISC. Thomas studies housing and chronic homelessness.
Sep 23, 2018
In telling the story of one Charlotte family’s struggles with poverty, crime, incarceration and more, the author gives the four W’s: who, what, when and where.  But what makes this new book so important is the fifth and most difficult W: Why?
Aug 24, 2018
A new report from the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute combines homelessness and housing instability data, giving a more complete picture of the complexities of local housing needs. 
Aug 15, 2018
Institute researchers look at the ecosystem of college- and career-readiness programs in Mecklenburg County.
Aug 14, 2018
Two researchers conclude in a new article that many starter-home subdivisions in Charlotte, often built in industrial areas, saw neighborhood decline.
Jun 07, 2018
When eviction lands in court, landlords usually have lawyers, and tenants rarely do. A local program to arm tenants with information aims to alter that imbalance.
May 23, 2018
The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and Mecklenburg County Community Support Services released “Charlotte-Mecklenburg Evictions Part 3: One-month Snapshot of Eviction Court Records” on Wednesday, May 23, 2018.  
Mar 28, 2018
Did residential construction in Mecklenburg County rise last year? Where do fewer students attend their assigned public school? That information and more can be at your fingertips.
Mar 20, 2018
A new report for the first time maps evictions in Mecklenburg County and uses neighborhood-level data to explore the characteristics of neighborhoods with high or low eviction rates.
Feb 22, 2018
One night each year volunteers fan out across Charlotte to get a snapshot of the people who, for that night at least, don't have a permanent home. Here’s what that night is like.
Oct 17, 2017
Do you have questions? The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Annual Survey from the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute can provide answers. Contact us if you’re interested in using our Annual Survey services for 2018.
Sep 28, 2017
Each year thousands of people in Charlotte lose their homes to eviction. It’s not just a symptom of larger issues – high child care and transportation costs, rising rents and low wages – but can start a cascade of financial woes.
Sep 21, 2017
Christ Lutheran Church will offer a free livestream viewing of author Matthew Desmond’s lecture Sept. 27. Hundreds are on the wait list for the lecture; this offers the chance to see it as it happens.
Aug 28, 2017
Charlotte readers snapped up a chance to hear best-selling author Matthew Desmond in September. Here’s how to get on the wait list.
Jul 14, 2017
Many Charlotte-area book clubs have decided to study Evicted, before the Sept. 27 visit by Pulitzer-winning author Matthew Desmond. Learn how you can take part.
May 09, 2017
Each January volunteers fan out across Charlotte to try to count the number of people lacking a home. This year’s numbers point to reason for hope.
Dec 07, 2016
Incidents involving alleged and/or proven use of excessive police force against minority citizens followed by protests have sparked soul-searching by public officials and calls for action. Recent police-community conversations in Charlotte and Wilmington offer three lessons for the future.
Aug 03, 2016
What’s going on in our nation? Why? And what can we do about any of it? Although most of our systems aspire to fairness, racial disproportionality occurs across all systems, including education, child welfare, health care, housing, employment, banking and finance, and the justice system.
Feb 02, 2016
For decades, the complex challenge of housing low-income Charlotteans has inspired studies, public debate, policy changes and other actions.This essay traces how the challenges—and responses to them—have changed, and what the future might bring. Commentary.
May 14, 2015
Large trends  – income inequality, increasing economic segregation – are making it hard for people in poverty to realize the American Dream by working hard and climbing the ladder. In a Q/A interview, civic engagement expert Robert Putnam discusses the effect on children. 
Feb 23, 2015
A year-long study of the needs of Mecklenburg County’s elderly population found the county’s approach to older adults should focus on stronger and longer-term planning, supported by stronger collaboration among service providers.
Dec 10, 2014
The first recipient of a faculty research grant from the Institute for Social Capital, Inc. (ISC) will be Dr. Mason Haber, assistant professor in the UNC Charlotte Department of Psychology.
Nov 11, 2014
Charlotte is now a partner in a national effort to develop and use neighborhood information systems in local policy making and community building.