Environment

The Charlotte metropolitan region’s future depends on the health of its natural and built environment, from tree canopies to preserved natural areas to sound land use planning and urban design. The institute offers articles and research on a variety of environmental topics.

For even more articles about the environment visit PlanCharlotte.org

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Articles about environmental topics

  • Trash on an island in the Catawba River

    The biggest environmental issues facing Charlotte share a common root

    Air pollution, runoff and sediment in our waterways, disappearing open space and development chipping away at our tree canopy: Charlotte’s facing many environmental challenges with one common cause. Growth. 
  • Eastern hemlock needles and cones in Charlotte, NC

    Some mountain conifers make the Piedmont their home

    In December, the familiar Fraser fir population reaches its fleeting peak in the Piedmont as Christmas trees are harvested from farms in the North Carolina mountains and brought to market.  But two other species of conifers largely restricted to the mountains have found surprising refuge in our region — at least for the time being.
  • Great Falls, South Carolina (SC) paddling.

    Rebuilding the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection: Where do we go from here?

    Our purpose in studying the 32-county region wasn’t to merely document a Carolinas version of the familiar urban-rural divide. Instead, we sought to go beyond the conventional narrative of an irreversible split, and seek examples of connections –  either residual or new – between urban and rural communities. Connections that might provide opportunities for renewal in places still struggling to adapt to the changing economic landscape of the 21st century.
  • The Blue Ridge Parkway in the Pisgah National Forest.

    How our changing landscape sustains us all

    Ecosystems such as forests and wetlands provide clean air and water, food, building materials, and recreational opportunities. The benefits people receive from nature are referred to as “ecosystem services.”  Our interactions with ecosystems can have a positive impact, boosting our health and the economy. We can also have a negative impact on the health and survival of these natural resources.