Articles about Environment and Planning

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An ocean bird pays an unexpected visit to Stanly County
   November 13, 2020
Ruth Ann Grissom

My sister and I once decided it would be a fine idea to tour the Mojave Desert in May. Being hard-headed women from the Uwharries, we forged ahead even after the Santa Ana winds kicked up and pushed temperatures into triple digits. The heat made for a memorable, if sometimes freakish, trip. Along the way, we crossed paths with a dude who looked like an Elvis impersonator, a randy bighorn sheep...

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Small towns like Badin have lessons for big cities like Charlotte
   November 5, 2020
Jeff Michael

As Charlotte continues its quest to become a more urban and cosmopolitan city, is it possible that the small towns and former mill villages dotting the land around Charlotte have something to teach us about how to solve some of the biggest and most pressing needs facing our big cities and suburbs today?

Bill Fulton, Director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University...

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A glimpse at Charlotte’s future from a piece of the past
   November 2, 2020
Ely Portillo

It probably wasn’t the setting Charlotte planners would have picked to unveil their vision for the future: A parking lot off Independence Boulevard, acres of scarred asphalt surrounded by a tangle of some of the city’s least pedestrian-friendly streets. 

But in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, an in-person event at a densely packed brewery along the light rail or in a tower...

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Students rethink how and what we memorialize
   November 2, 2020

Meg Whalen

“Not many events inspire our historical imagination and force us to critically think about our past the way a falling monument does.”

Associate Professor of Sculpture Marek Ranis, who grew up behind the Iron Curtain in communist Poland, has seen monuments go up and come down in countries like his homeland. But the intense evaluation of monuments in the United States –  what they tell...

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Virtual symposium “Making an Edible South” launches Carolina Garden Trail
   October 8, 2020

Staff Reports

An upcoming virtual symposium in late October called “Making an Edible South” will kick off a year-long celebration of the new Carolina Garden Trail, currently under construction between the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens and the Urban Institute’s new offices in Sycamore Hall.

Dr. David Shields, a distinguished historian of agriculture and food preparation at the...

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How to Appreciate a Brown-Eyed Susan
   September 22, 2020
Ruth Ann Grissom

I wasn’t especially fond of brown-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia triloba). They strike me as having a superficial and relentless cheer – like a clerk who automatically chirps Have a great day! when you’re clearly miserable.

But they freely seed around our yard in the Uwharries, and my garden in Charlotte was bare, so I transplanted several clumps. They pop...

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Charlotte expands bus rapid transit to a new corridor
   September 9, 2020
Ely Portillo

Charlotte City Council voted Tuesday to expand a pilot program for bus-only lanes onto a second, longer stretch of local roadway, in what could be a model for a more extensive reworking of the city’s bus system. 

Crews will soon begin work to restripe and reconfigure about 2.5 miles of Central Avenue from Eastway Drive to the former Eastland Mall site, converting one general-purpose...

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Can the city, county work together to solve transportation issues?
   August 26, 2020
Ely Portillo

“We cannot do this individually. If we try to attack these problems in our own lanes only, we will only succeed at failing.”

“Everything we embark on needs an intergovernmental framework and strategy to move forward.”

“We truly are breaking down silos that exist in government.”

That’s City Council members Tariq Bokhari, Braxton Winston and Matt Newton speaking Tuesday...

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Greater funding could improve access to our public lands
   August 17, 2020
Ruth Ann Grissom

“The public wants access to the land it already owns,” observed Jay Leutze, conservationist and author of Stand Up That Mountain. That sentiment was the driving force behind support for the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), recently signed into law after receiving wide bipartisan support in...

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The coronavirus is starting to reshape transit in Charlotte
   August 13, 2020
Ely Portillo

In the sixth month of the U.S. coronavirus pandemic, few sectors of the economy or local government services have been hit as hard as transportation and transit.

The viral outbreak and ensuing lockdowns caused transit ridership numbers to plummet nationwide as millions of people stayed home or avoided trains and buses if they had to go somewhere. The Centers for Disease Control even...

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