Social well-being

From health to housing to education, the institute offers articles and research on a variety of issues affecting social well-being in the 14-county Charlotte region.
 

Articles about social well-being topics

  • Patterson Farms pick-your-own strawberries, Rowan County. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    The Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection: Strengthening ties to revitalize communities

    Today it’s hard for many, especially newcomers, to imagine Charlotte’s interdependency with the small towns and rural communities surrounding Mecklenburg County.  But Charlotte’s emergence as a New South city was the result of a manufacturing economy established throughout the region in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  That economy was mostly built on textiles, with its concentration not in the urban core (as was the case with Pittsburgh’s steel industry or Detroit’s auto sector), but in small towns scattered throughout the Carolina Piedmont – where brick textile mills were built along the banks of the South Fork River in Gaston County and the Great Falls of the Catawba in South Carolina, and along the rail lines that stretched in every direction to places like Kannapolis and Hamlet.
  • An aerial view of “Teeter-Totter Wall,” a reimagining of the border wall between the US and Mexico by Ronald Rael and partner Virginia San Fratello. Courtesy Ronald Rael.

    ‘Horrifyingly beautiful:’ An architect and designer turns his attention to borders and walls

    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. 
  • Climbing out of poverty to wealth is hard in Charlotte, research has shown. But children might struggle to reach even the middle of the income distribution over their lifetime. Photo: Samuel Zeller via Unsplash.

    How likely are Charlotte-area kids born into poverty to move up the income ladder?

    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?
  • Construction on a new, luxury apartment building in Dilworth. Photo: Nancy Pierce.

    A builder’s perspective: Housing affordability is about more than subsidies

    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.