Institute's best of the web for 2014

Happy new year from the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. View of campus and our offices from the air. Photo: Nancy Pierce.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our offerings this year. In case you missed them, here are some of the 2014 articles that attracted the most readers.

From the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute

photo Charlotte and Raleigh top U.N. list of fastest growing large U.S. cities

 

Charlotte and Raleigh top U.N. list of fastest growing large U.S. cities

The 2014 United Nations city population projections for 2010 to 2030 show Charlotte and Raleigh as growing the fastest among large U.S. cities. (Photo: John Chesser)

— John Chesser

photo Big urban gains, rural losses in the Carolinas

 

Big urban gains, rural losses in the Carolinas

Since 2010, the home counties of Charlotte and Raleigh have accounted for nearly half of all population growth in North Carolina. Just 10 N.C. counties tallied nearly 80 percent of the state's increased population. (Image: John Chesser, Tableau maps)

— John Chesser

photo Beyond the test score bump at Shamrock Gardens School

 

Beyond the test score bump at Shamrock Gardens School

In 1997, when North Carolina launched its school rating system, Charlotte's Shamrock Gardens Elementary  had one of the lowest scores in the state. By 2014, test scores have risen and enrollment is increasing. Parents are volunteering in classrooms staffed by highly effective teachers. How did this dramatic change occur? (Photo: Nancy Pierce)

— Amy Hawn Nelson

photo Cherry neighborhood rezoning sparks gentrification study

 

Cherry neighborhood rezoning sparks gentrification study

After the approval of a controversial rezoning this spring in the Cherry neighborhood, one of the city's oldest historically black areas, Charlotte officials are studying how to keep gentrification from forcing out long-time residents in older neighborhoods. (Photo: Mary Newsom)

— Chuck McShane

photo Affordable housing near Charlotte light rail? Still a challenge

 

Affordable housing near Charlotte light rail? Still a challenge

As hundreds of apartments pop up around transit stations in Charlotte's South End neighborhood, the city's plan for more high-density housing near its rail line is taking shape. But a sister policy encouraging apartments for low-income families isn't faring as well. (Photo: John Chesser)

— Mae Israel

photo Study finds some Charlotte historic districts losing ground

 

Study finds some Charlotte historic districts losing ground

The first major survey of Charlotte historic resources in 30 years says demolition and development have shrunk historic sections of three local historic districts. It also recommends possibly adding more historic districts, especially in northwest Charlotte.

— Chuck McShane

photo They’d rather not drive, thank you

 

They’d rather not drive, thank you

Some hardy local city-dwellers are opting to take transit and bicycle even when they own cars and can just as easily drive. For some, it's about the environment. For some, it's about making the city more livable and urban. And for some, it's becoming a way of life. (Photo: Corey Conner)

— Corbin Peters, Corey Conner

photo Can innovative interchange plan survive suburbia?

 

Can innovative interchange plan survive suburbia?

As the final leg of I-485 nears completion, residents near the Prosperity Church Road interchange are bracing for growth. A 1999 plan calls for an “urban village” there of compact streets and walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods. Will the growth really follow that plan? (Photo: Nancy Pierce)

— Chuck McShane

photo NCDOT letter poses dilemma for low-tax Union County towns

 

NCDOT letter poses dilemma for low-tax Union County towns

A North Carolina Department of Transportation letter has planners and officials in several small Union County towns scrambling to figure out how they'll maintain new subdivision streets in one of the state's fastest growing counties.

— Chuck McShane

photo When a place needs a design makeover

 

When a place needs a design makeover

Imagine a spot you think needs a makeover. PlanCharlotte, with urban designers Keihly Moore and Alex Borisenko, invites you to nominate places in the Charlotte region that need some urban design magic. Image: Completeblocks.com

— Mary Newsom