Ely Portillo

UNC Charlotte Urban Institute
Director of Research Engagement
Sycamore 310-G
704-687-1203

Stories by Ely Portillo

‘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...

Charlotte is planning a new vision for center city. How’d we do on the last one?

Charlotte is a city that loves big plans and heady visions. And since the 1960s, making a new plan for the city’s center has been the most regularly repeated tradition in Charlotte visions....

Charlotte’s torn down a lot of old buildings. But one type has staying power.

Breweries, apartments, hip food halls, creative offices, coworking spaces: Charlotte developers keep finding new uses for the city’s old mills. As a post-war, Sunbelt boomtown, Charlotte has...

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.



Why isn’t Charlotte built on the water?

After visiting a city with a waterfront, maybe stopping for a drink and a bite to eat along whichever river or ocean it’s built along, I’m usually left with one overriding thought: “Wow,...