Jeff Michael

UNC Charlotte Urban Institute
Past Director


Jeff Michael is past director of the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute.  A planner and attorney by training, his professional experience includes extensive work around land use, sustainable development and land conservation  issues. Prior to coming to the institute in 2003, Jeff served as director of the Wildacres Leadership Initiative and the William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations, one of North Carolina’s premier leadership programs. He left the institute in 2021 to become North Carolina's Deputy Secretary of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. 

A native of the Charlotte region (Stanly County), Jeff is often called upon by the news media and policy makers to share his professional and personal knowledge of the region, and to provide commentary on the economic, environmental and social issues confronting its communities. 

Jeff was named a William C. Friday Fellow in 1997 and an American Marshall Memorial Fellow in 2005 and has served on the boards of numerous statewide and regional organizations.


JD, University of North Carolina School of Law
Master of Regional Planning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
B.S. in Business Administration, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Land use law, land conservation, regional planning, sustainable economic development, leadership development, diversity/multicultural training

Stories by Jeff Michael

Golden Anniversary year: Celebrating our history, changing to greet our future

As the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019, we are reflecting on how our history and growth mirror both the region we focus on and the university that...

Changing with a changing region and university

As 2017 closes, a look back at the institute’s almost 50-year history of regional focus and research. 

The Earth works well for N.C. artist Sayre

A North Carolina artist who works in red clay helps us ponder Charlotte’s agrarian roots, its aspirations and its complicated relationship with history and the arts. Commentary.

State bonds reflect N.C. history as well as today’s outlook

The 20th century was a time when North Carolina’s leaders understood the connection between public investment in infrastructure and future economic growth. And they were savvy about timing, taking...

From Paris to backcounty Stanly County: the Kron family tale

A Stanly County Museum exhibit tells the story of an unusual European immigrant family and may inspire deeper thinking about issues ranging from regional history, to the importance of place and...