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

Celebrating five years in the digital world

Five years and hundreds of thousands of pageviews later, it’s clear that diving into the digital world in 2010 was the right thing for the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. But which among our more...

Chart Charlotte region's progress toward CONNECT goals

After three years of citizen engagement, which led to a Regional Growth Framework for the Charlotte region, the CONNECT Our Future initiative moves into implementation, including a set of 31 quality-...

Institute to provide maps, data for new nonprofit, EducationNC

EducationNC – a nonpartisan, nonprofit news source aiming to create a bipartisan, statewide conversation about public schools – launched Jan. 12. The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute will assist EdNC....

Data's more complex, but institute still helps you interpret it

In reviewing the institute's 2014 highlights, one common denominator is clear. We’re using data in increasingly complex ways to – paradoxically – help make public understanding of policy issues...

What's in a name? Defining ‘urban’ in the South

All three of the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute’s most recent directors came, not from large urban centers, but from small, rural communities. But what we may have lacked in urban sophistication...