Mary Newsom


Mary is a lifelong newspaper journalist who spent several decades at The Charlotte Observer as an editorial board member and columnist, concentrating on Charlotte regional urban and suburban growth, planning, urban design, transportation and land preservation. She left the Observer and joined the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute in 2011. She had a year-long Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University 2007-08, and in 2005-06 was a Knight Fellow in Community Building at the University of Miami. Newsom retired from the insitute in 2018 as Director of Urban Policy Initiatives, and is now a freelance writer in Charlotte. 


A.B. Journalism UNC Chapel Hill


Urban and suburban issues, Charlotte region and North Carolina politics and government, writing, editing and journalism.

Stories by Mary Newsom

An ’80s tale: How rural preservation didn’t happen

Decisions made decades ago ensured that almost all of Mecklenburg County would be open to development. 

Older voters outmuscle younger ones in election clout

Researchers looked at city elections, including Charlotte, and calculated that voters 65 and older had 16 times the clout of Millennials. Why? Turnout matters.

Is end near for Independence Blvd. transit debate?

A years-long debate over where to locate the county’s still-unfunded southeast transit corridor – the Silver Line – may be ending this month. But one huge problem remains. 

Knight Foundation grant bolsters City Walks project

The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and its web publication have been awarded a $15,000 grant from the...

Expecting 400,000 new Charlotteans, CDOT projects $5B in transportation needs

By 2040 Charlotte will grow by 400,000 people, city transportation planners project. How can Charlotte handle all the new daily trips? A 25-year plan would spend $5 billion.