Eye-catching purple gallinule rare in N.C.
   January 25, 2012
Crystal Cockman
A guess-this-bird photo contest last week on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Facebook page was just a glimpse of a really spectacular bird – one with shiny purple and green iridescent feathers, long bright yellow feet and toes and a white tail. I wasn’t familiar with it but was instantly intrigued. Despite the photo showing only the back side and legs, many other people  quickly identified... Read more

When cities, counties merge: Lessons for Charlotte?
   January 19, 2012

When it comes to city-county consolidation, citizens should know that nothing is guaranteed. And some of the commonly held beliefs about consolidation may not, in fact, be accurate. One prime example: Despite fears in Mecklenburg's towns, in many recent city-county consolidations the smaller municipalities in a county weren't part of the merged body. Read more

Save local forests: Use local firewood
   January 18, 2012
Ruth Ann Grissom
Cutting your own firewood not only can help with the heating bill; it can stop the spread of invasive insects that travel long distances on firewood shipped in from other states. Read more

Carolina Thread Trail takes steps toward reality
   January 11, 2012

Imagine being able to hop on your bicycle in Huntersville and pedal on greenways and trails to your job near UNC Charlotte. The Carolina Thread Trail promises to make  options like that a reality all over the Charlotte region. Try out our new, online map to help you find trails that are open and ready for you to explore. Read more

One-of-a-kind longleaf pine forest now protected
   January 9, 2012
Crystal Cockman
A newly preserved tract of longleaf pine is a stand of old-growth trees, some near 200 years old. Longleaf pine forests are a unique ecosystem with a whole suite of endemic species that call them home. ... Read more

Survey finds uptick in business optimism
   January 5, 2012

The first quarter 2012 Charlotte Business Confidence Index report, released Jan. 3, shows Mecklenburg County business leaders' optimism about economic prospects in the first quarter improved compared to their expectations for the fourth quarter 2011. The overall index value of 54.6, an increase of 8.3 points compared to the fourth quarter, returned to a positive outlook on business... Read more

Looking back, looking forward
   December 19, 2011
Jeff Michael
This has been a year of change and growth for the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute.  As I look back on the year’s highlights – and look forward to a new project we’ll debut early in 2012 – I’m reminded of the role the institute has played since 1969 in the greater Charlotte region. Read more

Revolutionary thinking for Red Line rail
   December 14, 2011
Mary Newsom
"Revolutionary" is not too strong a word for plans laid out Tuesday in Mooresville at a public workshop where 150 people heard a lengthy proposal to fund an unbuilt commuter rail line to Iredell County. Simply the fact discussions are taking place is of some importance. But the plan's details illustrate two big departures from business as usual in the Charlotte region. Read more

Charlotte neighborhoods and the Great Recession
   December 13, 2011

Elizabeth Delmelle & Sara Gleave
How did the quality of life in Charlotte neighborhoods change from 2000 to 2010? Researchers believe the economic recession may have played a large part in some of these changes. Not surprisingly, impacts from the recession appear to be felt more strongly in neighborhoods that started with lower quality-of-life scores. Read more

Survey finds preventive care, dropouts among top concerns
   December 7, 2011

What are the greatest needs facing our community?  United Way of Central Carolinas posed this question to Mecklenburg County residents via the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute’s Annual Survey last spring. The survey found the greatest perceived community health need is preventive care, the greatest perceived need for children and youth is dropout prevention, and the greatest perceived... Read more