Articles

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Four things I wish I’d known about Charlotte transit before I started writing about it
   August 17, 2022
Ely Portillo

Charlotte’s path forward on transit is murky. It’s unclear when or if we’ll have a vote on a new, one-cent sales tax. No one knows how to revive the stalled Red Line commuter rail. And with driver shortages and service cuts, bus ridership is in free-fall.

As we talk about how to move ahead, it’s more important than ever to have a common baseline and understanding of transit in...

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New Gambrell Faculty Fellows cohort will focus on different aspects of equity
   August 17, 2022
Ely Portillo

As the Charlotte region reckons with both the immediate aftermath of COVID-19 and longstanding challenges such as segregation and educational inequities, the Gambrell Faculty Fellows program has named a new cohort of scholars to help illuminate the way to a more equitable community. 

The fourth...

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What Charlotte can learn from other cities about taxing transit
   August 12, 2022

Steve Harrison, WFAE

Earlier this summer, the transit system that serves Columbus, Ohio, made a big announcement: It wouldn’t be seeking voter approval for a half-cent sales tax for transit.

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What's the future of hip-hop architecture in Charlotte?
   August 11, 2022
Ely Portillo

Charlotte’s seen rapid growth over the past several decades, but many say that boom has come at the cost of inclusivity and, perhaps, even a bit of the city’s soul. With the loss of many historic buildings and without much of an identifiable design vernacular — aside, perhaps, from the profusion of five-story apartment buildings — Charlotte’s even been accused of looking and feeling bland....

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Survey sheds light on the future of Charlotte’s creative community
   August 10, 2022
Ely Portillo

When it comes to the creative scene, Charlotte isn’t often mentioned in the same breath with peer cities like Austin or Nashville. After all, the city’s unofficial tagline is “Banktown,” not something like “Music City” or “Keep Austin Weird.”

But Charlotte has a thriving creative...

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Race, segregation and profit in the American housing market
   August 10, 2022
Aaron Houck

Nearly 60 years after the major legislative victories of the Civil Rights Movement, two troubling patterns persist–one economic, one geographic. First, Black Americans possess significantly lower levels of wealth than White Americans. Second, residential neighborhoods across the country remain highly segregated by race. 

These patterns and their connections to each other are largely...

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Milkweed for monarchs? The answer isn’t so simple
   August 10, 2022
Ruth Ann Grissom

The message seems to be getting out — monarchs need milkweed. The charismatic orange and black butterflies seek nectar on a wide variety of flowers, but their caterpillars feed on no other plant. And that appears to be where the clarity ends. Even after planting and managing for several of the 16 milkweed species native to North Carolina, I was still perplexed by the monarch’s preferences and...

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Why not 1 billion Americans — or 3 million Charlotteans?
   August 1, 2022
Aaron Houck

Quick–wherever you are, look at the people around you, or remember the last time you were in a group. Now imagine the group tripling in size. That’s the America Matthew Yglesias desires. In his book One Billion Americans, Yglesias argues that the U.S., with its 330 million people, is “empty,” with depressing future consequences for the nation and the world. His thesis: the U.S. should...

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Who you befriend affects your economic mobility
   August 1, 2022
Ely Portillo

When it comes to economic mobility – low-income children’s ability to rise from poverty – we’ve known for a while that where you live influences your chances of success. Now, a new study suggests it’s not just where you live, but who you know that can tip the odds.

A vast new project...

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Data show Charlotte remains dangerous for pedestrians
   July 19, 2022
Ely Portillo

Here’s another paradox from the COVID-19 pandemic: People drove less, but the streets got more deadly.

That’s especially true for pedestrians, a new report from Smart Growth America shows. “Dangerous by Design,” the group’s annual report highlighting pedestrian fatalities, shows that over 6,500 people were hit and killed while walking in 2020 – a 4.5% increase over 2019.

And...

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