Articles

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Charlotte's big goal: Take half of all trips in something besides a car
   May 10, 2022
Ely Portillo

Charlotte transportation leaders laid out an ambitious goal this week: By 2040, half of all trips in the city should be taken in something besides a car.

That would be a major shift. Right now, somewhere around three-quarters of trips within the city are currently made using single-occupant vehicles, transportation staff said at the City Council transportation committee meeting.

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Investors buying up the American dream
   May 5, 2022
Ely Portillo

Corporate landlords like American Homes 4 Rent and Invitation Homes now own 40,000 single-family homes across North Carolina. In Mecklenburg County, they now account for one in four rental properties. 

That's according to a new, months-long investigation by the Charlotte Observer and the Raleigh News & Observer. The series, "Security for Sale," details how  Wall Street-backed...

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Charlotte's transit riders are returning — slowly
   May 5, 2022

Steve Harrison, WFAE

March 2022 is arguably when Charlotte and the country turned the corner on the pandemic.

With Omicron waning, Charlotte’s major banks brought back their employees, at least on a hybrid schedule. Bank of America returned vaccinated workers on March 1. Wells Fargo came back two weeks later.

March is a good baseline for what a post-pandemic transit system may look like, in a time...

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Using integrated data to center racial equity in local violence prevention work
   May 4, 2022
Sydney Idzikowski

Violence impacts all of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, but the toll doesn’t fall equally across members of our community. There are pronounced disparities along racial lines. A new, data-focused learning community will help local leaders across sectors find collaborative solutions to prevent and address violence in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. 

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Robots delivering coffee, drones with pills, self-driving shuttles: Is the future here yet?
   April 28, 2022
Ely Portillo

The future of transportation has arrived in Charlotte — but the future comes with a few asterisks. 

This year has already seen a slew of announcements about futuristic transportation options in the Charlotte region (to say nothing of a new robot security guard uptown and...

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Color and peace with spring wildflowers and migrants
   April 22, 2022
Ruth Ann Grissom

Maybe it’s because I’ve spent the past two years obsessing over the squiggly lines charting COVID's peaks and troughs. I began to imagine the shape a graph might take if I plotted the occurrence of spring wildflowers and neotropical migrants.

I envision the wildflower display as two gentle but significant peaks – one in mid-March and the other in mid-April. Migrating  birds increase at...

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Listen: John Holmes dives into urbanism after Chick-fil-A firing
   April 19, 2022
Ely Portillo

John Holmes III was a budding urbanist in Charlotte, reading books like "Street Fight" and wondering why we built our cities to drive everywhere. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran working at Chick-fil-A, Holmes was trying to reconcile his workplace's busy drive-thru with his own ideas about building better cities. When he posted his opinion online about a new drive-thru-only Chick-fil-A, he quickly...

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Mapping unequal health care access in Charlotte
   April 18, 2022

Mary Louise Orr Wilson, Malia Suhren, Margaret Phipps

Your access to medicine, lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines and other pharmacy services might depend on what part of town you live in. 

The Urban Institute recently updated the Quality of Life Explorer data maps to include several new metrics, one of which is particularly relevant as we enter year three of the global pandemic. “Proximity to a pharmacy,” ...

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Comprehending Charlotte symposium explores growth and consequences
   April 14, 2022

What: Comprehending Charlotte symposium

Historians, environmental scientists, urban designers, and planners will discuss implications of urban growth and potential futures at a symposium co-sponsored by the College of Arts + Architecture's City Building Lab, the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, the Capitalism Studies program, and the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies. 

Guest...

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Local leaders are worried about corporate landlords, but find their ‘hands tied’
   April 13, 2022
Ely Portillo

Wall Street-backed companies are buying thousands of single-family homes and turning them into rentals across the Charlotte region. Local officials are worried about the effects on affordability, home ownership and equity — but there isn’t much they can do to directly stop the trend. 

That’s what Mecklenburg County commissioners heard this week from county staff and a panel of local...

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