Farms and sprawl: Conservationists worry they’re losing the battle

About 45 minutes from Charlotte in neighboring Cabarrus County, the owners of 1,000-acre Porter Farms raise chickens and pigs on part of their land. The chickens are sold to Tysons Foods, and the pigs become sausage, pork chops and spare ribs for Smithfield Foods. Another part of the property is a cattle farm, and since […]

Community foundations demonstrate the importance of regional links

Can philanthropy foster greater regional connection? Yes, according to our research for the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection project. But it’s not just the movement of money that matters, say local leaders: it’s the regional exchange of ideas about how to put that money to work that seems to make a difference. Community foundations, by definition, have […]

How can we reconnect North Carolinians to opportunities and good jobs?

To move up the ladder of opportunity, there’s generally consensus that people need jobs that pay a living wage, where they can grow their earnings over time. But what’s the best way to get workers, especially low-income workers with barriers such as low educational attainment, connected to those jobs? That’s the focus of the ReCONNECT […]

The Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection: Strengthening ties to revitalize communities

[Read the full report here] It was a cold January day in 2018 when eight researchers from UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute stepped out into the brisk air in Hamlet, a small town in Richmond County, N.C. A dusting of snow from a surprise storm the previous day still covered the railroad tracks adjacent to the […]

Trails, roads, rails and sky: The changing physical connections that knit our region together

A growing web of infrastructure and physical connections – both within the wider region and between the region and the outside world – has had a profound effect on where growth went, and where it stayed away from. People and industries in the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection study area followed trading paths, railroads, highways and, now, air service.

Population in the 32 counties in 2018.

Population growth in the 32-county study area starting in 1850

Clayton Hanson & Laura Simmons | Aug 26, 2019 Click anywhere on the map below to pause and play. Each dot represents 500 people. The dots are distributed randomly within each county and are not intended to correspond to specific places, but instead to give a general sense of the number of people residing in […]

The Urban Institute Research Faculty Fellows seek to better our region

A new program designed to identify solutions for some of the pressing needs and issues facing the greater Charlotte region is getting underway this fall at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. For the first time, the Institute has named a cohort of Faculty Fellows to conduct research projects and work alongside local stakeholders to understand […]

Our living patterns, not I-77 asphalt, hold key to solving congestion

[highlightrule] “ ‘Status quo,’ you know, is Latin for the mess we’re in.” — President Ronald Reagan [/highlightrule] The tension and rhetoric about whether to build toll lanes on Interstate 77 is something I’m watching with dispassionate interest. I’m familiar with North Mecklenburg after work there some years ago, but my professional stake in the […]