Articles about Environment and Planning

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Mapping Charlotte's future: What are place types?
   August 30, 2021
Ely Portillo

There are, broadly, two big worlds that overlap in the planning and development realm: The dirty, hands-on physical world of building and construction, and the wonky, alphabet-soup-of-jargon world of zoning, regulation and land use policy. 

Right now, Charlotte's in the heat of the wonky phase. Although it's drawn far less attention than the contentious debate over the 2040 plan, the...

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Searching for the crested coralroot
   August 13, 2021
Ruth Ann Grissom

Less than 70 miles. That’s the distance between my home in Charlotte and our place in the Uwharries. Sometimes the two feel worlds apart. Blue city, red county. Skyscrapers, silos. Congested streets, open roads. High-rise condos, low-slung ranch houses. It sometimes seems they have nothing in common. And then a rare occurrence reminds us just how much we share. 

On the first Uwharrie...

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Building Charlotte's future (literally) with the construction industry
   July 26, 2021
Ely Portillo

Charlotte's growth rests, in the end, on the people who actually build our city: The construction industry. 

In this episode of the "Future Charlotte" podcast, general contractor Myers & Chapman CEO Marcus Rabun talks about the near-term challenges facing the industry such as covid-19, material and labor shortages. Rabun also discusses what might be an even bigger challenge to the...

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What's the future of Charlotte's tree canopy?
   July 15, 2021
Ely Portillo

Charlotte is known for its tree canopy, and if you've ever flown in here or driven on streets lined with towering oaks, you know why. 

But that canopy is under threat, shrinking by the equivalent of three football fields a day as development spreads and iconic trees planted decades ago age and die. And the trees we do have aren't equitably distributed, with many historically Black and...

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Mapping displacement risk in Charlotte
   July 14, 2021

Providence Adu

As Charlotte grows rapidly, concerns about gentrification and displacement have become key issues for city government to address. Tracking gentrification and displacement can be challenging, as this process of neighborhood change is slow and takes many forms across space and time. However, when analyzed with viable data sources, areas that are potentially vulnerable to gentrification and...

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Charlotte’s transit future comes into focus, but big questions remain
   June 29, 2021
Ely Portillo

After the City Council narrowly approved the 2040 plan, Charlotte leaders are turning from questions of how we grow to another key part of the city’s future: how we move around. 

Ambitious transit plans that call for a new sales tax funding the Silver Line east-west light rail, the stalled Red Line to...

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Charlotte's back to work conundrum: where to park, and how to grow?
   June 24, 2021
Ely Portillo

This story is part of Transit Time, a joint production of The Charlotte Ledger, UNC Charlotte's Urban Institute, and WFAE. Learn more here, and subscribe to get weekly updates on how the Charlotte region moves. 

With smaller employers returning to the office and the big banks bringing...

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Saving pollinators: The Great American Bee Count
   June 21, 2021
Ruth Ann Grissom

The plight of honeybees has been well documented in recent years – their steep decline due to habitat loss, pesticide use, and disease. The crisis has inspired many people to take up beekeeping in an effort to help stabilize bee populations. Even though honeybees aren’t native to the Americas – they arrived with European colonists in the 1600s – we have come...

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Three key terms to understand in the 2040 plan
   June 9, 2021
Ely Portillo

For something that’s supposed to be a big-picture, high-level peek at the future, the Charlotte 2040 vision plan has gotten bogged down in the details since its debut last fall. 

After months of tense City Council meetings, contested straw votes, community and industry groups pushing for and against the plan, and...

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Charlotte’s nowhere near the finish line for its development rules rewrite
   May 12, 2021
Ely Portillo

With straw votes on the controversial elements and the final adoption of Charlotte’s new vision plan looming in the next month, there’s a sense that the city’s reaching a finale in the years-long process of rewriting its development rules.

But adopting the vision plan might end up – surprisingly – being one of the easier parts of the whole process. That’s because after Charlotte City...

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