Articles about Environment and Planning

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Why uptown and University City want to grow more like each other
   June 14, 2022
Ely Portillo

As COVID-19 fades from the front pages but normalcy still hovers out of reach, Charlotte’s two biggest employment centers want to resemble each other a bit more in the decades to come.

On the surface, University City (a sprawling, suburban landscape dominated by cul-de-sacs, strip shopping centers, the university campus and office parks) doesn’t seem to have much in common with...

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Bark-devouring beetles are killing Charlotte's greenway ash trees
   June 13, 2022

Amber Veverka

This story originally appeared in the Charlotte Ledger business newsletter, and is reproduced here with permission. 

The start of summer beckons in the region’s extensive greenways, but Mecklenburg County’s publicly owned green spaces are under attack from a half-inch-long insect that’s turning whole areas of our urban forest...

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Ghost Tales of the Uwharries
   May 25, 2022
Ruth Ann Grissom

It was a warm, late-April evening in the Uwharries. Conditions seemed auspicious. The skies were clear, and the wind was calm. The moon wouldn’t rise until the wee hours. At dusk, my husband and I threw some camp chairs and a cooler into the bed of the truck. We drove halfway up the mountain near the house, navigating by our parking lights. The tree canopy enclosed the narrow, abandoned road....

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Charlotte considers changes to tree, height, parking rules
   May 25, 2022
Ely Portillo

At a work session about the city’s new unified development ordinance this week, Charlotte City Council members repeated several phrases so often they sounded like mantras: Middle ground, finding a balance, and trade-offs.

The ongoing work illustrates the balancing – and sometimes the tension – inherent in translating a high-level document like the Charlotte 2040 Vision Plan approved...

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Car-free Life for a Family of Four in Delft, Netherlands
   May 18, 2022
Martin Zimmerman

Charlotte-based architect and urban planner Martin Zimmerman talks with Melissa and Chris Bruntlett about their latest book and their family’s first few years living and navigating Delft, a 1,200 year-old city in the Netherlands, mostly by bike, at speeds rarely exceeding ten miles per hour. 

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Listen: What's next for Charlotte transit?
   May 18, 2022
Ely Portillo

When WFAE, The Charlotte Ledger and the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute launched a joint newsletter last year to cover transit and transportation, we assumed that the main focus would be the 1-cent transit sales tax vote.

Well, that vote didn't happen and the transit plan is in a bit of limbo, but we've still found plenty to write about, from...

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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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Outlaws and Bounties: Bradford pear edition
   March 25, 2022
Ruth Ann Grissom

Bradford pears are a problem. For years, I didn’t want to admit it. I’d drive the highways of the Piedmont and the backroads of the Uwharries in early spring, noting the occasional white-blooming tree at the edge of the woods and trying to convince myself they weren’t as invasive as privet. And then came the fateful day I spotted an eye-popping thicket on a tract of fallow land along Highway...

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Curating the future in Charlotte
   February 7, 2022
Ely Portillo

What if the future is not just a continuation of present trends, but looks radically different? That's the vision of Curators, a collective of young, multinational designers who hope to develop new, innovative and sustainable ways of life in Charlotte.

Join us as we talk about two pilot ideas they want to see happen in Charlotte: Controlled indoor farming powered by solar panel glass...

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More drive-thrus near the light rail? City decisions worry advocates
   January 19, 2022
Ely Portillo

Charlotte City Council on Tuesday approved two auto-centric developments in transit-oriented zones along the Blue Line light rail, a move some advocates fear will set a bad precedent as the city tries to move away from its dominant car culture. 

The developments — a Fifth Third Bank on Woodlawn Road with a drive-thru and a Chick-fil-A on South Boulevard near Interstate 485 — both won...

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