Articles about Environment and Planning

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A bad year for butterflies
   October 11, 2021
Ruth Ann Grissom

As the goldenrod and blue mist flowers in my Charlotte garden began to fade in early October, so too did my hope for overcoming what appears to be a dismal year for butterflies across the Piedmont. 

My native plant garden is in an urban neighborhood. There probably isn’t enough intact habitat to attract or host anything rare, but I enjoy a nice diversity of common species throughout...

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Podcast: Celebrating good urban design in Charlotte
   September 27, 2021
Ely Portillo

When it comes to Charlotte's urban design, there's a perception that the city is dominated by apartments and bland, corporate towers. 

But a new award series is trying to prove that's not the whole story. The Charlotte Urban Design Awards (or Urbies) relaunched this year, co-hosted by the UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture and the city of Charlotte, with the goal of...

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Think Charlotte is bland? New awards celebrate good urban design
   September 27, 2021
Ely Portillo

When you think “Charlotte” and “urban design,” do you think “bland” or “exciting”?

A new awards series, the Charlotte Urban Design Awards, is meant to prompt you to think more of the latter and less of the former. While Charlotte might get an unfair rap as a city of bland office towers and five-story, stick-built apartments, the Urbies are highlighting some of the exciting design work...

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How to give migrating birds some help this year
   September 22, 2021

Emily Callicutt

As fall arrives, migratory songbirds have begun journeying south for the winter. These birds traveled north in the spring to nest and raise their young, and now they are beginning to travel south to take advantage of the warmer weather and increased access to food. Some familiar migratory birds include hummingbirds, goldfinches, and many species of warblers. In the piedmont of North Carolina,...

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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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