Policy Analysis

Panelists at the 2019 Schul Forum

Since its founding in 1969, the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute has been a resource for understanding important policy issues facing the greater Charlotte region and the Carolinas. Many of these issues are addressed regularly through articles and data stories that can be found on our website’s Issues and Data pages.

Through its research and policy teams, the institute also taps into the university’s rich intellectual resources to explore regional policy issues in more depth through focused research, analysis and engagement. In partnership with governmental, non-profit, philanthropic and grassroots leaders, the institute periodically lifts up key issues facing the Charlotte region for a closer look. The insitute also hosts periodic forums to explore policy issues in-depth, bringing together an array of local and national experts to share their knowledge.

Future Charlotte: The Podcast

How will we grow? How is our community changing? What challenges do we face, and how can we meet them? Future Charlotte examines these questions by talking to the decisionmakers, policy experts and community members guiding our growth and change. Each episode features one or more guests focused on a specific theme, and is approximately 30 minutes.

Future Charlotte is distributed on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts. You can also find all episodes on our site here.


In 2019, the institute launched the first annual Marianne M. and Norman W. Schul Forum Series to serve as an annual event focused on policy issues affecting the Charlotte region, convening local leaders, national experts and researchers from the institute and other parts of UNC Charlotte. The institute’s first director, Dr. Norm Schul, and his wife, Marianne ‘73, enabled the creation of the series with a generous endowment gift in 2018 to honor the institute’s 50th anniversary.

Housing First Charlotte-Mecklenburg

From 2015-2020, the institute helped implement and evaluate the success of Mecklenburg County’s new housing first program, with the goal of ending homelessness in our community.

Read the details and find the full report online.

The Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection

The Duke Endowment’s Rural Church program awarded the Urban Institute a two-year grant for a research and community engagement-based project intended to bring greater understanding to the economic and social interdependence that shaped regional growth in the central Carolinas over the past century, as well as the state of intraregional connections today.

The Racial Wealth Gap

In partnership with Bank of America, the institute produced a report and a seven-part web series on the racial wealth gap in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, as well as what factors have created and sustained this gap for so long.

Social Capital in Mecklenburg County

Social capital refers to refers to the material resources or non-material benefits arising from our social relationships and networks. In 2019, the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute partnered with Leading on Opportunity, Opportunity Insights, Foundation for the Carolinas, Communities in Schools, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, and SHARE Charlotte, with additional funding from The Gambrell Foundation, to conduct a new baseline measurement of social capital in Mecklenburg County.

Keeping Watch

Organized in 2013 by the UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture and UNC Charlotte Urban Institute with Lambla artWORKS, Keeping Watch was a multi-year initiative designed to foster collaboration across disciplines and interest groups to engage the public in local environmental issues.Through the work of artists, writers, environmental experts, and scientists, Keeping Watch connected community partners and projects to raise awareness and inspire action around four concerns: plastic waste and recycling (2014), water quality and urban streams (2015), air quality and tree canopy (2016), and wildlife habitat in the urban ecosystem (2017).

Visit KeepingWatch.org to learn more and see archived content.