Book Review

Are America’s Neighborhoods Frozen?

‘Tis the season for holiday movies. We can choose a variety of films–comedies, dramas, even horror–but regardless of whether we’re watching an old classic or a new release, Hollywood tends to stick to a standard script when it comes to depicting the ideal home. Almost always, the characters live in (or aspire to live in) […]

Affordable City: Strategies for Putting Housing Within Reach (and Keeping It There)

In September 2022, the median home sales price in the Charlotte region was $380,000, according to the Canopy Realtor Association. And a search on for Charlotte rentals listed for $1,000 or less per month resulted in only 46 properties of 1,769 total (or 2.6%). Our region has a growing housing affordability problem. Unfortunately, the […]

Can a street help heal America’s fractures?

I’ll never again look at a city’s Main Street the same way. In Mindy Thompson Fullilove’s newest book, Main Street: How a City’s Heart Connects Us All, she does something relatively rare for books about urban issues. Some focus on cities’ physical attributes, such as low-density single-family sprawl, building design, street grids, auto-dominated transportation, and […]

What made our city so divided? This book traces the roots

The new release of a classic book about how Charlotte became so divided sheds light on the city’s enduring inequalities, and why those disparities are far from accidental. Whether you have more time on your hands without a daily commute or you’re looking for something to read that’s not about the novel coronavirus, UNC Press’s […]

Book review: Can we fix our struggling bus systems?

There’s been a lot of discussion lately within transit planning circles about how to attract customers to ailing regional bus networks that connect core cities, nearby towns, and far-flung suburbs — including the Charlotte Area Transit System. A handful of bus systems have actually grown, such as Austin, Houston and especially Seattle. But overall, the […]

Why do old places matter? A Mecklenburg native explores the question.

Reading the essays in Tom Mayes’ book, Why Old Places Matter: How Historic Places Affect Our Identity and Well-Being, one comes away with the sense that he’s not only seeking to understand the innate pull of old places that compels us to protect our historic fabric, but also appealing to a new generation of preservationists […]

Review: In ‘A Delicious Country,’ an author rediscovers the Carolinas

Author Scott Huler will be interviewed on the “Charlotte Readers” live podcast at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 27, at the Charlotte Museum of History. The event is free and open to the public. More information is available here. Earlier that day, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., the museum will host a free symposium showcasing research by museum […]

Storm clouds over Charlotte? A Richard Florida page-turner

When Charlotte jumped on the “creative class” bandwagon 15 years ago, I scoffed and muttered to a few colleagues that you could walk down any street within five blocks of Harvard or MIT and spot more dot-coms, book stores and other creative venues than in the entire city of Charlotte. A lot has changed for […]

Transforming the city’s streets … for everyone

Is Jim Garges, Mecklenburg County’s normally ebullient director of parks and recreation, fretting right now? He might be, and for much the same reasons that Janette Sadik-Khan worried eight years ago as commissioner of the massive New York City Department of Transportation. For Sadik-Khan, the summer of 2008 was when her staff decided to gamble. […]

No flood in your city? Lessons from New Orleans still apply

When New Orleans flooded 10 years ago last month, it looked to many people in America as though the city could never recover. Today, when the word “resilience” dots virtually every scrap of writing on urban policy around the globe, New Orleans provides iconographic proof that a city is, in fact, a hard thing to […]