Book Review

How zoning reveals our deeper cultural values

The average American city zoning ordinance could win a contest for most boring book, and a book about zoning might normally be a close second. However, Sonia Hirt’s closely reasoned new book, Zoned in the USA, makes a seemingly dull subject resonate beyond a professional audience. Hirt, a professor and associate dean in the College […]

Book from UNC Charlotte researchers studies resegregation

A new book from UNC Charlotte educators and researchers examines the desegregation and resegregation of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools over the past 40 years, putting education reform in a political and economic context. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: School Desegregation and Resegregation in Charlotte, is edited by Roslyn Arlin Mickelson, a UNC Charlotte professor; Stephen Samuel Smith, a […]

The forest unseen

Is it possible “to see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wildflower” as poet William Blake suggested? According to biologist David George Haskell, this “search for the universal within the infinitesimally small” runs through many cultures. Tibetan monks create mandalas, paintings of sand that represent the entire universe within […]

A rich spot of earth

One could argue the local foods movement in America has its roots in the red clay of the Piedmont, on a hilltop not unlike the Uwharries near Charlottesville, Va. Nearly two centuries before Alice Waters opened her landmark restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., Thomas Jefferson understood the allure of applying French culinary techniques to […]

Is there a ‘right’ density? One expert says no

Julie Campoli’s new paperback, Made for Walking: Density and Neighborhood Form, is a must read for anyone in and around Charlotte who wants to know what it takes to make good neighborhoods into great ones. The book follows Campoli’s earlier Visualizing Density with photographer Alex S. MacLean; both were published by the Lincoln Institute of […]

Armchair birding

Birds flock to Mama’s feeders this time of year. She has several seed and suet feeders hanging from the maple outside her living room window. At times, upwards of a hundred birds – maybe a dozen species – joust for perches, flit among the branches, scoot up and down and around the trunk, and scratch […]

He stood up for that mountain

The Handy Sanitary District offered its plan to bring wastewater treatment service to the Badin Lake area more than a decade ago. Given concerns about leaking septic tanks, few disputed the need, but when people learned the proposal included a discharge into the Uwharrie River, the community rallied to oppose it. Scores attended community meetings, […]

Seeing American history through its trees

Tea has been synonymous with political protest ever since colonists dumped shiploads of the stuff into Boston Harbor in a 1773 act of rebellion against the Crown. In historian Eric Rutkow’s recent book, American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation, he notes that trees were an equally potent symbol of liberty in […]

The Founding Gardeners

In 1786, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were in London to negotiate a trade deal and follow up on unfulfilled terms of the peace treaty reached at the end of the Revolutionary War. When talks bogged down, they took a break to visit the English countryside. Despite their animosity toward their former enemy, they were […]

Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont

As a guide to the literary trivia of the Piedmont, Georgann Eubanks’ new book, Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont (UNC Press), is a gem. The book will be treasured by those who love literature and the rich tradition of homegrown and imported talent that has not only celebrated this region in words, but […]