Three-day work weeks, vacant offices, shuttered storefronts. Is the upcoming Center City 2040 Vision Plan ready for that?

“The key to its success will be for residents and leaders to dare to dream big ,” Chris Beynon, Center City Vision Plan team leader, MIG consultants, Charlotte Business Journal, August 9, 2019. “We will see our major employers on a timeline to restore the use of office space. It depends on the workforce coming […]

Charlotteans got 46 hours back from traffic last year

It’s obvious that there were a lot fewer cars on the road last year, as we worked from home, kept kids out of school and stopped driving to sports games, concerts and dinners with friends. But you still might be surprised just how much time Charlotte drivers recovered from congestion: Nearly two full days. That’s […]

Post-coronavirus, everything will change in cities — or not

After COVID-19, cities will change forever. Here’s a sampling of predictions I’m seeing: People will avoid close physical encounters. Or maybe not. Maybe they’ll flock to crowded bars and restaurants after weeks of lockdown. Stores, bludgeoned by pandemic closings and high rents, will fail. So will smaller, non-chain restaurants. Cities will become blander and more […]

Three lessons our city should learn from COVID-19

The novel coronavirus is extracting a terrible toll from our society, replete with mind-boggling statistics: A death toll of more than 100,000, 40 million people unemployed, a 95% plunge in airline passengers and so many more. The losses are immense. Grief is immeasurable. It’s still unclear how far-reaching and deep the economic pain we’re facing […]

Adding open space: How other cities are opening streets to pedestrians during coronavirus

This story has been updated to reflect plans Charlotte released following its publication. Across the Charlotte region, parks have been full and streets largely empty for the past several weeks, as people try to get out of their houses for fresh air and exercise while staying home from work and school. Other cities have been […]

Can we build our way out of the housing affordability crisis?

There’s a growing consensus that if we want to get out of the housing affordability mess we’re in, we need to hear a lot more swinging hammers. While local governments, including in Charlotte, have raised more money to subsidize affordable apartments and low-income rent payments, the scale of the problem is daunting. Mecklenburg County is […]

Mapping out Charlotte’s future: Streets plan accounts for more than cars

Charlotte planners are trying to change the city’s decades-long focus on building streets solely for cars with an effort to map and plan for future bicycle lanes, expanded sidewalks and more accommodations for alternative ways of getting around like scooters. The first phase of that effort — mapping and planning for the streets along the […]

Rural by Choice: Navigating identity in the Uwharries

“A bus ticket and a bologna sandwich.” That’s a colloquial interpretation of the solution many economists suggest for addressing economic challenges in rural areas – move to a city where there’s more opportunity. While this school of thought acknowledges barriers that can make it difficult to relocate – education levels, job skills, housing costs – […]

Danny Alderman: Beyond the bedroom community

This story is one of seven vignettes in the series Rural by Choice: Navigating Identity in the Uwharries. Danny Alderman puts 1,200 to 1,400 miles on his truck each week. As the general superintendent of North Carolina projects for Branch Builds, he oversees about $250 million worth of work across the state, including schools in […]

Commuting and the Charlotte region’s economic connections

An array of environmental, cultural and economic connections together give rise to the interdependence of the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection study region. But none of these connections are more economically significant than the flow of workers within our regional economy. Counties within the region relied on out-of-county commuters for their workforces more in 2015 than at […]