Boosters: Downtrodden downtowns can thrive

Around the Charlotte region, many downtowns share similar histories: A long-ago heyday followed by decay as dollars and foot traffic flowed to suburban malls and interstate eateries. A growing list of those places, however, are fighting back, seeking to revive their economies and preserve their histories by joining North Carolina’s Main Street and Small Town […]

Affordable housing policy: voluntary or mandatory?

A voluntary inclusionary housing program, such as the one the City of Charlotte is considering, aims to stimulate development of geographically dispersed mixed-income housing by encouraging developers to include a small percentage of housing for low-income households amid market-rate housing in new developments. Some cities, such as Davidson and Chapel Hill, make this type of […]

Cheap land? Low prices frustrate cash-strapped preservationists

Land conservationists in the Charlotte region face a vexing dilemma. The recession has preserved some tantalizing property that until recently was destined for development. But public and private organizations have precious little money to buy or otherwise protect the parcels they covet. Although conservationists expect the pace of growth eventually will pick up again, the […]

When wetlands aren’t so wet anymore

What happens when you save a wetland, but not the wet? On a winter’s walk last year through Flat Branch Nature Preserve, Chris Matthews, the county park department natural resources manager, saw the answer. The preserve, at Mecklenburg County’s southernmost tip, should have been dappled with pools, spongy with moisture. The water edges should have […]

Revolutionary thinking for Red Line rail

MOORESVILLE – “Revolutionary” is not too strong a word for plans laid out Tuesday to a room full of government officials, consultants and interested laypeople. At a public workshop in Mooresville, some 150 people heard a lengthy and detailed proposal for reviving a planned but still unbuilt commuter rail line to Iredell County. Simply the […]

Snapshots of a resilient America

Amid the pervasive gloom and depression about the future of American cities I was lucky enough to visit recently two very different American places that hold out some hopes for a sustainable future here in the USA. On the face of it, Champaign-Urbana, Ill., and Boston, Mass., could not be more different: one a large […]

2010 Census Results: Population distribution and change in North Carolina

A summary presentation of population trends related to North Carolina. Based on Census 2010 preliminary (redistricting) data released in the spring of 2011. To see a PDF of the presentation: Download PDF Read the related article on this site.

Census 2010: South Carolina Counties in the Charlotte Region

The recently released South Carolina data from US Census 2010 now allow for a more complete picture of growth in the Charlotte Region in the last decade. The South Carolina counties of Chester, Lancaster and York form the southern flank of the 14-county Charlotte Region. The census data show York County was the second-fastest growing […]

Alcoa and the Yadkin River: What’s next?

Last week, the Appellate Court for the District of Columbia ruled against Alcoa’s petition requesting that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) proceed with issuing the company a new license to continue operating its dams along the Yadkin River. This ruling was not the final determination concerning who will own and operate Alcoa’s dams and […]

New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – A Review

Despite early February blizzards across the northern U.S. that cancelled flights and upended travel plans, over 1,300 people came to Charlotte last week for the 10th annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference. About 1,000 of them came from outside the Carolinas, including a dozen or so from outside the U.S. They flocked to the […]