Growing up together: Charlotte, the Urban Institute and a time for change

After 18 years as director of UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute, it’s time to move on. And it’s only appropriate that the same field that first introduced me to the institute’s work is now leading me away to a new chapter, serving as North Carolinas’ Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources. My introduction to the institute came […]

Growing congestion, empty tracks: Why there’s still no Red Line to North Meck

A set of almost deserted railroad tracks runs from uptown Charlotte through Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson. In fast-growing, highly congested north Mecklenburg, people see those tracks and ask: Why not use them for mass transit? For more than 20 years, that’s what the county’s transit plan has proposed: Use the tracks for a commuter rail […]

The city wakes up to its future

Sometimes I feel as if I’m watching a play. It’s one I’ve seen before – performed many times in different venues. It’s called “The City Wakes Up To Its Future.” We have now reached the penultimate act. I’m referring, of course, to the recent cyclone of activity that’s swirling around Charlotte’s proposed 2040 Comprehensive Plan […]

Mobilizing for climate change: Evaluating the Strategic Energy Action Plan, two years in

Contributing writer Martin Zimmerman interviews Sarah Hazel, recently appointed as Chief Sustainability & Resiliency Officer for the city of Charlotte. Sarah Hazel comes to the Strategic Energy Action Plan team from a six-year tenure on the city manager’s staff, where she worked on a wide range of initiatives including SEAP program development. She now manages […]

The past and future of the Charlotte ‘fourplex’

Down the middle of Hawthorne Lane at the corner of East 8th Street, the dust is just settling on the new LYX Gold Line Extension tracks. When the line opens later this year, it will be the first time a streetcar has rumbled down this block since 1938. Still, the legacy of that old streetcar […]

Who’s paying attention to the planning conversation in Charlotte?

Charlotte City Council members confronted an uncomfortable question Monday: How can you get people in the general public to pay attention to technical, somewhat boring, but extremely important matters like the city’s new development rules – before a major controversy erupts? Planning staff are nearing the finish line for Charlotte’s 2040 vision plan, which will […]

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 […]

Exploring the racial wealth gap and housing

Charlotte’s notorious “50-out-of-50” ranking for economic mobility has many roots, ranging from systemic discrimination to gaps in education, health and jobs training. But one of the most consequential factors for intergenerational economic mobility is likely wealth, and the simple fact is that some families have much more than others. A key component of wealth is […]

Five key findings about the impact of COVID-19 on local renters and prioritizing rental assistance

COVID-19 has had an immediate and potentially lasting impact on the housing stability of low-income renters in Charlotte and the nation. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced a federal eviction moratorium through the end of 2020, missed rent is not being forgiven. Renters need assistance to avoid often insurmountable back rents […]

Mapping Charlotte’s lost buildings: Demolitions on the rise again

Categories: Maps Tags: Government, PLANNING, Property Values

Charlotte’s aging buildings are being torn down at an alarming rate, the product of a fast-growing population and strong real estate market. Some were fine examples of classic architecture, like the long since demolished Masonic Temple on South Tryon, an Egyptian Revival-style building from 1914, or Mecklenburg County’s first main library, built in 1903 with […]