Urban Growth

A Road Running Southward

Before John Muir became known for his ramblings in Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada, he trekked through the South from Kentucky to Florida. In 1867, at the age of 28, Muir suffered a workplace accident he feared would leave him permanently blind. Within a few months, he had fully recovered, but his experience prompted him […]

Register now: Housing and economic mobility panel April 20

Where you can afford to live influences much of the rest of your life: Access to schools, medical care, fresh groceries, air pollution levels and, ultimately, your chance to get ahead and climb the ladder of economic mobility. The Charlotte region continues to grapple with rising housing costs that contribute to segregation and inequality. That’s […]

Residents wait to see if they can stay in fast-changing South End

Debbie Williams grew up in Charlotte’s Brookhill Village, a neighborhood of one-story duplex and triplex apartments built for black families in the 1950s. She has watched while its owners let the buildings deteriorate as luxury apartments began rising nearby. Two decades ago, she moved away. But her mother and sister remained in the low-rent housing […]

Does regionalism still make sense in the era of the ‘Nation City’?

This is the first in a series of articles that will periodically explore regionalism, interconnectedness and other issues examined in the institute’s Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection report, published in fall 2019. We are living in the age of the “metropolitan revolution” in the U.S.: the city as the crucible of change in the wake of waning […]

Putting a ‘there’ there: Placemaking aims to boost overlooked areas

A vacant park in a bustling downtown. A waterside bandshell and lawn that sit empty most days of the year. A busy intersection thousands of people drive through every day without a pause. In a fast-growing city that lacks parks and other public gathering spaces, planners are looking at ways to make these places into […]

Charlotte just wrapped up its busiest decade ever for uptown development

The 2010s in uptown Charlotte were a decade with a split personality, starting with an epic crash and swinging to a huge boom that transformed the skyline and left an enormous mark on the city. At the start of the decade, rusting rebar poked up from the EpiCentre, a reminder of a condo project that […]

‘Raise our expectations:’ Four takeaways from Charlotte City Council’s retreat

Charlotte faces a wide range of needs, from affordable housing to more police, bigger parks and better transit, but they all share a similar root cause: growth. That was one of the main themes at City Council’s annual planning retreat, held this week over four days in Durham at the Washington Duke Inn. There was […]

Nonprofit charts a new course for troubled South End development

A new, mixed-income housing development is set to take the place of a long-troubled, low-income housing complex in South End. Brookhill Village is a paradox: An oasis of affordability in the midst of a booming and fast-gentrifying part of the city, but full of run-down units, many of them boarded up and visibly decaying from […]

Single-family construction once dominated Mecklenburg, but that’s changed

At 500 West Trade Street in uptown Charlotte, another luxury apartment building is under construction. The 350-unit complex, developed by Northwood Ravin, sits on the site of the now demolished James K. Polk building. The Polk building was built by C.C. Coddington in 1925 to serve as a Buick dealership, and for a time housed […]

The 10 Days of Uwharrie outdoor festival in October 2019 included canoe rides on Badin Lake. Overhead power lines are from Badin's hydroelectric dam. Photo: Nancy Pierce.

Part 5: Big Data, Big Goals as the Urban Institute turns 50

The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute is marking its 50th anniversary in 2019-20 with a five-part series recalling its history. Sources for these stories include interviews, newspaper articles, university documents and two books – Charlotte and UNC Charlotte: Growing Up Together by Ken Sanford and Dean W. Colvard: Quiet Leader, by Marion A. Ellis. In 2018, […]