Urban Growth

Mecklenburg parks could get a big spending boost

Mecklenburg County is poised to substantially increase funding for its park system, after years of stagnating budgets and staff cuts following the 2008 recession. County manager Dena Diorio’s proposed budget, released last week, includes a nearly $13 million boost to the Park and Recreation Department. That increase – almost one-third higher than current spending – […]

At 80, biologist Matthews still stalks the threatened landscapes

Jim Matthews walks through the damp woods, and as he does, he pays no attention to the branches dripping with last night’s rain, the mucky path or the scolding of jays overhead. Those things don’t matter to Matthews. Not when he’s trying to explain the sex life of ferns. “This is the sterile leaf and […]

Geographer Stuart helped put ‘region’ in Charlotte regionalism

Those of us who knew Al Stuart are saddened by his passing on Nov. 1. Dr. Alfred Stuart, professor emeritus of geography and earth sciences, had a long and distinguished career at UNC Charlotte. I had the good fortune to work with him for more than 40 years, and I believe we should take a […]

Celebrating five years in the digital world

Consider it a victory for the digital natives. When the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute was first considering creating a public policy journal focusing on the Charlotte region, our thinking was old school: Recruit talent from across the institute, university and region, and provide a quarterly print journal for them to share expertise and insights with […]

Charlotte’s I-485 lures growth, and with growth comes traffic

With the final leg of I-485 opening in June, motorists cheered the new, unclogged lanes. But if the past is prologue, eventually new development nearby will bring congestion. Across the United States, it’s always the same story with the same ending: a loop highway is built around a growing city. It provides traffic relief for […]

What they said about Charlotte’s outerbelt

[highlight]Charlotte leaders have been talking about the outerbelt, Interstate 485, for decades. While most residents were concerned primarily with what it would mean for drive times, planners and others spent time contemplating the highway’s effect on the area’s growth. A sampling of comments over the years.[/highlight] “We’re going to have to get far more serious […]

The bounce is back for Charlotte-area suburban growth

Since the recession ended, there has been a lot of discussion among demographers, pundits and others about Americans moving back to cities. For the first time in years, migration patterns were showing cities growing faster than suburbs. Research was starting to suggest that not all Americans are dreaming of a big house, lawn and an […]

Moving to Charlotte? You’re not alone

People move to Charlotte from all over the United States (and around the world). This trend has continued for several decades and shows no sign of slowing. What has been changing is where those people are moving from. And, believe it or not, Mecklenburg County loses more people to some locations than it gains. Recently […]

Some suburbs facing the dilemma of high growth vs. low taxes

In cities and counties surrounding Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, tensions are swirling over the rate of new residential development, what it should look like and – especially – how to pay for it. Those aren’t new challenges in a metro area that’s been one of the nation’s fastest growing in recent decades. But many communities, […]

Lessons for Charlotte in Detroit?

“Downtown was the center of the universe. And then it all changed.” Matt Cullen, CEO of Rock Ventures, a major real estate player in downtown Detroit, was speaking to out-of-town visitors and describing changes in the once thriving, now seriously ailing Motor City. I was in town for a conference (Meeting of the Minds 2014) […]