North Carolina

Jan 27, 2015
Do you have a favorite Main Street, greenway, or historic rehabilitation? Join in this year’s competition to nominate and vote on your favorite North Carolina places.
Jun 04, 2014
It's hard to know which of the mountains of housing statistics really matter. To me, two important sets of numbers unlock the story. Commentary from Ken Szymanski. (Photo: Melissa Currie)
Mar 19, 2014
A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision has trail advocates worried about the fate of the national rails-to-trails program, but the ruling is unlikely to affect North Carolina. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Oct 03, 2013
Population growth in Charlotte has always come with plenty of costs, but rising incomes and prosperity were part of the expected returns. Yet during the recent economic downturn, as population growth continued, economic growth sputtered. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Aug 29, 2013
Between 2006 and 2013, the rate of N.C. high school students graduating on time (in four years) rose from 68.3 percent to 82.5 percent. The state's two largest districts, Wake and Charlotte-Mecklenburg, now have the same rate, 81 percent. Explore data for all N.C. districts with our interactive dashboards. (Photo: iStock)
Aug 29, 2013
Click here to read the article that explains this data dashboard.
Aug 29, 2013
Click here to read the article that explains this data dashboard.
Mar 20, 2013
Of metro areas with more than 1 million people, Charlotte ranked ninth nationally in population growth from 2011 to 2012. That growth was strongest at the center of the metro area, in Mecklenburg County, which outpaced the suburban counties in the region for the second year. (Image: Bing maps)
Feb 18, 2013
Defining environmental art is about as difficult as defining art itself. The term encompasses different types of art-environment fusion. Writer Melissa Currie sorts it all out.
Aug 17, 2012
In the wake of the financial crash, many real estate developments across the Charlotte region appear frozen in various stages of construction. But a few of these so-called “zombie subdivisions” may be reviving, as developers regain their financial footing and, in some cases, propose new plans. (Click here for a photo gallery of abandoned subdivisions in and around Charlotte.)
Aug 07, 2012
The N.C. Department of Transportation is using social media to help create its new statewide bicycle and pedestrian plan. Here's how you can offer ideas and comment on those of others.
Aug 01, 2012
Looking at where some upscale retail companies locate provides a way of highlighting income and demographic disparities. Charlotte's Starbucks-free, Panera-free and Harris Teeter-free zones coincide with the city's highest-poverty neighborhoods. The same holds true, by and large, for much of the state.
Jul 18, 2012
Take a look at the geography of manufacturing in the Carolinas. What sectors are important in today's economy?
Jul 05, 2012
Have N.C. cities – and the rest of America – built too many stores for the population? Do we face a glut of single-family housing? And how can planners be innovative in addressing big changes this century? Mitchell Silver, Raleigh’s chief planning and development officer, is national president of the American Planning Association. He talked recently with
May 22, 2012
After decades of decline, manufacturing jobs across the country have seen a modest uptick. This long period of industry restructuring has left a strikingly different geography of manufacturing in the Carolinas; we still make furniture and textiles, but that’s not the whole story anymore.
Apr 18, 2012
Where are urban regions growing – in their cores or suburbs? What is happening in rural areas? New population figures have fostered speculation about what growth in urban regions will be like in the future.  For rural parts of the Carolinas, the issue isn’t about growth at all, but widespread decline in population.
Mar 28, 2012
The Charlotte region boasts abundant farmland and an increasing number of residents hungry for locally grown food. So why does so much of food come from thousands of miles away? This article was written for the institute's newest online communication page, We hope you'll visit PlanCharlotte for more news, information and analysis about how our region is growing.
Mar 12, 2012
Know a great Main Street in North Carolina? Nominate it for an award from the state chapter of the American Planning Association. The chapter hopes to recognize and celebrate some of the state’s overlooked or under-appreciated downtowns. The contest has three categories:...
Feb 29, 2012
A new, grant-funded initiative, the Piedmont Crescent Partnership, aims to bring together residents and officials from that broad Piedmont area to address shared issues and maybe help the region’s leaders more often speak with one voice on matters such as transportation, economic development and growth.
Jan 25, 2012
UNC Charlotte's Heather Smith, a geographer who studies Hispanic "hyper-growth" in the South, talks about Charlotte's growing role as a "globalizing" – not a global – city, and why she wasn't surprised when the Democratic Party chose Charlotte for its national convention.
Nov 10, 2011
Despite lines on maps carving out city limits and voting districts and state borders, in the real world of air and water, of urban transportation and economies, city regions function in ways our political systems may not recognize. This is the case in Charlotte and pretty much across the United States. But is it possible to get around that problem and create meaningful ways to look at city regions as they truly are – regions? Last week I spent several days chewing over that question with more than two dozen business and nonprofit leaders, academics, writers and former mayors.