Quality of Life

Jun 29, 2016
Podcast and Q/A interview: Owen Furuseth, retired UNC Charlotte associate provost for Metropolitan Studies, researched open space preservation, neighborhoods and immigration. He talks with PlanCharlotte about his work.
Aug 05, 2015
A dedicated Charlotte urbanist confronts a choice when house-hunting: Walkable urbanity in the heart of town, or affordable homes with the assurance of good schools in an auto-dependent suburban area? Commentary.
May 06, 2015
No single factor can define a “healthy community.” The newly updated Charlotte-Mecklenburg Quality of Life Explorer lets viewers assess a wide variety of community issues and indicators.
Nov 18, 2014
The 115 ideas for creating a more livable Mecklenburg range from protecting more historic buildings to better training the local workforce to rethinking local residents’ reliance on fescue lawns.
Aug 19, 2014
This installment in our series of planner interviews heads to Rock Hill, where Bill Meyer describes how the city has encouraged a mixed-use development at the old Celanese plant site, revitalized downtown and is looking at its long-range planning. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Jul 23, 2014
If Charlotte is a city of neighborhoods, what happens when almost 20 of those neighborhoods spend a half-day at a retreat to encourage goal-setting? (Photo: Mary Newsom)
Jun 19, 2014
PlanCharlotte kicks off an occasional series of conversations with planners around the metro region. The first visit is with Keith Wolf of Albemarle, a town dealing with slow population growth. (Photo: Chuck McShane) 
Jun 18, 2014
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation has awarded the KEEPING WATCH initiative $10,000. The three-year environmental initiative is led by UNC Charlotte's College of Arts + Architecture and the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute.
Jun 04, 2014
Wilmore resident Kris Steele knew his neighborhood was a food desert, an area with little access to fresh food. Now he's won a $2,500 Keep Charlotte Beautiful grant to create and "edible walkway," where residents can pick fruit while they stroll. (Photo: John Chesser)
May 28, 2014
On Charlotte's least pedestrian- and bike-friendly type of street - a parkway - a new asphalt trail is open, connecting UNC Charlotte to apartments along University City Boulevard. It's part of the city's ongoing bike-ped enhancements. (Photo: Chuck McShane)
May 21, 2014
The Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia area ranks 10th most dangerous metro for pedestrians, according to a study, Dangerous by Design, released this week by the National Complete Streets Coalition and Smart Growth America. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
May 20, 2014
Burnsville and Morganton beat out Charlotte-area places to become the 2014 People's Choice winners in the APA-NC's "Great Places in N.C." contest. (Photo: Linda Brown)
May 08, 2014
Charlotte's Windy Ridge neighborhood has drawn extensive publicity as an extreme example of a neighborhood "built to fail." In a new article for an academic journal, three UNC Charlotte researchers conclude that one factor in its failure was Charlotte's "growth-machine" culture. A Q-and-A interview. (Photo: Josh MCann)
May 01, 2014
Recycling containers sit in classrooms in every Charlotte-Mecklenburg public school, and students at nearly half of them make the extra effort to dump leftover liquid from milk and juice cartons before tossing them into bins.
Apr 30, 2014
From now through May 9, the public can vote from among four Charlotte-area places as part of the Great Places in N.C. contest from the N.C Chapter of the American Planning Association. (Photo: John Chesser)
Apr 23, 2014
Charlotte-Mecklenburg is making strides in recycling and reducing waste, yet residents still send more trash to landfills than the U.S. average. Why is recycling lagging here? One answer might be that it's mostly voluntary. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Apr 23, 2014
What can and can't be recycled can be confusing. Here is a list of what can't go into your recycling bin and why. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
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)
Feb 12, 2014
The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan applied research institute offering consulting services and public outreach for more than 40 years. We provide research and information to help the public understand the Charlotte region. Through our websites we offer articles and data on a range of issues that could be useful to neighborhood groups. (Image: Dylan McKnight) 
Nov 18, 2013
Mary Newsom, associate director of urban and regional affairs at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, will moderate a panel of local experts Thursday at AARP’s “Making a More Livable Mecklenburg Summit.”
Jul 30, 2013
Development patterns along Charlotte's Blue Line show a mixed bag of more low-density neighborhoods than planners recommend. That means the corridor is brimming with opportunity to develop more intensely, and in a way that puts walkable, diverse urban neighborhoods near transit. (Photo: Melissa Currie)
Apr 24, 2013
A moody night-time shot of a more than 200-year-old house outside Huntersville, and a sliver of a moon over uptown Charlotte. Those photos, by Kevin J. Beaty, were what took the top honors in PlanCharlotte.org's one-year anniversary photo contest. Click here to see all the winning photos. (...
Apr 09, 2013
A new study of access to jobs via automobile, across the United States, ranks the Charlotte metro area near the bottom. Unlike simple congestion studies, this one looks at land use as well as the transportation system.  
Mar 21, 2013
Two of the region's main streets have won this year’s Great Places in North Carolina competition. Union Street in Concord and Main Street in Davidson were recognized among the state’s top downtowns in a competition from the N.C. chapter of the American Planning Association.(Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Mar 07, 2013
Concord's Union Street, downtown Belmont and Charlotte's First Ward and Plaza Midwood neighborhoods have all been nominated for "People's Choice" awards in this year's "Great Places in North Carolina" contest. North Carolinians can vote until March 15. (Graphic: APA-NC)
Nov 07, 2012
Commuting stories – we’ve all got one.  How does your commute time stack up to your fellow Mecklenburg resident?  Check out our maps, using 2010 U.S. Census data to break down average commute times.
Oct 17, 2012
Eleven Charlotte neighborhoods have developed plans that organizers say will chart a better – and more sustainable – course for the future. Neighborhoods as diverse as a condominium tower in Myers Park to suburban commuter areas to lower-income urban neighborhoods will receive grants to help them achieve their vision.
Oct 03, 2012
Mecklenburg County is not on track to meet its 2008 goals for acquiring nature preserves and open space, and the trend is continuing downward, according to the 2012 State of the Environment Report. Greenways and parks are rated just “fair.”
Apr 27, 2012
Students in Janni Sorensen’s social inequality and planning class wrapped up the semester with presentations about their work in five Charlotte communities. Their projects and a visit from national planning and organizing expert Ken Reardon drove home the value of learning as a two-way street.