Economic development

9 ways (and more) Charlotte could be a better city

Group seated at parklet on North Tryon St. in 2014 What would famous urban observer Jane Jacobs advise Charlotte in 2017? In advance of our Sept. 28 showing of Citizen Jane: Battle For The City, we ask local planners and city thinkers.

When downtowns come alive again

Uptown Shelby alley that a Boy Scout restored. Photo: Mary Newsom If you’re thinking downtowns are dead, you haven’t been paying attention. I recently got an earful of downtown success stories from across the state. Commentary.

Mending the rips in our rural-suburban-urban fabric

Rubble pile marks the remains of a now-demolished Cannon Mills textile plant that once dominated downtown Kannapolis. In the background are buildings of the N.C. Research Campus, which today occupies the mill site. Photo: Mary Newsom Over our 50-year history at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, we’ve been committed to looking at the whole Charlotte region. So a growing divide – real or perceived – among urban, suburban and rural areas is something we take seriously.

No flood in your city? Lessons from New Orleans still apply

Damaged house in New Orleans in 2006 Photo: Carol M. Highsmith's America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division Ten years after devastating floods, New Orleans is proof a city is a hard thing to kill. Roberta Brandes Gratz, in We're Still Here Ya Bastards: How the People of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City, burrows into the city’s revival and concludes small, incremental, community-led rebirth offers the best hope of success.

The Charlotte streetcar: Y’all have got it wrong

Charlotte streetcar is launched July 14. Photo: Erin Chantry Since I celebrated the launch of Charlotte’s streetcar I’ve cringed as the news media got it wrong and people made fun of it. If more people understood its value to neglected areas and to the whole city’s future, more people would support it. Commentary.

Charlotte arts districts face challenges, study finds

NoDa Brewing event. photo: Nancy Pierce Is NoDa still Charlotte's main arts district, or has South End overtaken it? UNC Charlotte graduate student Morgan Hamer decided to study the city’s arts clusters. What she found has important implications for the future of Charlotte’s arts neighborhoods. A Q/A interview.

Chart Charlotte region's progress toward CONNECT goals

How will the Charlotte region grow? Photo of Mecklenburg subdivision: Nancy Pierce After three years of citizen engagement, which led to a Regional Growth Framework for the Charlotte region, the CONNECT Our Future initiative moves into implementation, including a set of 31 quality-of-life indicators, now available online.

Moving to Charlotte? You're not alone

New York and Florida top the list in numbers of people who move to Mecklenburg County, home to Charlotte. Image: John Chesser We know Charlotte is growing, but where do all these new residents come from? Interactive maps and charts let you explore the answer.  

Talk of the Towns: Iredell County

A subdivision off N.C. 150 in southern Iredell County. Photo: Nancy Pierce This installment of our series of planner interviews heads to Iredell County, where Matthew Todd describes efforts of industrial recruitment, rural farmland preservation and the challenges of planning in a diverse county that includes suburban Charlotte to the south and rural foothills to the north.

Talk of the Towns: Rock Hill

A street festival in downtown Rock Hill. Photo: Nancy Pierce 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)