Mecklenburg

Jul 10, 2013
It’s no secret the Charlotte region has seen a huge influx of newcomers, with homes built by the thousands. New Census data show the high percentage of homes that are only a few years old. With interactive, county-by-county data.
Jun 24, 2013
With tornado and storm season on us, what lessons were learned in the year since a sudden tornado blew through Harrisburg and eastern Mecklenburg County, injuring four people and destroying six homes? And what’s been rebuilt? (Photo: Melissa Currie)
Jun 18, 2013
Charlotte’s tree canopy faces new threats. For instance, as the group TreesCharlotte was planting some 4,000 trees last year, billboard companies were cutting down almost 5,000 in Charlotte. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Jun 05, 2013
How can the Charlotte region prepare for the thousands of new jobs and houses expected to come here? RealityCheck2050, part of the CONNECT process, let regional participants develop their own versions of the future. (Photo: Melissa Currie)
Jun 03, 2013
Mecklenburg County residents can add one more item to the growing list of uses for their smartphones: reporting water pollution. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
May 31, 2013
Aided by a $5 million federal grant, residents and businesses throughout the 14-county Charlotte region are engaged in a process to envision the region's best future and create a roadmap for getting there. This interactive article describes the process, plans and players for CONNECT Our Future. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
May 23, 2013
Goodwill puts people to work through its chain of retail stores. Whether you want to shop at a Goodwill store or donate items through a donation center or drop-off point, this new interactive map will help you find where to go. (Graphic: UNC Charlotte Urban Institute)
May 22, 2013
Fact: A workmanlike sidewalk runs beside South End’s light rail tracks. Fact: South End today has no park. Add those facts. Thus was born the idea for a 3.3-mile Rail Trail featuring a series of attractive nodes along today’s Lynx rail tracks. Take a look at images showing its potential. (Rendering courtesy of Charlotte Center City Partners)
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 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 cinched top honors in PlanCharlotte.org's one-year anniversary photo contest. (Photo: Kevin J. Beaty)
Apr 10, 2013
On Saturday, May 4, PlanCharlotte.org is sponsoring two Jane Jacobs Walks, part of a movement to honor the author and activist by getting people out walking a city neighborhood. The walks will be led by Tom Hanchett of Levine Museum of the New South and UNC Charlotte urban design Professor David Walters.
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 28, 2013
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 153,015 individuals who worked in Mecklenburg County commuted from another county in the Charlotte MSA – among the highest number of county-to-county commuters in the U.S. (Photo: Nancy Pierce) 
Mar 28, 2013
In January, the Charlotte metro area population was 1.8 million people. In February, the metro area population was 2.3 million. Where did the half-million people come from? New boundaries were drawn for metropolitan statistical areas. (Photo: Downtown Chester, S.C., in Chester County, which was added to the Charlotte MSA. / Nancy Pierce)
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 20, 2013
A bill before the N.C. General Assembly would restrict cities' and towns' power to put design standards into zoning ordinances applying to residential development. We invited writers from opposite sides of the debate to offer their views.
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)
Mar 19, 2013
Ben Hitchings: Design standards protect existing neighborhoods, property values and resale potential. Homeowners should be seriously concerned about legislative efforts to remove such protections.
Mar 18, 2013
Joe Padilla: The debate over “Zoning/Design & Aesthetic Controls,” (House Bill 150) concerns two basic issues: first, how much government control we want over our power of consumer choice, and second, whether we want N.C. government to function as its founders intended.
Mar 17, 2013
Updated census data shows a continued pattern of growth focused on the center of urban areas, reversing the trend of stronger suburban growth seen in the last decade.
Mar 13, 2013
Which neighborhoods use the most water in Mecklenburg County? Or electricity? See how neighborhoods compare in resource use. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Mar 13, 2013
What places in our region have a hold on your heart? For our first anniversary, PlanCharlotte.org is sponsoring a photo contest for our readers. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Mar 12, 2013
With 11 multifamily projects under construction in South End, some advocates there want to raise the bar on design requirements in the city's transit-oriented zoning. The city has hired a local urban design consultant to suggest changes. (Rendering courtesy David Furman)  
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)
Feb 28, 2013
The historic Duke Mansion was nearly lost once to fire and later to plans to convert it to condominiums. Its historic landscape is just as vulnerable. But some outstanding efforts are preserving its tree-studded setting. (Image: Bing Maps)
Feb 28, 2013
Huntersville Town Hall was the setting for Wednesday afternoon’s public information meeting about HOT (High Occupancy Toll) lanes proposed on I-77. HOT lanes are a red-hot topic, and citizens were vocal about their concerns. Is the region ready to accept pay-as-you-go highways? (Photo: Melissa Currie)
Feb 27, 2013
In at least a half-dozen older Charlotte neighborhoods many white, middle-income families avoided sending their children to neighborhood schools with a majority of low-income, minority students.  Some parents are now taking a closer look at those nearby schools. (Photo: Keihly Moore)
Feb 20, 2013
On March 26 the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County will host a forum in uptown Charlotte designed to tell the public about powerful sources of data and how to use them.
Feb 19, 2013
The Charlotte City Council passed a measure to to try to encourage developers to build low-income housing in affluent neighborhoods, heard pro- and con- comments about a proposed outlet mall, and designated a historic landmark.
Feb 14, 2013
Times have been tough in the local economy, but it looks as if we’ve finally turned the corner. If growth is starting to make a comeback, exactly where will it be? Is your county ready? (Photo:  U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office)
Feb 07, 2013
Since Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx gave his State of the City speech Monday, most publicity has focused on his remarks about the proposed streetcar and about a proposal in the legislature to remove Charlotte/Douglas International Airport from city control. Those are important issues. But another one may well trump those, and it’s not getting much publicity:The way Charlotte used to grow is over.
Feb 06, 2013
As breweries sprout across the Charlotte region, an industry group of local brewers and beer lovers is working with Charlotte planners to make city zoning more beer-friendly. (Photo: NoDa Brewing)
Feb 04, 2013
New single-family residential building permits in Mecklenburg County have been on a roller coaster ride since 2003. But preliminary numbers show a promising upswing heading into 2013. Using U.S. Census Bureau data1 to examine the previous decade's trends tracking back to 2003, what can we expect for new construction as we move forward in 2013?
Jan 30, 2013
While cities such as Memphis have gained national attention for proclaiming a bicycle-friendly goal, Charlotte has been quietly taking a number of steps to improve its own streets for cyclists. (Photo: Keihly Moore)
Jan 29, 2013
Some well-known intersections in the city hide the remnants of a now forgotten, but once major highway through the Carolinas. It was known as Potter Road and its name referred to the one-time pottery industry in western Lincoln County. Today, after neighbors pushed the city to save a piece of the old road's route, an obscure patch of trees at Central Avenue and Kilborne Road is all that’s left to tell the story.
Jan 29, 2013
Maps of student scores reveal patterns of high achievement in northern and southern parts of Mecklenburg County and a more complex mix of high and low scoring schools within Charlotte. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Jan 15, 2013
How well do you understand the differences between high schools in CMS? After years of rapid growth and changing demographics in Mecklenburg County, it may be time to update your perspective.
Jan 09, 2013
The new Charlotte-Mecklenburg Quality of Life Dashboard gives information on a variety of neighborhood conditions, providing some of the most extensive neighborhood-level information available in the United States.
Dec 06, 2012
Ghosts and cities often occur together, and not only in fiction. Kevin Lynch writes about how we "read" cities. Many descriptions of our surroundings are accompanied by the ghosts of what used to be there. Changes can leave scars on our mental map.
Dec 06, 2012
When I moved to Charlotte more than 30 years ago, Matthews was the suburb. Years of attracting people looking for a small town and a private getaway have built a fabric of large lawns and scattered houses, and more lawns and more houses. Where does a it go from here?
Nov 15, 2012
By 2011, the average American was driving 6 percent fewer miles per year than in 2004 – with Echo Boomers leading the trend. Here in Mecklenburg County, however, younger drivers are on the road more, not less.
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.
Nov 06, 2012
PARIS – I saw the future in Paris. It looks a lot like uptown Charlotte circa 1989, but with flashier architecture. In the French capital earlier this year, I visited La Défense, the huge development that half a century ago was envisioned as the future of Paris, a district of towering offices and wide plazas. Today it’s an office park whose huge cube monument doesn’t make up for its being dead at night.
Oct 31, 2012
The big picture may have gotten buried Tuesday as Charlotte City Council members chewed on, and chewed and chewed on, different alternative revenue strategies that might enable the city to build the second leg of its proposed streetcar.
Oct 24, 2012
There are many reasons public transit, such as a light rail system, is beneficial, even for those who don’t use it. Yet for commuters, Congress has cut a tax benefit for those using public transit to almost half that for those commuting by car.
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 10, 2012
Recycling rates are rising, and per capita disposal rates in landfills are down substantially, says Mecklenburg County’s 2012 State of the Environment Report. The report rates all four indicators of waste reduction as “good” and getting better.  
Oct 05, 2012
In any other time, the request might not have been so hard. But a nonprofit developer’s plea for $2.3 million in city money from federal grants to restore a historic NoDa textile mill came after a lingering economic downturn, and after the city had already put $6.7 million into the property. Why is it so hard to restore an important piece of city history? Well, it’s complicated ...
Oct 03, 2012
PARK(ing) Day is an international event in which people reclaim, temporarily, spaces created for cars – parking spaces – and transform them into spaces for people – parks. Charlotte celebrated the event this year in South End.
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.”