The Urban Institute is a nonpartisan, applied research and community outreach center at UNC Charlotte. Founded in 1969, it provides services including technical assistance and training in operations and data management; public opinion surveys; and research and analysis around economic, environmental, and social issues affecting the Charlotte region.
Episode 24: Building (literally) the future with construction
We talk a lot about infrastructure and new developments on this show - the buildings, roads, rail lines and more that define our next chapter. On this episode, we focus on the industry that actually builds those things, construction. Marcus Rabun, an industry veteran and CEO of Myers & Chapman, breaks down what changes are coming, how the industry can build the skilled workforce it needs, and how construction firms are still dealing with the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic in Charlotte.
Episode 23: Tree Canopy
Charlotte's known for its lush tree canopy - if you've flown into the city, you know how it feels a bit like landing in a forest when you approach. But that canopy is under threat. We're losing three football fields a day worth of trees. And the trees we have aren't equitably distributed, with lower-income and minority neighborhoods enjoying significantly less canopy cover. In a warming world, trees matter more than ever. Learn about the future of Charlotte's tree canopy with Doug Shoemaker, a UNC Charlotte researcher and expert.
Episode 22: Post-pandemic parking
With the COVID-19 pandemic easing and big banks preparing to call employees back, tens of thousands of workers in uptown Charlotte are confronting a question they haven't thought about for more than a year: Where am I going to park? Parking is a major expense for many, and the future of post-pandemic parking will help determine how auto-dependent Charlotte develops going forward.
We talk with Roger Stacks, CEO and owner of Preferred Parking, about what his company has seen during the pandemic, how they're adapting to a hybrid work future, and what the future of parking in Charlotte might look like.
Episode 21: Exploring Charlotte's health disparities
In parts of Charlotte, people routinely live into their 80s. In other neighborhoods just a few miles away - or even next door - the average age of death is in just the 60s. What accounts for the huge disparities in health, and what can we do about problems like food deserts, lack of access to healthcare and unequal housing?
Dr. Jerome Williams of Novant Health explores these issues, and what changes can help us close the gaps, on this episode.
Episode 20: Minority-owned businesses in Charlotte
Is Charlotte a good city for minority entrepreneurs? What do minority-owned businesses need to survive? What special challenges do Black and brown entrepreneurs face?
This episode, we're joined by Les Lambert from Bank of America, James Whitner, founder of the Whitaker Group and operator of boutique stores like Social Status, and Angelique Gaines, a social research specialist at the Urban Institute who has studied this topic.
Episode 19: When uptown was downtown
When architect Stephen Overcash came to Charlotte in 1979, uptown was called downtown, liquor-by-the-drink was a new concept and a skyline full of towers was decades in the future. On this episode, we reflect on Charlotte's awkward teenage years, how the city's grown and what might come next in a post-covid world.