Charlotte developers, environmentalists differ on stormwater proposal

by Steve Harrison (Charlotte Observer) The Charlotte City Council will consider next month extending a policy that allows developers to pay a fee instead of controlling stormwater when redeveloping land – a decision environmentalists say could allow more pollutants to flow into the city’s streams. Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/09/24/5197641/charlotte-developers-environmentalists.html#storylink=cpy Continue reading

How Cities Stacked Up by Median Income and Poverty Rates for 2013

The U.S. Census Bureau has released its annual American Community Survey, and for metro areas, the 2013 data show mostly subtle, statistically insignificant shifts in income growth and closing the wealth gap. Depending on whether you see the glass as half empty or half full, you’ll either be relieved that there wasn’t a marked downturn, or disappointed that the recovery has not proven to be more robust. Continue reading

Grading Charlotte

Together, we can turn things around I arrived in Charlotte in late 2007 and quickly became aware of the negative impacts of the city's rapid population growth. This, combined with a series of poor decisions, not only permitted but encouraged sprawl. Charlotte was considered one of the least sustainable large cities in the country at that time by various rankings and suffered from serious environmental, social and economic challenges: heavy air pollution, growing traffic congestion, heavily contaminated waterways, dramatic tree loss, and racial and socioeconomic segregation along neighborhood lines. I spoke with many residents who felt frustrated by these trends, yet powerless to reverse them. Continue reading

N.C.'s sharp right turn threatens transit in 2 booming metro areas

by Sean Reilly, E&E reporterCHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The blueprint for one of the most ambitious mass transit networks ever envisioned in the Southeast calls for some 72 miles of rail lines, rapid bus routes and even a streetcar here in North Carolina's largest metro area. Continue reading

Charlotte's Sustainability Report Card

We've talked a lot about sustainability - the state and quality of Charlotte's air, water, energy use and more - and whether or not Charlotte is headed for a sustainable future. But now, the non-profit Sustain Charlotte has used the power of data to compile and compare nine different categories into one study, the first of its kind. The group rates our local sustainability trends, and compares them to national trends in air quality, energy use, equality and empowerment, food, jobs and income, land use, transportation, waste and water use. So, how are we doing? The report shows we're making progress on energy use, and the area's water use per household is lower than the national average. But we're lagging behind when it comes to transportation and land use. And food insecurity and childhood poverty are on the rise. Continue reading

Charlotte needs better sustainability – Report offers suggestions for city’s livability

by Herbert L. White, The Charlotte PostCharlotte needs to cut back on its carbon footprint in order to remain livable, according to a new report.The study, published last week by Sustain Charlotte, found that air quality and energy use exceed national averages as sprawl continues its march across the region. Local and county public officials joined Sustain Charlotte Executive Director Shannon Binns at a press conference to announce the release of the inaugural “Charlotte-Mecklenburg Sustainability Report Card: Scoring Our Economic, Environmental, and Social Health.” The report card is an independently researched and written assessment of the region’s health using 57 metrics spanning nine issues. Continue reading

Charlotte area's recycling volumes aren't increasing

by Bobby Elliott, Resource RecyclingThe most populous county in North Carolina is taking a closer look at driving recycling activity among residents.Mecklenburg County, home to Charlotte and a population of about 1 million people, has seen recycling rates more or less stagnate in recent years, a new sustainability report from the group Sustain Charlotte suggests. While a couple positive trends have emerged of late — generation of construction and demolition debris and commercial waste is down and collection of yard debris is up — county residents recycled slightly less per person in 2013 than they did in 1999. Continue reading

15 takeaways from Sustain Charlotte's Sustainability Report Card

The good folks over at Sustain Charlotte compiled a report card of sortsassessing Mecklenburg County's social, economic and environmental health. Taking into account 57 metrics — everything from our recycling habits to accessibility to jobs — the ambitious project is the first local, independent review of its kind. Continue reading

Report looks at Charlotte's sustainability trends

by Bruce Henderson and Steve Harrisonbhenderson@charlotteobserver.comCharlotte trails national averages on transportation and land use patterns while showing improvement in energy use and other local measures, says a first-of-its-kind sustainability report card released Tuesday. Continue reading

Charlotte improves on sustainability but ranks only fair nationally

Charlotte is making progress on key sustainability issues such as energy use, air quality, transportation and water use, but it rates no better than average nationally, according to a new report by Sustain Charlotte. Continue reading