© 2021 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Charlotte Talks: The Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection


Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019

While Charlotte develops at breakneck speed and rural areas stagnate, it is vital to understand where we are, how we got here, and how to best move forward. UNC Charlotte's Urban Institute recently concluded a study attempting to do just that.

Charlotte has expanded to become a global finance hub, yet many local towns continue to struggle. In recent years jobs in rural counties in the greater Charlotte region have increased only 2%, while urban employment increased by 35%. As often occurs as economic inequality increases, political and cultural divides have only become more entrenched.

Potential solutions can be achieved through restoring broken ties – in developing the unique identity of individual towns to expanding museums, cultural centers and community-based nonprofits. The Urban Institute and its study, "The Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection," argue restoring the economic, cultural and social ties to our urban and rural centers is not only possible, but mutually beneficial.

Today we discuss the best strategies to develop a vibrant, sustainable future for Charlotte and beyond.


Jeff Michael, director of UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, principal investigator of "The Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection"

Emily Epley, Earl Scruggs Center executive director from 2008–2018

Robert Webb, Director of Duke Endowment’s Rural Church Program

Jesse Steinmetz is Assistant Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.