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Perspective | First in Future: Director of UNC Charlotte Urban Institute Jeff Michael

It’s Charlotte week! In honor of the Institute for Emerging Issues’ October 15 ReCONNECT to Economic Opportunity Forum in Charlotte, the First in Future podcast takes a week-long sit-down with some of the Queen City’s thought leaders. Listen in every day this week for a thought-provoking conversation on the future of economic opportunity in North Carolina.


Charlotte is a bigger city than Atlanta or Raleigh. It’s the 16th largest metro area in the country. It is the fastest growing city in the country for millennials and has the state’s only real municipal public transit. Charlotte is taking on issues of race and class, economic mobility, affordable housing, and quality of life in a very intentional way. 

First in Future guest Jeff Michael, the Director of UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, is looking at the greater Charlotte region and the connections between rural and urban. The Urban Institute locates the data that the region needs to make decisions. They explain it in a way that people can get. And they have the humility to let people decide what to do with it. Jeff is a native of Stanly County, a first generation college student who left to get degrees in business, law and regional planning, and then went back.

Leslie Boney

Leslie Boney is the director of NC State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues.