One Month on the AT

This May, after wrapping up exams and coursework, I set off on an epic new adventure – a three-week solo backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail (AT). I felt drawn to nature, to clean air and wildlife, to green trees, and to the Appalachian mountains that feel so much like home. As John Muir put it, “The mountains are calling, and I must go.” Appalachian … Continue reading One Month on the AT

An Application of the Land Suitability Analysis Technique

The Work of Masters As part of the Master’s Program in the Department of City and Regional Planning at UNC, Chapel Hill, each student pursuing a Masters of City and Regional Planning Degree must produce a Master’s Project in their final year. This often involves original research, work with community stakeholders, and advanced quantitative or qualitative techniques. The intention is to “demonstrate the student’s capabilities … Continue reading An Application of the Land Suitability Analysis Technique

That’s Not How Climate Works! Extreme Weather and Climate Misinformation

This winter has certainly been a wild ride with the Midwest suffering from record setting cold and unprecedented flooding, Washington experiencing unparalleled amounts of snow, and an usually wet winter pulling much of California out of a years-long drought. No corner of the country was left untouched by some sort of extreme winter weather, even North Carolina, which experienced a record-setting snowstorm back in December. … Continue reading That’s Not How Climate Works! Extreme Weather and Climate Misinformation

The Impacts of Defining and Classifying Brownfields

 This piece was originally written by Ben Berolzheimer for Planning Methods (PLAN 720) in November 2018. What are brownfields and why should planners care about them? The United States EPA (1) defines a brownfield as “a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.” Brownfields are located in just about … Continue reading The Impacts of Defining and Classifying Brownfields

How Asheville’s The Collider Can Help Us Meet the Challenge of Climate Adaptation

Already today, climate change is harming companies’ bottom lines and business models; undermining community disaster planning and recovery; and threatening individual health and wellbeing. The IPCC warned this year in a report later echoed by the U.S. Federal Government in its Fourth National Climate Assessment that the effects of climate change stand to become more severe much sooner than we thought. The need for climate … Continue reading How Asheville’s The Collider Can Help Us Meet the Challenge of Climate Adaptation

Is the Ground or the Government Toxic?

This piece was originally written by Kelsey Peterson for Solving Urban Problems (PLAN 247) in October 2018. In a country built upon life, liberty, and property, we cannot let businesses handle their toxic waste irresponsibly. The government must amend current laws to require developers and corporations to inform residents within an established radius of affected land about the potential hazards that their leaked waste causes. … Continue reading Is the Ground or the Government Toxic?

Climate Change is Reshaping U.S. National Parks

Standing in awe in California’s Yosemite Valley or in the shadow of Denali, deep in the Alaskan interior, it is easy to imagine that the 60 national parks of the United States are pristine wildernesses. However, what many don’t realize, is that the national park system actually encompasses over 400 units, including historical sites, battlefields, and scenic trails. Even the 60 sites that include ‘National … Continue reading Climate Change is Reshaping U.S. National Parks

Unity in Disasters: Schools, Planners, and Natural Hazards

It’s a disturbing cycle: schools with high poverty rates and limited resources have the lowest-performing students, receive less funding, then even lower outcomes, which causes fewer people to want to move there, decreasing the tax base upon which resources are determined, and further depleting scarce resources. Researchers, public officials, and leaders across disciplines are concerned with figuring out how to break the vicious relationship between … Continue reading Unity in Disasters: Schools, Planners, and Natural Hazards

Utility Ratemaking and Energy Efficiency

Introduction The utility ratemaking formula is used to set the rates for electricity. Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) account for things like capital expenditures and operating expenses to determine what to charge customers in order to stay financially healthy. The Public Utilities Commission of each of each state is in charge of ensuring that these rates are just and reasonable. However, there are underlying motivations in … Continue reading Utility Ratemaking and Energy Efficiency

Distribution Centers Need Planning, Too

As urbanization increases, land costs are higher, and the wealthy are outbidding other classes for housing in the central city. According to the U.S. Census, more than 80% of the country’s population lives in cities.[i] The rise of e-commerce produces an outsized demand for goods delivered rapidly. The suburbs, long thought of as an oasis for the wealthy from the grit of industrialization, is now experiencing … Continue reading Distribution Centers Need Planning, Too