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Interdisciplinary research looks at Charlotte's green mystery
Date:9/13/2010

economist from the Renaissance Computing Institute branch at UNC Charlotte, and Todd BenDor, assistant professor in the Department of City & Regional Planning at UNC Chapel Hill and an authority on land use planning and public policy.

While the project will perform basic research on urban dynamics and links between economic and environmental sustainability, the science will be tied to real life issues and will closely involve the ongoing work of local agencies and land management professionals. Grant partners include UNC Charlotte's Urban Institute, the USDA Forest Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission, Catawba Lands Conservancy, North Carolina State University Forestry Department Extension, Gaston County Cooperative Extension, Catawba Regional Council of Governments, Centralia Council of Governments, Land Trust for Central North Carolina and Nations Ford Land Trust.

The Charlotte ULTRA exploratory project will focus particularly on the issue of the "persistence" of forest and farm lands within the urban boundaries. In Meentemeyer's words, the project aims to answer the essential question: "Hidden in Charlotte's current dynamic urban environment, are there alternative futures for growth where urbanization, forest and working lands can co-exist in an economic and environmentally sustainable fashion?"

At the heart of the project is a two-year plan to develop a complex and sophisticated computer model that will allow the researchers and land planning partners to examine such "alternative futures" that might result from a wide variety of new variables new laws and regulations, changing economic, political or environmental conditions, or emerging social and cultural forces.

Better Data Makes Better Models

Charlotte already presents a mystery that the researchers will need use the model to understand: according to researchers' and planners' basic theories of how econom
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Contact: James Hathaway
jbhathaw@uncc.edu
704-687-5743
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Source:Eurekalert

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