Local Arts

Think Pokemon Go, but in serious application: That’s what Charlotte professor is doing in #HomeCLT

Professors of urban planning aren’t always as in demand as Dr. Ming-Chun Lee. He’s become sort of a rock star of academia.

And his augmented-reality maps play a big role in “#HomeCLT,” which opens Feb. 27 at the Levine Museum of the New South. They help viewers see how neighborhoods in Charlotte have changed over time — in a three-dimensional and, organizers hope, intriguing and memorable way.

The UNC Charlotte assistant professor’s popularity soared, relatively speaking, last March at a symposium at UNC Charlotte Center City – maybe not a place you’d expect to find The Next Big Thing. “Urban Complexities: Equity, Economic Mobility and the Built Environment” was the surprisingly fascinating topic.

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Tablets can show data in 3D with this augmented reality mapping. UNC Charlotte

And by looking at three sets of data — residents’ socioeconomic status, property values and racial demographics — as 3D graphics over three time periods (2000, 2010 and 2017), there appears to be “an almost perfect correlation” visually, Lee said, between having high income and high property value and being white in Mecklenburg County.

This story is part of an Observer underwriting project with the Thrive Campaign for the Arts, supporting arts journalism in Charlotte. Sign up here for the free e-newsletter “Inside Charlotte Arts.”

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