Wendell Cox, New Urbanist?

Wendell Cox reviews Atlanta's new Atlantic Station, and is pleasantly surprised to find lots of parking underneath the New Urbanist-style development. Could this be the inevitable blend of urban and suburban?

"Atlantic Station is traditionally urban but is surprisingly suburban. On the surface, Atlantic Station appears to fit many of the New Urbanist design criteria. The buildings start at the sidewalk (pavement) line, rather than being behind parking lots. There are no indoor shopping malls. Instead the stores are directly on the streets, reminiscent of old downtowns or the first shopping centers, like Country Club in Kansas City.

Some of the normally superficial New Urbanism, however, is even more ephemeral in Atlantic Station. For one thing, prime New Urbanist lynchpins --- anti-automobile design, pedestrian orientation, transit orientation, paid parking, banning of big box stores --- do not apply there."

Full Story: Atlanta's Atlantic Station: The Suburbs Come to the City



Atlantic Station

"For one thing, prime New Urbanist lynchpins --- anti-automobile design, pedestrian orientation, transit orientation, paid parking, banning of big box stores --- do not apply there."

if "the prime lynchpins" of new urbanism dont apply then one would assume its not new urbanism. i'm not sure what this place is but lets get some things straight. new urbanism is far from anti-automobile afterall new urbanism projects have an extensive network of streets that run throughout the entire neighborhood and which actually have more streets than the typical suburban development (the difference is they are narrower and calmer). shopping malls have a central pedestrian-only street which all the stores are focused on while in new urbanist projects that same street would be a main street-like street complete with parking and auto-access.

Atlantic Station is a lifestyle center with office towers built atop a giantic 2-3 story parking garage covering the whole site.

The Atlantic Station project does have paid parking including parking meters on the surface streets, has dedicated bus lanes on the new road that runs through the project plus a free frequent shuttle bus to the closest MARTA station.

when i went to this place, a security guard told me i could not take any photos because there was a chance i would copy the buildings and build them elsewhere and that if they found my photos online i would be fined $1500. not sure how that would happen, maybe theres a private courthouse on site. considering that all the "public space" including streets in the complex is actually private would prove that it is not true "new urbanism."

Cox lies

I'm not going to harp on a blog post for containing unsupported arguments - but I have to take issue with Cox's assertion that most "New Urbanism" is unaffordable. The vast majority of affordable housing developments built in Minneapolis in the last decade have been built according to New Urbanist principles - Marshall River Run, the Center for Changing Lives, Many Rivers East and West, Lindquist Apartments, and Heritage Park are just a few I can think of off the top of my head. I can only think of one affordable development that probably couldn't be called "New Urbanist" (Heritage Commons).

Unlike Cox, I am not paid by big oil to crunch numbers, but I would say that even if a study of "New Urbanism" found that most of it is unaffordable, that would be simply because it is new housing. Most new housing is more expensive to buy than existing housing.

more Cox lies?

He asserts that this project was "well-subsidized." Yet I can't find any documentation of subsidies other than the $250 million for brownfield cleanup, site prep, and infrastructure - all of which are (like it or not) government obligations.

If the streets are in fact private as the commenter below asserts, the citizens of Atlanta certainly got a bum deal. I'd guess though, that a commercial property owner is behaving with stereotypical possessiveness of public property.

Can anyone report any other subsidies involved in this project?

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