'Atlanta City Design' Book Makes a Plan for Equity

Two of the most prominent planners in Atlanta have released a book to help set an agenda for equity as the city grows in the next two decades.

2 minute read

September 27, 2017, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Vadim Fedotov / Shutterstock

Atlanta Planning Commissioner Tim Keane and urban designer Ryan Gravel (famous for thinking up the idea for the Atlanta BeltLine) released the Atlanta City Design book earlier in September, culminating a two-year project intended to echo through the decades.

Jared Brey reports in detail on the story for Next City, explaining that Atlanta City Design "is meant to inform and shape all of Atlanta’s various plans, codes and ordinances. The document is not a plan itself, but 'a strategic realignment of existing plans' that seeks to lock some core city-building principles into everything Atlanta does."

Brey explains how the book embraces the city's growth, trusting that design can accommodate the city's newcomers while working toward equity as inspired by the "idea of the 'Beloved Community,' discussed by Martin Luther King Jr. in a 1957 sermon called the Birth of a New Nation." Brey writes in more detail:

The five values highlighted in the book — nature, access, ambition, progress and equity — reflect many of the efforts that cities across the world are struggling with today. How do we embrace and protect the natural aspects of the urban environment? How do people move around a landscape marked by gridlocked highways? How does a city welcome newcomers while looking out for the interests of marginalized communities? How do we fight poverty and build racial equity?

The question is, then, whether the book will influence the city's leaders as they navigate a complex election cycle and deal with the fallout of challenges with gentrification and displacement as a result of large-scale revitalization projects.   

Friday, September 22, 2017 in Next City

View of downtown Los Angeles at golden hour from top of grassy hill with wooden bench in Vista Hermosa Natural Park

Downtown Los Angeles Park Wins National Award

Vista Hermosa Natural Park, designed by the landscape architecture firm Studio-MLA, has won the ASLA 2023 Landmark Award. Completed in 2008, Vista Hermosa was the first public park built in downtown L.A. in over 100 years.

September 11, 2023 - ASLA The Dirt

View of small-town street with brick buildings and cars parked in diagonal parking with string lights going across street in Cleveland County, Oklahoma.

Norman, Oklahoma Eliminates Parking Mandates

The city made a subtle, one-word change that frees up developers to build parking based on actual need and eliminates costly unnecessary parking.

September 14, 2023 - Next City

Few passengers waiting in subway station with multiple platforms and "North Station" signs in Boston, Massachusetts

Boston Transit Riders Report Safety Concerns

Almost three-quarters of current and former riders report feeling unsafe while using MBTA services.

September 18, 2023 - Hoodline

Fast paced scene with people bike and cars at the busy intersection of 14th Street and 5th Avenue in New York City.

When it Comes to Transportation, It’s All About Options

Debunking the notion of the personal automobile as liberator.

10 minutes ago - Strong Towns

Mosaic mural at Little Tokyo/Arts District transit station in downtown Los Angeles.

Prioritizing Equity in Federal Transit Funding

TransitCenter recommends several transit capital projects deserving of federal transportation dollars.

September 20 - TransitCenter

Close-up of top of California state capitol dome with U.S. and California flags flying and blue sky in background.

California Housing Bills Streamline Affordable Housing

A series of current and proposed bills are paving the way for more affordable housing production in the state, where environmental laws are often deployed to delay or block new development.

September 20 - CALmatters

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.