Atlanta's BeltLine: Favorable or Flawed?

The ambitious park and transit plan for the city shows promise, but will low-income residents be left behind, as has been the case with similar city planning projects?
March 31, 2006, 9am PST | David Gest
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"The city of Atlanta is embarking on one of the most massive redevelopment initiatives in its history: the BeltLine, an ambitious project to transform a mostly unused railroad into a 22-mile, in-town loop of parks, trails, and transit. The plan will increase overall parklands by over 1,200 acres (this, in a city that has significantly less green space than others of similar size around the country) while adding walking trails and bike paths and improving public transportation into the urban core.

On the surface, the BeltLine sounds like a great project, and it could be one. But, although the proposal promises an unprecedented amount of affordable housing units, questions like, 'what is affordable?' and 'affordable for whom?' have been sidelined in the public debate. Meanwhile, the project also includes plans to develop an abundance of upscale housing in Atlanta's inner city, likewise raising many questions about the likely effect on poor and moderate-income neighborhoods. Thus far, the plan's backers have failed to take these questions seriously -- which speaks volumes about the larger failure of civic leaders to sufficiently incorporate the poor and working class into their process and vision."

Thanks to ArchNewsNow

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Published on Tuesday, March 28, 2006 in Grist
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