A Community Benefits Proposal is Ignored. Is Displacement Far Behind?

A tent city occupation in Atlanta is among several recent actions in cities around the country. Residents fearing displacement at the hands of publicly supported private development are organizing, and running for office, against it.

2 minute read

April 29, 2017, 5:00 AM PDT

By Keli_NHI


If you’re up-to-date on your gentrification news, you may have heard that residents of four historically African-American neighborhoods in Atlanta are in the midst of an occupation of Turner Field—the former home of the Atlanta Braves.

The organized resident groups have demanded, since 2013 when the baseball team announced it was leaving, to be considered and included in the planned development of 67 acres of commercial and housing on the land. So far, they’ve reported little to no luck in getting a community benefits agreement considered by the city or the developers, and they have escalated their protest to erecting a tent city on the property. Residents have been camped on the property since April 1 demanding that the proposal be acknowledged and addressed.

In a project called the “deal of the year” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the City of Atlanta sold the land to Georgia State University (GSU) and the Carter, Oakwood Development and Healey Weatherholtz joint venture last year. Two resident groups, the Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition and Housing Justice League, have organized community members from the historic towns of Summerhill, Peoplestown, Mechanicsville, and Pittsburgh to push back against planned development they say has purposely excluded them.

“We didn’t make this decision to pitch tents lightly,” says Peoplestown resident Columbus Ward in a recent press release. “We have families, we have jobs, we have responsibilities. But at the end of the day, Carter, GSU, and the city are threatening the very existence of our neighborhoods. This is a fight for our right to remain and thrive. We refuse to be seen as commodities. We are real people.”

This community action is but one among several in cities around the country where longtime residents fear displacement at the hand of publicly supported private development, and have begun organizing against it.

Friday, April 28, 2017 in Shelterforce/Rooflines

View of Mount Hood at golden hour with Happy Valley, Oregon homes in foreground.

Clackamas County Votes to Allow ADUs, Residential RVs

County officials hope the zoning changes will help boost the housing supply in the region.

June 18, 2024 - Mountain Times

Single-family homes in a suburban neighborhood in Florida.

New Florida Law Curbs HOA Power

The legislation seeks to cut down on ‘absurd’ citations for low-level violations.

June 16, 2024 - The Guardian

Aerial view of intersection in New York City with yellow cabs and zebra crosswalks.

Planners’ Complicity in Excessive Traffic Deaths

Professor Wes Marshall’s provocatively-titled new book, "Killed by a Traffic Engineer," has stimulated fierce debates. Are his criticisms justified? Let’s examine the degree that traffic engineers contribute to avoidable traffic deaths.

June 13, 2024 - Todd Litman

Close-up of mountain lion in the Santa Monica Mountains, California.

Cougar Death Highlights Urgent Need for Wildlife Crossing

A mountain lion was found dead on the 101 Freeway, less than half a mile from the steel and concrete endoskeleton of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing.

45 minutes ago - The Acorn

Close-up of two children sitting on edge of swimming pool with their feet in the water.

Beating the Heat: Expanding Access to Swimming Pools

The swim season for Los Angles County public pools has been extended, with swim facilities open for five months to provide relief from the hot weather.

1 hour ago - ABC7 Eyewitness News

Scooters Portland

Report: Municipal Fees and Taxes Hinder Shared Micromobility Adoption

City taxes and fees on shared bikes and scooters are, on average, much higher per mile than similar taxes on cars.

2 hours ago - Streetsblog USA

City Planner I

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner II

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner Supervisor

Department of Housing and Community Development

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.