Category: Infrastructure

Buckhead is the Jewel of Atlanta? Comparisons Show it to be Rather Dull

Buckhead has sometimes been referred to as the Jewel of Atlanta, though this title is severely threatened by its increasingly underwhelming user experience. Its lack of vibrancy, identity, and walkability make the neighborhood a shining example of poor urban design and undercut its ability to attract residents and businesses. In its attempt to remain relevant, Buckhead should look to Miami’s Brickell neighborhood, Virginia’s Tyson’s Corner, and Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood.

Citing the Need for More Coffee Shops, Cities Back Plan to Seize Private Property

Cities are in love with small coffee shops, artisan burger shops, and boutique clothing stores. The only thing they like more is taking people’s property and converting it to those types of businesses. This is, of course, a bit of hyperbole, though many would make that statement with much more sincerity. A bill passed by the Georgia Legislature would allow local governments to condemn blighted property and sell it to developers. It’s not a bad idea.

The Public Doesn’t Care About Stormwater Management. Here’s Why You Should

Sewer and water drainage systems, the unsung heroes of our communities, are tasked with managing stormwater runoff; yet cities and counties often struggle to convince citizens that such systems are worth the investment. Several Georgia Senators had a grand plan to undermine the system by cutting fees for larger developers at the expense of the average homeowner.

Policing Our Way Toward Walkability

It is downright violent and reckless for a driver to narrowly miss a pedestrian in a crosswalk. But this behavior has been normalized over the years because we fail to enforce the law; perhaps police don’t have the time or they don’t have the interest. Alternatively, we don’t provide enough education to inform drivers and pedestrians of their legal rights and duties. How can we expect people to feel comfortable walking around neighborhoods when the very laws protecting them are ignored or dismissed?

No City Left Behind: How Atlanta's Success Raises Concerns for the Region

We’ll likely see an increase in the number of poorer suburban communities. While Cobb and North Fulton will still have enclaves of wealthier residents, they will increasingly become the destination of lower-income individuals when they are priced out of the walkable Atlanta area. While quality-of-life is an issue even for wealthier residents in auto-centric communities, it is much more of a problem for their poorer residents. Try getting to the grocery store or your job when you don’t have a car and your community doesn’t support sidewalks or alternative transportation. While sitting in traffic on the way to work is stressful, having no transportation options to safely get to that place of work is arguably more stressful.

The Streets Are Alive with the Sound of Surveillance

Chattanooga, TN is currently debating whether to continue the use of a particular advanced line of streetlights that offer the potential for implementing several exciting and useful features. The LED streetlights are more energy efficient and save the city money, and they can also be wirelessly controlled to dim, become brighter, or even flash depending on the needs of the city and the police. In addition, the streetlights may soon have the ability to do something much more controversial: detect meth lab emissions…

…Yet, under the guise of “cracking down on crime,” are we not creating a precedent for increasing the widespread invasion of public privacy? Couldn’t this lead to police gaining the ability to question hundreds of people or search entire blocks of houses if a streetlight detects meth?

Will Uber and Lyft Make Mass Transit Obsolete?

Ridesharing also fills a significant void in late-night transportation options. In most major cities, transit is either non-existent or very limited between 10pm and 4am. Research done by the American Public Transportation Association shows that ridesourcing now accounts for a signficant share of late night/early morning alternative transportation. So perhaps ridesharing alleviates the burden on local governments of needing to provide more late-night transit options. But is that a good thing?

Transit-Oriented Development Can Put A Stop to Metro Atlanta's Growing Pains

Density doesn’t have to be a bad word. Allowing more people to live in strategic and desirable areas in closer proximity to one another doesn’t necessarily mean turning all parts of the region into Manhattan. While we aren’t talking about San Francisco or New York levels of density, we are talking about raising the density levels in certain parts of the region to something a little less Mayberry and a little more DC or Seattle.