Category: Land Use

Savannah Offers Yet Another Example of Why Good Urban Design is Important

Savannah Postcard

An abundance of asphalt and concrete increases air temperatures locally, which can exacerbate the effects of heat waves and generally cause unpleasant conditions. This is known as the urban heat island effect and it can be true for both sprawled suburbs and dense cities. Savannah’s beautiful green spaces offer a prime example of how the benefits of dense development can be achieved while mitigating or eliminating the urban heat island effect.

If Buckhead’s the Jewel of Atlanta, Why Does it Feel So 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.

When it Comes to Zoning Changes, Time Waits for No Plan

This is an important question since structures built under the auspices of an old zoning code that are now excluded from the current zoning code are at odds with the updated vision for the community. This may not be a big deal when, say, a house is constructed a year after an area is rezoned for commercial use. However, it becomes increasingly problematic when that house is now a power plant and the one year has increased to ten. This ability to develop based on a 10 year old zoning code creates uncertainty for potential residents and developers who may find the nonconforming development to be an undesirable neighbor.

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.