Binkovitz, Leah. “Atlanta BeltLine Creator Resigns Citing Affordability, Equity Concerns.” The Urban Edge. Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Sept. 2016. Web. Nov. 2016.
Atlanta BeltLine Creator Resigns Citing Affordability, Equity Concerns
This article details the resigning of Ryan Gravel, the creator of the Beltline, from the Beltline Board. The author explains that he left due to fears of lack of affordable housing and gentrification. She also writes that the Beltline “set aside $7.5 million for affordable housing.” She includes brief summaries of Gravel’s reasoning for the Beltline, including details of railroad reuse and terrible traffic patterns. As reasoning for his resignation, Binkovitz says that Gravel left due to the fact that the Beltline started out as a “grassroots” effort, but had become a project revolved around funding. Later on, Binkovitz describes the Beltline’s comprehensive plan for the Trust for Public Land. She outlines how the Beltline currently embraces green space in an urban city, economic development, equality, and less automobile use. Compared to the previous source I collected, this article shows just how important the idea of participatory planning is to the creator of the Beltline, Ryan Gravel. The writer describes how he and his colleague felt about leaving: “The two said they were still optimistic about the project’s future and ‘committed to remain active in its implementation for the people of this city,’ but that they felt ‘compelled to concentrate our efforts more directly on making sure that the Atlanta BeltLine lives up to its promise and potential, and specifically, that its investments and supporting policies become more intentional about who they will benefit.’” With huge urban projects like the Beltline, the people of a city must be able to have their voice heard regarding the planning and development of such projects. The source comes from a blog created at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Leah Binkovitz is a journalist, not an urban designer or city planner, and therefore, her article can be seen as observation rather than analysis or study.
Bogle, Mary, Somala Diby, and Eric Burnstein. “Equitable Development Planning and Urban Park Space.” Urban.org. Urban Institute, July 2016. Web. Nov. 2016.
This report discusses the ideas of equitable development planning for urban space projects and the effectiveness of creating parks for the sake of equity. The report focuses on the 11th Street Bridge Park in Washington D.C., which currently only exists on paper. The authors of the report spend a brief time describing the park, and the park’s general goals. They then overview the idea of equity in urban planning, and how participatory planning can allow “increased voice and greater control by affected communities.” They also explain how parks are specific spaces made for the common people, and how they are meant to “provide safe spaces for recreation and build communities through interaction and organized activities.” The report then discusses the different cultural and economic tensions that have existed in D.C. and how the park plans to influence these regions. As they describe the park in further detail, as well as provide gorgeous images of the soon-to-be park, the authors point out the fact that the planners of the park reached out to community members about how the park could affect them economically. The authors then outline very specific and detailed plans for how the park would be planned with equity, and how the park would only benefit those living around it, including with affordable housing. This report is relevant to the Beltline due to the fact that the Beltline is so focused around the idea of community involvement. The Beltline has its own group of activists in Atlanta working to make sure it becomes the project that citizens want it to be. This report effectively outlines how a park/urban design project can benefit from participatory planning on the people’s part. The very end of the report contains numerous sources as well as descriptions on all three of the authors. All three are research associates with backgrounds in urban planning, housing, and inequality in cities. The park discussed in this source has many similar goals to the Beltline that Ryan Gravel wanted.
Thaden, Emily, and Mark Perlman. “Creating and Preserving Reasonably-Priced Housing near Public Transportation.” CLT Network. National Community Landtrust Network, n.d. Web. Nov. 2016.
The article/webpage entitled “Creating and Preserving Reasonably-Priced Housing near Public Transportation” outlines the advantages of establishing affordable housing near public transportation, as well as ways to create affordable housing. The strategies described in the article are referred to as “Equitable Transit-Oriented Development” strategies. The authors, Emily Thaden and Mark Perlman, also provide a step-by-step plan for how to “plan, develop, and preserve” affordable housing. The article proceeds to outline numerous acronyms for various groups and programs such as Limited Equity Cooperatives, Community Land Trusts, and Deed-Restricted Housing. The writers outline the FasTracks program in Denver as an example of transit development partnered with affordable housing funds. Later on, they describe “Land Banks” governmental entities that convert vacant or abandoned property into land for productive use, and they use the Atlanta Beltline as an example of this. They write, “The Fulton County/City of Atlanta Land Bank Authority acquires and holds properties near the planned Atlanta Beltline. They also partner with local community land trusts for disposition of these properties.” I found this source to be extremely informative and useful regarding the Beltline, because one of the main concerns of Atlanta citizens is that the Beltline will cause gentrification and that there will be an extreme lack of affordable housing along and near the Beltline. This was specifically a concern for Ryan Gravel, the creator of the Beltline, whose main purpose was to promote affordable housing on the trail. The article ends with numerous resources and is supported by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Both Thaden and Perlman work for the National Community Land Trust Network.
Epsten, Dagmar B., and M. Arch. “INNER-RING SUSTAINABLE URBAN REGENERATION, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, USA.”
Dagmar Epsten writes about three specific downtown locations in Atlanta that have achieved certification under LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. She describes the locations to be within the “inner-city ring” of Atlanta that contains low-to-medium density of population.
She introduces the paper with a detailed description of the factors of Atlanta’s urban sprawl, which is the largest in the entire nation. Dagmar uses this introduction of sprawl to establish the idea of developments that present an alternative to urban sprawl.
The three examples used in the paper include Atlantic Station, Technology Square at Georgia Tech, and Edgewood Offices. For each, Dagmar describes the location, density, transportation, and urban environmental benefits.
Toward the end of the paper, Dagmar discusses the utilization of “inner-ring development” in Atlanta. She describes how the trend of the past several years has been to redevelop these areas to create more sustainable development. Here, she begins to write about the Beltline, and how the project connects the “underutilized areas” in the inner ring. Dagmar says the Beltline “would also likely contribute to transportation and density goals for developments in its proximity which like the projects presented in this paper, might aspire to be examples of sustainable development and perhaps also pursue LEED objectives”.
Dagmar Epsten was the president of The Epsten Group Inc., a sustainable building design firm located in Atlanta. She received her education at Georgia Tech and is currently employed there as a lecturer in the College of Design. Much of her career has revolved around the design of building that pass LEED requirements, which are mentioned throughout the source.
Hegeman, K. (2016). Conversations in clay: Engaging community through a socially engaged public art project. The Journal ofArt for Life. 8(2).
“Conversations in Clay: Engaging community through a socially engaged public art project” describes the 2013 public art project installed on the Atlanta Beltline known as “Conversations in Clay”. Kira Hegeman writes about how the project created a space for community members to communicate and make art together, and how these activities were meant to make an impact. The project was a part of the public art festival known as “Art on the Beltline”, which provides spaces for artists to create public art along the bike/walking trails. Hegeman spends the first half of the article describing the goals of the project and how it was going to work. Hegeman explains that one of the priorities of the project was to initiate conversation and social interaction through art making. She says, “Conceptually, the project was a fusion of public are and community art”. Her and her colleagues chose to use Georgia clay for the sculptures in order to allow a feeling of connection to the location. They also chose a theme of “dreams” because it “reinforced their initial goal of opening an environment for conversation through the outlet of art making”.
Hegeman spends the second half of her article actually outlining how the project turned out. The project had four sessions, each with different turnouts. She describes how the third session was nearly ruined by a rainstorm, but how the forced collaboration of the participants created a feeling of closeness early on in the session. Hegeman also gives specific examples of some participants, such as a woman who sculpted her “first novel” as a reflection of her dreams, and how a family of four created sculptures influenced by dreams they had had in their sleep.
The project outlined in Hegeman’s article really portrays the abilities of the Beltline, specifically the “Art on the Beltline” project. Ryan Gravel designed the Beltline with the idea in mind that it would create an environment that catalyzed social interaction amongst everyday people, and this article reflects a perfect example of that. Throughout the article, Hegeman cites several sources varying from other art journals and newspapers.
The very end of the article describes Kira Hegeman. The article was written in 2016 while Kira was pursuing her PhD in Art Education at UGA. She also worked as the Art Director for an organization in Thailand called Art Relief International, where she grew her interest in public art.
HAYNIE, S. Dawn. “THE ATLANTA STREETCAR: an analysis of its development and growth as it relates to the Core Cognitive Structure of the City.”
Dawn Haynie writes “The Atlanta Streetcar: An analysis of its development and growth as it relates to the Core Cognitive Structure Of the City” to describe and analyze the Streetcar system in Atlanta. The work is a paper she wrote while attending Georgia Tech College of Architecture, however, Haynie is now currently an Assistant Professor of Interior Design at Georgia State. She has earned her Bachelor’s degree in Architecture at Auburn; Master’s in Science, History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Urban Design at Georgia Tech; and PhD in Urban Morphology at Tech as well.
Haynie begins with a brief history of the railroads in Atlanta and how/why streetcars were eventually created as well. She mentions how Atlanta was previously known as Georgia’s terminus for railway, connecting several major railroads. She writes about how Richard Peters and George Adair founded the first streetcar system in Atlanta, the Atlanta Streetcar Railway Company, which used cars driven by horses and mules. As problems began to affect the streetcar system such as labor disputes and fixed fares, the city felt the need to adopt some sort of plan to better organize the system: the “Constructive Plan for Present and Future Transportation in Atlanta”. This allowed the streetcar system to be changed and altered with time, which eventually led to the use of the motorbus, which then led to the creation of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA).
The rest of Haynie’s essay consists of an in-depth, complex analysis of the streetcar system, including two ideas that might not be easily comprehensible to people unknown to the subject: metric reach and directional reach. Haynie refers to these ideas many times to explain the placement of certain rails. She explains that the streetcar system was built mostly focusing on the “shifting directional reach core structure of the city”. Haynie then explains what has essentially caused the system to fail, including cost and the advancement of the car.
Her essay ends with several detailed maps of the advancement of the streetcar system through time. The maps help illustrate the relationship between the growth of the streetcar and directional reach.
I chose this source because I believe it is informative on the topic of public transportation, and the fact that the streetcar was built in relation to old railroads is similar to the construction of the Beltline. Gravel wrote in his book on the Beltline, Where We Want to Live, that the eventual plan to the beltline is to build some sort of railway system. This essay contributes to that conversation with the previous history of Atlanta’s streetcar system, and how directional reach affected the density of our street structure in the city.
Konrad, Miriam Fiedler, “Transporting Atlanta: The Mode of Mobility under Construction.” Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2006.
In “Transporting Atlanta: The Mode of Mobility Under Construction”, specifically chapter 5, “The Beltline: Great Green Hope”, Miriam Fiedler Konrad thoroughly describes the pros, cons, and intentions behind the Beltline project of Atlanta. The main reason I selected this work over others is because Konrad goes extremely in-depth with the Beltline, referencing multiple scholars and professors throughout the work, giving their thoughts and opinions on the matter as well as her own. The source itself serves as Konrad’s dissertation for her PhD in Philosophy at Georgia State. This is both good and bad for the source as a whole. Given that she’s a student, her opinions on the subject at hand could be considered ill-informed due to her lack of experience. However the fact that she is earning her doctorate degree, and is having to cite many different credible sources to back up her thesis, gives the source much more backbone.
First, Konrad answers the question “What is the BeltLine?” by outlining the first ideas of the BeltLine, showing images, and informing the reader of the groups and individuals involved with creating the concept of the BeltLine. She describes in detail the original purposes behind the creation of the Beltline, as well as different reasons people may support or protest its creation. Konrad then goes into detail about the politics and the funding behind the project, explaining where the money comes from and why. She explains that much of the purpose behind the Beltline is to give Atlanta the aspect of “flavor” that its always lacked. Overall, this Georgia State Alumnus provides a very clear, detailed history and logic behind the Beltline.
Hurley, Joseph, “1949 Atlanta Aerial Mosaic Project Reveals Built Environment Change” (2014). Selections from the University Library Blog. Paper 11.
This article is written by Georgia State’s very own Joseph Hurley, who teaches on Geographic Information Systems, social sciences, and geography. He teaches the American Studies Cluster seminar, which revolves around mapping historic and current Atlanta.
His article “1949 Atlanta Aerial Mosaic Project Reveals Built Environment Change” shows several pairs of images collected by the Georgia State University Library that reflect the the regional changes that have occurred over the past 50 years. The images depict a mostly residential Atlanta becoming an automobile-driven urban city. They show how buildings, streets, and infrastructure have drastically changed to accommodate the Atlanta commuter. One set of images shows the drastic changes that occurred in the Ponce City Market area, which was once home to a train track and the Sears Robuck Building.
I chose this source for its use of imagery. The pictures shown depict the infrastructural changes that have influenced the construction of the Beltline and other urban renewal projects in Atlanta throughout the years.
The credibility of this source mostly comes from the fact that the images were found with Google images, and that the writer is a well-respected faculty member of the university. His past with geographical history and GIS knowledge helps further his credibility, along with the fact that the article itself was published by the GSU Library.
Clark, Jennifer. “Rethinking Atlanta’s Regional Resilience in an Age of Uncertainty: Still the Economic Engine of the New South?,” 2014. https://works.bepress.com/jennifer_j_clark/29/.
Jennifer Clark outlines the economic, industrial, and social transformations of the Atlanta region from over the past 20 years. She provides many credible statistics on graduation rates, GDP rates, and employment rates that apply to the metro-Atlanta area as a whole. She uses these statistics to support the idea that Atlanta is a complicated, dynamic industrial region. Clark spends much of the chapter explaining how diverse Atlanta’s economy is compared to most large urban cities, and how this diversification has caused what she refers to as “uneven transformations” to be added to the city’s infrastructure. She explains how Atlanta’s recent “policies and projects send mix signals” about whether or not the city will prioritize “both the community and the economy”.
Clark specifically refers to both the Atlanta Beltline and Ponce City Market in the section entitled “Uneven Transformations: Twenty-First Century Urban Entrepreneurialism (Universities, BeltLines, Stadiums, and Real Estate Development)”, and she actually refers to Georgia State as well. She mentions how the Beltline and the urban renewal project that became Ponce City Market are both prime examples of urban innovation and economic development strategy. Clark also outlines some of the inspirations behind the BeltLine and specific projects that helped fuel its creation.
Jennifer Clark cites many credible sources throughout her work such as the New York Times, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and many different journals that cover specific issues of Atlanta. The work itself is only a chapter from the book entitled Planning Atlanta: Ruins and Resurgence. Her chapter essentially describes Atlanta’s recent economic tendencies and how the city’s government has reacted to it. With low income rates, employment rates, and graduation rates, the city still possibly made decisions that did not prioritize the improvement of these numbers, which is exactly what Clark describes in her work.