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.