Archive of ‘Built Environment Analysis’ category

Tradition vs. Ambition (Built Envirmoment Analysis)

The built environment of a city consists of various elements that help produce a conducive atmosphere for all that inhabit the space. In the physical environment, the placement of structures ranging from business to domestic, establishes a tone which contributes to the overall balance between commerce and commonwealth. Recreational resources induce fellowship between residents, churning the feeling of cohesiveness throughout the environment. Population size in combination with diversity reveals the built environment’s capacity to provide its residence with individual amenities; while, still encompassing the conventional neighborhood vibe. The city of Decatur located fifteen minutes from downtown Atlanta has captured the finite details of an “ideal” built environment. Decatur’s mastery of a balanced built environment has produces an overwhelming sense of community that surrounds the space. Downtown Atlanta’s built environment strives to produce a “Ideal” perception of community throughout the downtown specter. However, the built environment of Downtown Atlanta is an ever growing built environment. The outcome is a city trying to satisfy the contributing aspects of a built environment without having a steady hand on the inclusive outlook of the space. As a result, Downtown Atlanta’s built environment processes a weaker sense of community.

City of decatur

City of Decatur

Downtown Atlanta Streets

Downtown Atlanta









Upon first glance of the two built environments, the structure provides the most prominent contrast. The city of Decatur’s structures are focused around the community. According to Decatur’s zone ordinance prohibits buildings within the city limits to be taller than two stories or thirty- five feet in vertical height. The ordinance does allow one expectation; a structure may reach maximum of sixty Feet in vertical height. A regulation regulation was constructed for buildings with a maximum height of sixty-feet that requires their boundary line in residential areas to increase by a foot for every building over a vertical height of thirty-five feet which extends to a maximum of sixty-feet. Downtown Atlanta’s structures focus less on the community need and appeal to the business district. Wikipedia’s database rendered, the tallest building in downtown Atlanta is the Bank of America Plaza Building. The building stands at remarkable fifty-five stories or one-thousand and twenty – four feet, the building the eighty-seventh tallest building in the world and tenth tallest in the country. The extreme height of this building is classified as a skyscraper which promotes a busy city individual success orientated environment.

The structural component of the built environment extends further than the buildings within the community. But also the road infrastructure places a role in the greater sense of community. Within downtown Decatur, the city’s main roads such as DeKalb Ave and Ponce De Leon Ave NE are designed for traffic to flow in both directions. Also each road possesses no more than three lanes on either side of the margins. This results in a greater accessibility for drivers and also with small business that occupy either side of the street. By both side of the street being accessible more space for small business are available as well as parking. Downtown Atlanta also possess hub roads within the city. The most well known streets like piedmont avenue and Courtland street are one-way.  These one way streets are large and fast with up four or five lanes. The structure of the roads limits the accessibility and only caters to businesses and cooperation that’s can afford the pace and the parking for residents. By limiting the accessibility the a deeper sense of community is weakened.

Atlanta Traffic Dekalb Ave.

Community resources of the built environments are also a major contribution to the “ideal” balance of the built environment. Green space is key built environments. The city of Decatur has taken the concept of a green space and personalized the space to be utilized for residence to connect with one another. I was able to participate in this fellowship firsthand when I visited Oakhurst Garden in downtown Decatur. The Oakhurst Garden is set up into individual plots. These plot are managed by community residents who pay annual dues and contribute their time throughout the year to maintain the garden’s upkeep and vegetation. As a result, the community residents are allocated their own individual plots to grow any kind of produce, fruits, or other vegetation on their choosing. Oakhurst garden serves as green space to provide the resident of this community with a haven to grow an array of vegetation ranging from seasonal fruits and vegetables to decorative flowers. The Oakhurst garden provides the community with true sense of locally grown produce while, still contributing the environmental benefits while living in an urban neighborhood. Downtown Atlanta most prominent green space is piedmont park. Piedmont park is Atlanta’s prime recreational. The park hosts many events such as yoga in the park, green market, healthy living fitness. These various activities in the park, do help draw residents in the downtown to come together and experience natural camaraderie. The activities help create a deeper sense of community. But the outreach could miss the target audience and draw residents that don’t actually live in the areas. Ultimately creating try to produce a greater sense of community but still not reaching the community mark.

Community Seal

Community Seal

Piedmont Park

Business sectors of a built environment expand the the sense the community by determining how to supply the community’s residents with necessities and commodities. When environments develop a solid foundation for business the end result is a stronger more prosperous community. Decatur has set a strong foundation for the small business within the city. Small businesses in Decatur that are thriving to this success is the Decatur business association. This association has been around for thirty years and acquired more than four-hundred and fifty members of diverse business to join this alliance. Some of the businesses in the all association range from financial institutions, arts groups, organizations and private individuals. This association purpose strives to ensure to the that business in the city of Decatur is attractive and able to attract the residents that live in the community bust also visitor that pass through the city. Also the Decatur Business alliance has such a wider variety of member; the association is able to keep a live pulse on community what cohesive ideas the business owner and residents feel will enhance the city of Decatur while still maintaining a close knit community.

A small business in Decatur I visited was Dancing Goats coffee shop. This small coffee shop caters to the communal feel by providing outdoor furniture that residents are able to tie their pets’ leashes on while taking a break to sip coffee. The interior of the shop has a very intimate experience with walls and lighting warms colors. Dancing Goats coffee shop provided me with a personal feeling of how the city of Decatur strives to be the best constantly preserve the sense of community.

The Downtown Atlanta is dominated by big business. Downtown is home to some of the largest cooperation in the world. Corporations like Coca-Cola and Delta are well known businesses internationally. Last year Coca-Cola that earned a whooping 180 billion dollars. The major corporations set a tone of Big dog and little dog, which leaves, small business has very limited place.  Although major corporations do set the tone small business finds ways to prevail and make an impact on residents in that space. Small businesses in downtown find their niche through supplying services like dry cleaners, nail salons and specialty boutiques. Many times their target customer are the business employee that occupy the major corporations. These small business depend on consumers who work or live around the large corporations that help supply the small businesses. This complex between small business and large corporations. Since overall weakens the community relationship due to the people who occupy the common place are not living residents of the downtown community.




Decatur Business Association

Decatur Business Association

The City of Decatur’s great sense of community has set the example of an “Ideal” community. The City  provides,  the community with road accessibility and structures that highlight community advancements. Also gathering green spaces like the Oakhurst community garden, display the city’s of decatur awareness about being environmentally- friendly. While educating members of the community on how be positively influence the green planet we live on.  These elements of the built envirmoment ultimately produce a diverse atmosphere. Atlanta’s Downtown community has not yet been able to grasp these elements and provide residents of their community with the same holistic experience.

All hope for downtown Atlanta’s sense of community is not lost. The downtown area strengthen its sense of community by taking intuitive to implement programs. First is the structure of converting one- way streets into two-way streets. This will provide more accessibility for residence to to travel from place to another. Additionally by having more two way streets more more business owners would be able have their businesses on main road access streets. Also stating that  Downtown Atlanta could the street access be to have spot specifically designated for small business and others for large corporations.

Environmentally, Downtown Atlanta can utilize the green space the city already owns host specialized community events. Fitness sessions such as yoga at the park can be exclusively promoted to only downtown residents. Also, downtown can construct  in city parks small plots for community residents to grow their fruits and vegetables similar to the city of decatur. The program could have catchy title such as “Veggie Time” or ” Once Upon A Tomato”. This will allow residents to participate in fun community programs that could educate and strengthen relationships in the community.

Downtown Atlanta to promote the formation of a small community business alliance. By Atlanta having small business alliance, businesses can finally step out and provide services for not only to corporate consumers but to to community residents as well.


Work Cited:

“CITY OF DECATUR ZONING ORDINANCE.” 14 Dec. 2014. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.

Parham Kordsmeier, Kate. “Fortune 500 Companies Headquartered in Atlanta, GA.” Travel. 24 Sept. 2015. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.

Building a Successful Business Community Together.” Decatur Business Association. 1 Jan. 2016. Web. 29 Apr. 2016.

Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 1 May 2015. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.

Wheatley, Thomas. “Should Some of Intown Atlanta’s One-way Streets Become Two-way? | Atlanta News & Opinion Blog | Fresh Loaf | Creative Loafing Atlanta.” Creative Loafing Atlanta. 14 Sept. 2011. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.

Coca-Cola Symbol. Digital image. Wikia. 26 May 2014. Web. 29 Apr. 2016.

Known. Decatur Business Alliance. Digital image. 1 Jan. 2016. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.

Known. Piedmont Park. Digital image. Landscape of Piedmont Park. 16 Sept. 2010. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.