The Atlanta Beltline’s Potential to Increase Racial Inequality

Jacob, Brown. “Respatializing Race: The Open Case of the Atlanta Beltline.” Emory University, 2013. Web.

In his thesis “Respatializing Race: The Open Case of the Atlanta Beltline”,  Jacob Brown a student of the London School of Economics at Emory University, discusses the ” spatial dimensions of racial inequality” (3) that exist in Atlanta. In particular he examines the Beltline and “interrogates its broader potential to act as an agent of racial equity” (4). Brown notes that while the Beltline contributes green and art spaces and “connect Atlanta’s neighborhoods through multi-use trails and rail transit” (4) it can also have a “potential effect on Atlanta’s racial inequality” (4). Other projects such as the Olympic Park, Turner Field, Underground Atlanta and Omni International (5) claimed to solve issues similar to those addressed with the Beltline. However, these projects have all led to displaced impoverished black communities. Brown suggests because the Beltline shares characterisitcs of these projects and “how race affected these developments, and vice versa, indicates the Beltline’s potential relationship with racial equity” (7). 

Northeast Beltline (Author’s Own)

This source is useful for researchers because it shows how Atlanta’s environment is built to enhance disparities between  its “wealthy White north side”and “poor Black south side” and how this impact weakens social connections between neighborhoods. In the case of the Beltline the development appears to be beneficial providing “small businesses along the pedestrian trails, residential developments, art installations and parks” (10). However, this small improvement is overshadowed by inequalities. The Beltline rail is designed in a way that “divide neighborhoods and constrain intra-neighborhood connections” (16) leading to social exclusion due to lack of transportation. The purpose of this source is to address how the construction of the Beltline will impact racial equality in Atlanta. Brown believes racial inequality is “not just caused by urban planning decisions” (27) it is a  “much deeper problem that permeates political, economic and social spheres” (27). However, it is important to understand the relationship between urban infrastructure and racial problems. “Design is largely reliant on how each of these spheres reacts to it” (27), infrastructure serves as a tool that can either mend or intensify conflicts. 

Activity #3 Key Words/Terms

  1. “Old Fourth Ward”
  2. “Gentrification of Atlanta”
  3. “Revitalization”
  4. “Beltline”
  5. “racial inequality”
  6. “white flight”
  7. “racial gerrymandering”
  8. “urban renewal”
  9. “04w”
  10. “old fourth ward” “history”
  11. “ponce city market” “discrimination”
  12. “”ponce city market” “history”
  13. “old fourth ward” “race”
  14. “old fourth ward” “segregation”
  15. “homeless”
  16. “Space”
  17. “Black gentrification”
  18. “Old Fourth Ward” “arrest”
  19. “Ponce City Market” “arrest”
  20. “Old Fourth Ward” “Murals”
  21. “Ponce City Market” “demographics”




Mid-term Reflection (not finished)

So far this course “English 1102: The Rhetoric of Space and Place in Atlanta” had challenged my understanding of the composition process  in a way that inspires me to compose work that is not only persuasive or rhetorical but also effective in conveying  ideas through various modes of communication, particularity visuals and space. The academic writing process in this course varies from how I learned to write and do research in the past because it me think of my work as a publication and not just an arbitrary essay I wrote the night before. In my opinion, this encourages me to put more effort into my work, however it also creates a sense of anxiety.

After working through the first major projects (reading summaries, annotated bibliographies, and built environment descriptions), I have learned that primary research and secondary research are both nessecary to discover the true essence of a topic. Primary research helps form personal ideas while secondary research provides credible sources and information to back it up.

The rhetorical situation for the compositions I am creating for this course is less formal and more discussion based.