The Financial Wall that Divides Metropolitan Atlanta

Photos around Vine City in Atlanta.

Vine City in Atlanta.

Today, Atlanta is one of the most fastest growing urban cities in the country. New buildings and roads are being built and remodeled everyday, but what majority people don’t realize is that there is an unbalanced growth in the city of Atlanta. When one drives through the current day city of Atlanta, one area of the city in the north will have lavish new apartments and beautifully groomed green spaces, but as you make your way down into the south one could see a poverty stricken neighborhood with wore down streets and disparaging homes. The gap between the rich and poor is clearly seen within the built environment in Atlanta. The uneven distribution of wealth in north and southern Atlanta could leads to a profuse amount of issues in the community; the regions concentrated poverty is growing disproportionately and has strong racial dimensions which leads to issues with undermined neighborhoods, economic opportunities, and urban sprawl.

tumblr_lqjind1RIO1qc63pwo1_500Being a local resident of a city there’s a clear separation of classes within the city. The poor are usually concentrated in central parts of the city while the middle-income and high-income population are living in the suburbs. But this norm for separation of class has change in Metro Atlanta in the last decade, where suburbs around the city are experiencing the faster rate of poverty growth. Between 2000 and 2010, poverty increased 5.9 percent in the suburbs compared to 1.7 percent in the city. In Metropolitan Atlanta’s suburbs the most concentrated region of poverty would be in the south; counties such as DeKalb, Douglas, Clayton, and south Fulton. Neighborhoods in these areas consist of aged impoverished houses lined up along unattended depleting cement streets with broken-down cars parked on their side walks. Notice early when I said south Fulton, instead of Fulton county as a whole, it is because Fulton county is a prime example for the separation of rich and poor. Residents in northern Fulton are middle to high income families living in new subdivision of three and four-bedroom two-story homes with high-ceilinged great rooms and luxurious master baths that sell in the $300,000s range, compared to our southern Fulton county counterparts. One reason that low-income families live in the southern part of the metropolitan area is that there is almost no affordable housing elsewhere. That is partly because subsidized housing tends to be located in distressed inner-city and older-suburban neighborhoods and partly because wealthier suburbs practice exclusionary zoning and limit affordable housing within their borders. Therefore, the issue with the poor is that they are forced to live in these crippling houses and run-down neighborhoods because their economic state won’t allow them to afford a better environment. A series of studies from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania has shown that, “despite receiving federal anti-poverty aid, cities with high levels of poverty have to spend more of their own revenues on direct poverty expenditures (ex. welfare, public health, and hospitals) than do jurisdictions with low poverty.” Meaning that the residents and businesses in that region are paying for poverty’s cost as the expense of better service and infrastructure; which they are not getting at the same time. Living in a very poor neighborhood exacerbates the difficulties of being poor.

0000_2086434772_medium St-Amour-Johns-Creek-Estate-Home-Georgia-3                  Both houses are located in Fulton County

Marta-Rail-2-610x350For Residents living in poor southern neighborhoods in Metropolitan Atlanta, they are often tied to having insufficient economic opportunities too. Poverty affects the geography of opportunity for those people living in the suburbs.  Neighborhoods of extreme poverty are isolated from economic and educational opportunities elsewhere in the city or region. Poor residents often lack the means to information about suburban jobs andreliable and affordable transportation to those jobs. Nearly 350,000 new jobs have been added to the Atlanta region since 1990, but almost three-fourths of this job growth has occurred in the northern part of Metro Atlanta. Welfare recipients and the working poor are the ones who are most likely to fill entry-level jobs, such as administration, sales, transportation and service sector jobs; but these jobs are moving outward away form the core of the Atlanta region, where it is needed most. Another factor that is the cause of this unbalanced growth of economic opportunity roots from the lack of transportation in Metro Atlanta. Since Atlanta was built on a highway system, not only is the city’s traffic notorious of being the worst in the country, the working poor who do have jobs but no car have trouble getting to and from work due to the lack of public transportation. This also leads to issues with social mobility, meaning the youth that are born into poverty are at a disadvantage when making it into wealthier level of society. Elizabeth Kneebone of the Brooking’s Institution states that, “the fact that more poor people live in the suburbs doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If low-income residents have access to good job opportunities, affordable housing, low crime rates, and good schools, then the suburbs can provide a path out of poverty”. But the poverty has increased so expeditiously in some suburbs, many of these communities require the infrastructure, safety-net supports, and resources that can allow residents to get out of their poverty stricken lives.

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The issues stated above with the lack of housing and economic opportunity for the poor all relate to the disproportionate issue with race. North of Interstate 20, in Gwinnett, Cobb, and Cherokee counties; White make up 80 percent of the region. Where in the south, Fulton and DeKalb are home to 74 percent of the regions non-white population. There is clear distinction of segregation when looking at these numbers. Many studies have documented that the segregation of African-Americans across the country, not just in Atlanta, has remained high. In American Apartheid, authors Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton found that segregation levels were almost as high for affluent and middle-class blacks as for poor blacks, and that blacks were more segregated than other racial groups, even if those other groups were mostly poor. Racial segregation along with concentration of poverty and growing economic inequality, results in growing isolation of poor minority households. Even though racial discrimination is declining in the present day; for blacks, it does not appear that this has translated into them being able to move into better neighborhoods. In 2000, the medium income for blacks were $35,306 and for whites $51,459. While blacks earn about 60 percent of what whites earn, their net wealth is approximately one-tenth that of whites. These racial disparities reflect where blacks and whites are located in Metro Atlanta, along with the spatial and racial inequalities that are directly associated with access to virtually all products and services associated with a good life; such as health, education, and employment. Due to racial segregation within the environment blacks along with other minorities are prevented from improving their lives because they are faced with issues that middle and upper class whites don’t usually face. In Gregory D. Squire’s Privileged Places, he states that “in many cities, racial differences in poverty levels, employment opportunities, wages, education, housing and health care, among other things, are so strong that the worst urban conditions in which whites reside are considerably better than the average conditions of black communities. All these issues originate from the local government decisions and their policies. Those decisions often have, by design, exclusionary implications that limit opportunities, particularly for low-income households and people of color. Due to these decisions to isolate unwanted races from certain regions; some racial minorities who could afford to live in better housing face conflict and hassle outside their communities forcibly leading them to choose a segregated neighborhood for their home. It is these forms of racial segregation that continues to fuel patterns disparity relating to economic and racial sprawl.

Evidence shows that there is a strong financial wall that separates the fortunate from the less fortunate in Metropolitan Atlanta, where there is growing gap between northern and southern residents in the suburbs surrounding the city of Atlanta. This major issue is rooted in the inequality of housing, economic opportunities, and race within the south. There is a never ending cycle of poverty due to the isolation of the poor from economic and educational opportunities that they need in order to improve their lives and escape suffering. In the last decade, Metro Atlanta’s suburbs poverty has nearly doubled leading to the disproportionate growth of population, further widening the gap between the rich and poor, a majority of who which are minorities. This economic disparity has gone ignored by local government, advancing polices that limit and segregate low-income households and people of color. There needs to be a demand for change. Residents in Atlanta must wake up and realize this a crucial concern dealing with the people that make up this beautiful and amazing city. Atlanta is slowly becoming one of the most diverse city in America, issues with inequality of poverty and race should no longer be an issue, if the residents of city see how ugly certain places of their hometown are; there is a hope that people will come together and reform a change to the economic/racial separation that is prominent in Metropolitan Atlanta.


Work Cited:

Pugh, Margaret. Moving Beyond Sprawl : The Challenge For Metropolitan Atlanta. n.p.: Washington, DC : Brookings Institution Center on Urban & Metropolitan Policy, c2000., 2000. GEORGIA STATE UNIV’s Catalog. Web. 29 Apr. 2016.

Feliciano, Ivette. “Here’s What Concentrated Poverty Looks like in South Atlanta.” N.p., 9 May 2015. Web. 29 Apr. 2016.

Peterson, Mark. “Sprawled Out in Atlanta.” POLITICO Magazine. N.p., 8 May 2014. Web. 29 Apr. 2016.

Semuels, Alana. “Suburbs and the New American Poverty.” The Atlantic 7 Jan. 2015. The Atlantic. Web. 29 Apr. 2016.

Squires, Gregory, and Charis Kubrin. “Privileged Places.” N.p., 2006. Web. 25 Mar. 2016.

Digital Built Environment Description: Central Atlanta Progress and Atlanta Downtown Improvement District

logo@2xThe official homepage for Central Atlanta Progress and Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (CAP/ADID) can be found with the link: Working side by side, CAP and ADID are committed to creating a thriving Downtown Atlanta community for all of its property owners, employees, residents, students and visitors. The work of CAP and ADID includes a broad range of innovative programs and public-private partnerships focused on the economic development, the physical environment and the marketing of Downtown Atlanta.

Upon visiting the site, visitors can see that the homepage is pretty straightforward with it organization, where each section is categorized into its own box laid out across the webpage. The first thing that draws the visitors attention would be the circulating pictures with links to further information, positioned at the center frame of the website. The pictures that are in repeat circulation shows images of vibrant popular Downtown Atlanta locations with its people and the organizations that reside within its city. Next to this are links to their social media networks and information about CAP/ADID and what the organization does. The CAP/ADID’s homepage also provides a quick overview of information about news, upcoming events, and a blog relating to Downtown Atlanta. For more in-depth information on events coming to Downtown Atlanta visitors can click on the link Events, same thing goes for Downtown Atlanta News and Blog.

The website is notably simplistic and easy when it comes to navigation. On the top of the homepage are six colorful tabs clearly labeled categorizing the central information of the website. Each tab drops down, when visitors hover their mouse over them which further breaks down that tabs category into further topics. Plus the tabs are always on the top of the website, so that the visitors can access them on whatever webpage they are on. The first tab on the website is Plans & Initiatives, this page lists all the current innovative programs that the CAP/ADID are working on. Visitors can click on the title of the programs to be linked to more information on how the program is helping Downtown Atlanta’s development. The second tab is Have Fun, this page showcases all the recreational attractions around Downtown Atlanta in a categorize list of links. The links are organized in categories such as, architecture, dining, hotels, parks, shopping, sports, and walking tours. Each link directs to a webpage that gives places relating to that topic and even pins it on a map for you. This page was clearly aimed at tourist looking for a fun places to visit in Downtown Atlanta. The third and fourth tabs are Live Here and Do Business. The Live Here tab gives reasons on why visitors of this site should live in Downtown Atlanta, giving links to residential profiles, Downtown neighborhoods, school and daycare info. The Do Business tab explains the goals of CAP/ADID in terms of economic development within Downtown Atlanta. The fifth tab is Be Green, this page describes the sustainability program of CAP/ADID named Downtowns Green Source. This webpage is committed to showing the implementations and support the CAP/ADID are doing to promote a sustainable Downtown Atlanta. Links are listed to provide more information on sustainable transportation, waste diversion, water conservation and green spaces. The last tab is Membership, this page tries to convince visitors to join and become a member of Central Atlanta Progress (CAP). This webpage gives reason on why some should become a member and how; also it showcases all the organizations that are current members on the side of the webpage.

The Central Atlanta Progress and Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (CAP/ADID) is a website that tries exhibit how life is in Downtown Atlanta and the organization that keeps it thriving. Although the website design itself is kind of bland and monotoned, it makes up for it with its vibrant colorful pictures of Downtown Atlanta location and people with accurate and insightful information about the city locations and the organization that keeps it running smoothly.

Digital Built Environment: Digital Record 6

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When clicking on the Be Green tab on the homepage, the website directs you to this webpage on sustainability. The webpage introduces Downtown Green Source, the sustainability program of Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (CAP/ADID). There are links to different initiatives in promoting Downtown Atlanta to become more economic and environmentally sustainable; like sustainable transportation, water conservation, waste diversion, and green space.

Digital Built Environment: Digital Record 5

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From the Live Here and Do Business tabs on the homepage, the website brings you to these two webpages. The first webpage is under the Live Here tab provide information on why visitors should be a Downtown Atlanta resident, with links to resident profiles, downtown neighborhoods, school and daycare information. The second webpage is under the Do Business tab explains how CAP dedicates its initiative in promoting economic vitality. These two webpage are obviously aimed at trying to convince people to live in Downtown Atlanta.

Digital Built Environment: Digital Record 4

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When clicking on the Membership tab on the homepage, the website directs you to this page. This page provides information about CAP and what it does. It also explains to the visitor of all the benefits that could be taken advantage of by becoming a member of CAP. On the side are logos of different organization that are current CAP Members. On the bottom of the page provides link to a membership application.

Digital Built Environment: Digital Record 3

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When clicking on the Have Fun tab on the homepage, the website directs to this page which is different categories of links relating to different popular location around Downtown Atlanta. The different topics include; Architecture, Art and Culture, Dining, Nightlife, Shopping, and Sports. Each link brings you to another page which gives you more information of the topic at hand and a map with those places pinned on it. This page is probably aimed at touristing looking to visit Downtown Atlanta.

Digital Built Environment: Digital Record 2

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When clicking on the Plans & Initiatives tab on the homepage, the website directs to this page. This page shows the titles of new programs CAP and ADID are currently involved in; below each program is a small summary about it. Each program title has a link that directs you to more in depth information about it. The works of CAP and ADID on this page includes a broad range of innovative programs and public-private partnerships focused on the economic development, the physical environment and the marketing of Downtown Atlanta.

Digital Built Environment: Digital Record 1

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This is the homepage of Central Atlanta Progress and Atlanta Downtown Improvement District. On the top of the page there are six tabs divided into categories, with the first five relating to the topics/info the website covers, and the last tab offers information on how to be a member of CAP or ADID. Below that are circulating images with links that showcase events, popular location, transportation and organizations around Atlanta. On the side of the webpage are links to their social media sites, information about CAP and ADID, Downtown Atlanta Blog, and current and upcoming events in downtown Atlanta.

Annotated Bibliography 10

Squires, Gregory, and Charis Kubrin. “Privileged Places.” N.p., 2006. Web. 25 Mar. 2016.
In Gregory Squires article, he argues that racial disparities between cities and suburbs, and racial segregation in general, persist as dominant features of metropolitan areas. Urban American cities are disproportionately non-white, especially with segregation particularly between blacks and whites. Currently, if segregation is declining, for blacks, it does not appear that this has translated into them being able to move into better neighborhoods. Segregation, in conjunction with the concentration of poverty and growing economic inequality, results in growing isolation of poor minority households. With this segregation in urban infrastructure it can lead to many other issues. Spatial and racial inequalities are directly associated with access to services and opportunities required for a good and sustainable life; health, education, and employment. Squires concludes his argument by stating while the quality of life for racial minorities has improved over the years, such approaches simply do not recognize the extent to which race and racism continue to shape the opportunity structure in the United States and advocated for policies of reform.
I chose this source because is relates to many cities in America including Atlanta, where you can see a wide gap between rich and poor, and often it is between whites and other racial groups.

Annotated Bibliography 9

Lowson, Martin. “New Approach to Effective and Sustainable Urban Transport.” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 1838 (2003): 42–49. (Atypon). Web.Heathrow-BAA-ULTra-2-537x307
           Martin Lowson begins his argument by pointing out out that principle forms of surface transportation have change over the past 200 years. Lowson believes that a new form of transportation is approaching as a solution with the current issues we have with urban transportation we have to day. He raises issues such as current types of public transport are not sustainable and unable to meet the dispersed personal travel demand characteristic of current forms of multi-center city. Lowson offers a solution by introducing ULTra (Urban Light Transport). ULTra is also complementary to existing forms of transport, by providing a network link to major rail or bus stations, it can improve the attraction of current transport services. In comparison to previous forms of public transport, there is no waiting, no stopping and no transfers within the system. In many circumstances, it can offer better transport than any other available means.
           I chose this source because it is closely related to what we have in metro-Atlanta today and that would be MARTA. This article is a good source that points out the flaws and provide solutions to the issues we have with MARTA in our city.