Exterior Built Environment Description: Virginia Highlands

The Virginia-Highlands is a neighborhood within the city of Atlanta; it is located in between Druid Hills and Midtown, north of Little Five Points. The lovely neighborhood has record of settlement dated back to the early 1800’s. Virginia-Highlands has a mixture of urban shops, trendy restaurants, and suburban bungalows. As I strolled around Virginia-Highlands, I realized there is a lot more than meets the eye. To a passerby the space just appears as a nicer part of Atlanta with some shops and places to eat. However, I discovered so much more as I began listening, watching, and feeling the area that surrounded me.


Cheerful pastel colors like orange, green, and blue covered the storefronts and made me feel welcome and eager to explore. The space is very easy to move around in, free of crowds and obstacles. Many of the restaurants have outdoor patios, balconies, and some even have entire walls open to the outdoors. The signage is very useful and clear. I noticed markers above many of the street signs; they read ‘Historic Atkins Park’. Atkins Park is a large area within Virginia-Highlands that came about in the early 1900’s. These act as boundaries for the area and let people know when they have entered or left Virginia Highlands. I found these very helpful as I meandered around. From time to time I would look up and notice the signs were not present anymore, which was my queue to turn around. The majority of the neighborhood is laid out in such a way that the homes are on one side of the street while the attractions are on the other. This keeps the homes separate from any noise that nightlife may produce, giving those streets more of a suburban atmosphere.


As I continued my exploration around the area I began to notice all the different sounds that met my ears. Pleasant music crept out of open shop windows, fallen leaves rustling across the concrete, and cars slowly passing by. The speed limit within the area is fairly slow, so this eliminates most sounds of vehicles zooming by. I stopped by a coffee shop called Henry and Jane where I heard the familiar sounds of an espresso machine and the clanking of the milk steamer. I wandered across the two-lane street to shady New Highland Park, which is one of several parks in the area. I noticed that the Highlands is quieter than most other parts of Atlanta. The sounds did not make me feel anxious or flustered like many other urban areas; I felt content and peaceful as I strolled around.


Overall, Virginia-Highlands is pleasant and has a perfect combination of suburban and city living. I do not think this site necessarily targets a specific user; I saw an array of people as I explored. However, based on the layout and price point of the homes and shops, I would say the area is family oriented and mainly caters to the middle-class or higher. This site made me feel welcome and I would not hesitate to return!

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