“Instead of merely livable, I think we need to start thinking about how we make our cities more lovable. When we love something, we cherish it; we protect it; we do extraordinary things for it.”—Peter Kageyama, For the Love of Cities: The Love Affair Between People and their Places (via lifeonfoot)
Atlanta highways (sections of 400 and 75) take the top two spots on the list.
As I’ve said before, ranking lists of all varieties are overly popular with the media and are seldom a reliable source of quality info about complex topics. But reliable or not, this is the press that the city of Atlanta is getting on a national level.
The county is learning through these lists that Atlanta continues to have a bad traffic problem — one that poses a threat to both quality of life and productivity. The information is being absorbed by companies and residents considering where to relocated and by entities of all types weighing the decision to invest in ATL.
When it comes time for us to vote for transit alternatives in Atlanta, it’s worth thinking about what kind of signal we want to send to the rest of the US about our priorities and our commitment to progress.
Economist predicts migration from ATL center to outer 'burbs
Jed Kolko, chief economist for online real estate search site Trulia, predicts that low home prices in the outer regions of metro Atlanta will lure urban dwellers away from the city to lower-density areas.
"A lot of the search behavior we see is from the central [Atlanta] metro area to some of the smaller lower-density nearby areas.
…Realizing that by moving to the suburbs they can buy a home, many urban dwellers will also add to this future demand as they gravitate away from big cities toward suburban and smaller metros,” Kolko predicted.
Kolko is basing this on Trulia search data (apparently Trulia’s data doesn’t include info about the wretched commute for people who live far from jobs in ATL).
Until the ‘burbs have a massive re-zoning effort to accommodate the growing desire for walkable, mixed-use areas and lower commute times, I give this prediction a big thumbs down.
It’s true that walkable areas can (and will some day) exist outside the urban core via suburban retro-fitting. But not enough of them currently do to lure urbanites away. I can’t imagine giving up my pedestrian-friendly downtown neighborhood just to take advantage of a low-mortgage house in a subdivision outside the city.
123 Luckie Street Lofts Building, Downtown Atlanta
lindsayoberstatlanta posts a beautiful photo of the 123 Luckie building across from the Tabernacle in downtown Atlanta. One of my favorite residential buildings downtown. It was built in 2000 and does a nice job of blending in well with the older architecture of the Fairlie-Poplar district (not an easy feat).
In a post on Grist.com, Jad Daley, director of the climate conservation program at the Trust for Public Land, lists “three up-and-coming cities that we wouldn’t normally think of as particularly livable or green.” Atlanta is one of the three he names and the Beltline project is one of the main reasons.
True enough, there have been some heroic efforts of late to breathe new life into neighborhoods in [Atlanta’s] urban core. And now, the Trust for Public Lands is working with local groups to create the Belt Line, a string of parks and trails built on an abandoned railway encircling downtown and midtown Atlanta.
Between Oct. 10 and 17, Harris Poll surveyed online 2,463 American adults, asking them: “If you could live in or near any city in the country except the one you live in or nearest to now, which would you choose?” Atlanta ranked 15th out of 15 cities in 2011, compared with seventh in 2010. Atlanta ranked as high as third, fourth and second most-popular as recently as 1998, 1999 and 2000, respectively.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to find out what’s driving this continued drop in opinion and address it. Public perception doesn’t sway my attachment to ATL, but it can hurt the city in the long run when it comes to investment and economic growth.
As always with city rankings, take this with a grain of salt and consider it a broad-stroke idea of the public’s view of our city. I don’t vouch for the quality of this survey or the company that conducted it.
Fuel price specialist Bob van der Valk said that oil prices, which have been creeping back toward $100 a barrel, eventually will boost gasoline costs.
"We started high on gasoline prices this year and we stayed high, and we are going to go higher next year," Van der Valk said. "We could be as high as $4.50 a gallon in California by Easter. The rest of the country will be above $4 a gallon by then."
"Localize Your Life" image from Flickr user Ted Ullrich
Why does Atlanta rank so poorly when it comes to moving visitors around the city? Could it be the soul-killing sprawl and car-dependency that separates even the hip intown areas from one another via gulfs of asphalt? Yessir, it might be.
peachtreekeen points out something important to note: this city-ranking survey is pretty flawed. Take a look through the results and there are a lot of “huh?” moments. Savannah ranks higher than Atlanta, for instance, for pizza. I love Savannah, but there’s nothing along the lines of Fritti or Antico there like we have in ATL. Despite it’s flaws, though, it does provide a glimpse of the general public perception of Atlanta as a destination.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports some sobering stats from AAA’s “Crashes vs. Congestion – What’s the Cost to Society?” publication.
…metro Atlanta’s car crashes cost the area $10.8 billion, or $1,979 per person, in 2009. The report also noted 498 deaths and 62,263 injuries related to car crashes in metro Atlanta.
In one year, car crashes cost each of us $1,979 and took 498 lives in our metro. That’s something to consider when debating 1.) expansions to alternative transit and 2.) the development of walkable neighborhoods.