"Retrofitting Suburbia" documentary on PBA, June 18

The Atlanta Beltline blog posts about a public-television documentary I’m looking forward to. It’s the first of a four-part series that links car-dependent sprawl to health problems and offers solutions.

A provocative new 4-hour series, “Designing Healthy Communities.” Host/Narrator Richard Jackson, MD, MPH, looks at the impact our built environment has on key public health indices – obesity, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, cancer and depression.

"Retrofitting Suburbia" has a special focus on two Atlanta projects- the Atlanta BeltLine and Atlantic Station.

You can read more about the series on the Designing Healthy Communities site.

As Dr. Jackson has revealed several times in interviews, he had an epiphany about the connection between bad health and the car-centric built environment while on Atlanta’s Buford Highway:

On the side of the road he saw an elderly woman walking, bent with a load of shopping bags. It was a blisteringly hot day, and there was little hope that she would find public transportation. At that moment, Dr. Jackson says, “I realized that the major threat was how we had built America.”

Atlantic Station, Atlanta
Instragram user vicdmnds shares a nice photo of Atlantic Station.
I had a pleasant trip here with the family over the weekend. I’ve said some unkind things about this development in the past, but it’s grown on me. Nonetheless, I still maintain that it needs some improvement to help it feel more like a complete neighborhood and to be better connected with the rest of Midtown.
My Atlantic Station wish list:
A public park with a playground
A public library
Don’t wait for a slam-bang skyscraper project to fill up the undeveloped holes on 17th Street. Pretty much anything would be better than the nothing that’s there. My suggestion: community gardens.
Something interesting on the 17th Street bridge to make the walk across it nicer. My suggestion: informational markers with the history of Atlantic Steel and the process of converting it to Atlantic Station.
Relocation of the Amtrak station to here. I read about that possibility last year and I think it’s a good plan. It needs funding.

Atlantic Station, Atlanta

Instragram user vicdmnds shares a nice photo of Atlantic Station.

I had a pleasant trip here with the family over the weekend. I’ve said some unkind things about this development in the past, but it’s grown on me. Nonetheless, I still maintain that it needs some improvement to help it feel more like a complete neighborhood and to be better connected with the rest of Midtown.

My Atlantic Station wish list:

  • A public park with a playground
  • A public library
  • Don’t wait for a slam-bang skyscraper project to fill up the undeveloped holes on 17th Street. Pretty much anything would be better than the nothing that’s there. My suggestion: community gardens.
  • Something interesting on the 17th Street bridge to make the walk across it nicer. My suggestion: informational markers with the history of Atlantic Steel and the process of converting it to Atlantic Station.
  • Relocation of the Amtrak station to here. I read about that possibility last year and I think it’s a good plan. It needs funding.
Atlantic Station, Before & After
This incredible image comes from a new blog called Return to Atlanta. It contrasts an old photo of the Atlantic Steel buildings with the Atlantic Station development that now sits in its place.
A quote about the photos from the blog post:

This first one was taken in  November 1994 with one of those cool little disposable cardboard  panoramic cameras. I used to love those things.The  second view was taken a little over 17 years later in January 2012. The  mill and rail yards are long gone, the expressway was widened yet again  and the little landscape twigs have grown into real trees.

h/t Atlanta Time Machine

Atlantic Station, Before & After

This incredible image comes from a new blog called Return to Atlanta. It contrasts an old photo of the Atlantic Steel buildings with the Atlantic Station development that now sits in its place.

A quote about the photos from the blog post:

This first one was taken in November 1994 with one of those cool little disposable cardboard panoramic cameras. I used to love those things.

The second view was taken a little over 17 years later in January 2012. The mill and rail yards are long gone, the expressway was widened yet again and the little landscape twigs have grown into real trees.

h/t Atlanta Time Machine

Christmastime in the City (ATL)

A couple of photos of Atlanta in the spirit. The top one is Centennial Olympic Park and the bottom one is Atlantic Station.

Atlantic Station photo from hillarytedrick | Centennial Olympic Park pic from randivasquez | found via searchinstagram.com

A demand for Transit Oriented Development in Atlanta
A post on the Urban Land Institute site gives some highlights from that group’s recent forum in Atlanta. It looks like one prime topic of the forum was building better connectivity between our dense neighborhoods via transit.
A quote:

The panelists agreed that metro Atlanta must face up to—and deal  with—existing realities while also setting the stage for future growth  and development. There is pent-up demand for TOD, they said, which smart  developers and municipalities will begin addressing once the economy  improves.

I’m glad to know that there’s a realization of the need for more TOD in Atlanta. I just hope it extends to recognizing the need for it to be done well — in a way that creates an inviting neighborhood rather than a park-and-ride zone with housing/retail tacked on. For instance, I’m a little disappointed by the Lindbergh City Center TOD project around the Lindbergh Station, but I’m encouraged by what’s developing around the King Memorial Station.
Another good quote comes from Scott Condra, senior vice president with Jacoby Development:

… Atlanta was seeing the development of walkable mixed-use communities  like Atlantic Station. That development “has slowed almost to a stop,”  he noted. The original projects, he added, “were created as islands unto  themselves. But transit connections—getting from node to node to  node—are still missing.” The connections, he stressed, present an  opportunity for Atlanta as it emerges from the recession—and need to be  completed.

Very true. For projects like Atlantic Station to realize their full potential as walkable urban spaces, they need to have better transit connectivity with the rest of the city and exist less as islands.
Photo of Lindbergh City Center by Samuel Scheib

A demand for Transit Oriented Development in Atlanta

A post on the Urban Land Institute site gives some highlights from that group’s recent forum in Atlanta. It looks like one prime topic of the forum was building better connectivity between our dense neighborhoods via transit.

A quote:

The panelists agreed that metro Atlanta must face up to—and deal with—existing realities while also setting the stage for future growth and development. There is pent-up demand for TOD, they said, which smart developers and municipalities will begin addressing once the economy improves.

I’m glad to know that there’s a realization of the need for more TOD in Atlanta. I just hope it extends to recognizing the need for it to be done well — in a way that creates an inviting neighborhood rather than a park-and-ride zone with housing/retail tacked on. For instance, I’m a little disappointed by the Lindbergh City Center TOD project around the Lindbergh Station, but I’m encouraged by what’s developing around the King Memorial Station.

Another good quote comes from Scott Condra, senior vice president with Jacoby Development:

… Atlanta was seeing the development of walkable mixed-use communities like Atlantic Station. That development “has slowed almost to a stop,” he noted. The original projects, he added, “were created as islands unto themselves. But transit connections—getting from node to node to node—are still missing.” The connections, he stressed, present an opportunity for Atlanta as it emerges from the recession—and need to be completed.

Very true. For projects like Atlantic Station to realize their full potential as walkable urban spaces, they need to have better transit connectivity with the rest of the city and exist less as islands.

Photo of Lindbergh City Center by Samuel Scheib

Midtown Atlanta, Christmas

My name is Darin and I’m a Search Instagram addict. I found these two nice photos there. The top one is the corner of 10th and Peachtree Streets, looking west on 10th. The bottom one is Atlantic Station, looking south toward 17th Street.

10th Street photo by jiniepark, Atlantic Station photo by microtripit

I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that I like the arch at Atlantic Station. We were here recently and, as we walked through it, my son dropped his jaw and marveled at the way it looks from inside. Anything that makes my son go “wow” is OK by me.

I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that I like the arch at Atlantic Station. We were here recently and, as we walked through it, my son dropped his jaw and marveled at the way it looks from inside. Anything that makes my son go “wow” is OK by me.