Downtown Atlanta’s growing residential base

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Cushman & Wakefield, an international real-estate trend watcher and service provider, throws my Downtown Atlanta home some serious love this week in a blog post on its website: The Time for Downtown is Now

Here’s a quote I particularly like because it references the importance of residents (I’m highly biased, obviously).

With more interest in urban living, Downtown’s residential base has been growing, along with the number of apartment and condo options in the area. The area’s population is approaching 30,000, and retailers are taking notice of this growing and affluent market. Nearly 230,000 square feet of new shops or restaurants are being built or are planned for Downtown, which will only further attract residents and visitors.

For many years, this area was a Central Business District filled with life during the weekdays while sitting silent and dark in most parts at night. But with the current residential life and, hopefully, more to come, it’s becoming a multifaceted place with a truly sustainable mix of uses.

It’s nice to read this positive outlook from professionals who specialize in urban trends. And following the love we got from the New York Times a few weeks ago, this is too much. I’m blushing.

I’d come right out and recommend Downtown as a great place to move to, but unless you catch the occasional foreclosure, you’re pretty much out of luck. We’re all filled up and eager to see new residential built.

I’ve included a pic from a block party on Poplar Street last year. We had a great time.

"Desirable cities in growing regions either add housing rapidly or become unaffordable to most and socially inequitable. It’s that simple. Limiting housing supply is what drives out the poor."

Tall is Good: How a Lack of Building Up is Keeping Our Cities Down | Alissa Walker, Gizmodo.com

Stadium should do no harm to surrounding communities : Blank, city, and state have responsibility to not create a sea of asphalt outside new facility

Falcons fans might not see the effects that their presence has on the area. But the residents who live in the surrounding communities have had to tolerate noise, trash, and antics…”10 to 12 hours of what amounts to a festival that, under a normal circumstance, would have to go before city and be permitted.” And the rest of the year, the lots are dead zones.

Stadium

Millennials with kids staying put in urban places

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The above graphic comes from an Atlantic Cities article on the decline of driving. I found these survey results to be startling. Keep in mind that these are “strongly agree” answers.

Notice that the numbers of Millennials with kids in both urban and suburban settings who strongly agree about staying put are pretty much the same. And look at that high number of 42% who strongly agree that having kids doesn’t mean you have to move “out of the city.”

Info like this should get in front of the eyes of anyone with a hand in urban livability. We need to make sure that schools, child care and playgrounds are plentiful in our cities and that our streets are safe to walk. The old paradigm of “live in the city while you’re young then move to a cul-de-sac subdivision when you have kids” has changed. We can’t plan for that anymore if we expect to prosper.

ATL urban news, the Wheatley way

One of my favorite local news writers is Thomas Wheatley at Creative Loafing. The past couple of weeks he’s written some real gems and I thought I’d collect them in one post.

Parking tax? Why not? : Cash to build transit, bike lanes, and sidewalks won’t fall from the sky

Here’s a quote:

If implemented, the [parking tax] measure could encourage transit ridership, help spur denser development, and raise tens of millions of dollars each year. That revenue will help build and operate bus and rail, fill potholes, and repair decaying bridges.

This sounds good to me. Though I’d also like to see some of that revenue go towards cleaning up water basins that are polluted by runoff from parking facilities.

One look at this map from a couple of years ago, showing the parking structures in Midtown Atlanta, gives you an idea of how much revenue we could be getting:

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Census: 6,664 homeless people counted in Atlanta, Fulton, DeKalb

This is a report on recent statistics on metro homelessness. The numbers come from a census conducted one night in January of this year. Here’s a look at some of the numbers:

"The largest number (2,736 people) was counted sleeping in emergency shelters, with persons found in unsheltered locations a distant second (2,077 people), and those in transitional housing third (1,851 people)"

The need for continued, improved and better-targeted services for homeless people remains high.

Free-market policy guru bemoans road diets

Road diets — taking a lane (or more) of automobile traffic and turning it into a bike lane or wider sidewalks — is an issue that can rile up motorists who are used to decades of policy aimed purely at moving more cars faster on roads.

But it’s exactly what we need more of in many parts of the city that lack good pedestrian and cycling space on public roads.

Wheatley writes:

Are suburban motorists’ dreams of shaving a few minutes off the trip time between I-75 and their Downtown office more important than those of Atlantans who might not want mini-highways outside their apartment building?

The enormous “intown highways” as I call Spring Street and West Peachtree are wide, one-way gulches of asphalt that are supremely unpleasant to walk along or cross as a pedestrian. Making both of those (and others) two-lane roads, with car lanes reduced in order to make wider sidewalks and bike lanes, should be a goal for Atlanta.

"As scary as we may think urban crime is, the threats that are prevalent in rural areas are statistically more dangerous. We already know that the best way to shrink your carbon footprint is to move to a dense city. Now it turns out that it might be the best way to stay alive too."

Turns out cities are safest places to live | TIME.com, July 23, 2013

"What can the general public do? It’s what the public is doing, in many cities in America. It’s to clamor for bike lanes, slower-speed streets, and for streets that serve all their users, not just motor vehicles."

How American Cities Can Thrive Again | US News & World Report, 12/13/2012