There’s a piece in the print version of this past Sunday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution titled “A major win for OTP: Cobb power play could signal ‘huge cultural shift’ in city-suburb rivalry.” For those who don’t know, OTP means Outside the Perimeter, meaning the suburbs outside the I-285 perimeter highway that basically circles the city.
Built around the Braves’ move from Atlanta to Cobb County, the AJC piece tries to be a balanced look at the metro economy and it does succeed in that partially, but there are a couple of places where the suburban bias of the paper comes shining through. (BTW, for much better coverage of the same topic, see this New York Times piece).
Downtown lacks improvement? In what parallel universe?
Interviewing the owner of a Buckhead nightclub, the article says: “he pointed out that downtown Atlanta hasn’t improved substantially in the 34 years since he arrived here.” Not “he claimed” or “in his opinion” or “from his point of view” — the article states “he pointed out,” as if what he says is a fact. The AJC is agreeing that Downtown has not improved substantially in 34 years.
Which is so ridiculous I can’t even be bothered to provide a counterpoint. Basically, just look at my blog archives.
Sprawl is a dated concept that means nothing?
It also says that, during “the spurt of growth after the Olympics…”Sprawl” was supposedly passe” — which infuriates me, because they put the word ‘sprawl’ in double quotes as if it isn’t a real thing; as if it was a buzzword of the 1990’s that doesn’t represent an actual development type that, when coupled with massive population growth, creates genuine problems.
[Note that the AJC moved its offices out of Downtown to suburban Dunwoody several years ago and, according to some reports, banned the word ‘sprawl’ for a while in order to not offend suburban readers.]
You get to be Atlanta, she gets to be Atlanta, everybody gets to be Atlanta!
But possibly the worst part is that the piece uses the phrase “metro Atlanta” only twice, while many more times using simply “Atlanta” to describe the enormous metro area.
When ‘Atlanta’ is co-opted as the identity for the larger region, how can the city use it for it’s own identity? Do we have to say “City of Atlanta” or “Atlanta proper” to label ourselves distinctly? When using ‘Atlanta’ as an identity, the burden should be on the rest of the region to distinguish itself from the city. Not the other way around.
Photo of the AJC cover from deloreandudetommy.tumblr.com