Housing and transportation costs — as a percentage of income — are higher in sprawling metros like Atlanta
As a companion to my recent post “The affordability swindle: why living in sunbelt sprawl actually costs more" — here’s a great graphic from a post on Reuters’ Data Dive blog titled "The expense of sprawl.”
It shows the percentage of household income (that’s the horizontal metric) that’s spent on average, within each of these metro areas, on a combo of housing and transportation costs. And yes, it says “cities” but it means metros — pet peeve of mine. The blue part is housing and the green part is transpo.
Take a look at where sprawling places like Atlanta and Phoenix fall on the chart. On average, people in Metro Atlanta spend a higher percentage of wages on housing/transpo costs than people in more compact, walkable places like NYC.
Of course, you have to take into account that average wages in NYC are higher. But is it possible that those high wages are possible as a result of some innate benefit to local economies brought on by that compact, walkable environment? Could be.

Housing and transportation costs — as a percentage of income — are higher in sprawling metros like Atlanta

As a companion to my recent post “The affordability swindle: why living in sunbelt sprawl actually costs more" — here’s a great graphic from a post on Reuters’ Data Dive blog titled "The expense of sprawl.

It shows the percentage of household income (that’s the horizontal metric) that’s spent on average, within each of these metro areas, on a combo of housing and transportation costs. And yes, it says “cities” but it means metros — pet peeve of mine. The blue part is housing and the green part is transpo.

Take a look at where sprawling places like Atlanta and Phoenix fall on the chart. On average, people in Metro Atlanta spend a higher percentage of wages on housing/transpo costs than people in more compact, walkable places like NYC.

Of course, you have to take into account that average wages in NYC are higher. But is it possible that those high wages are possible as a result of some innate benefit to local economies brought on by that compact, walkable environment? Could be.

"Dead End" author Ben Ross speaking at Manuel’s Tavern 5/29

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Event alert for local urbanists! Benjamin Ross is appearing in Atlanta on Thursday, May 29 at Manuel’s Tavern (7pm) to talk about his book “Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism.” You can read a long excerpt from it here

Did you read it? Pretty cool, huh? The guy knows his stuff, particularly in regard to the politics and cultural shifts that enabled car-centric sprawl’s birth.

I sent him a couple of questions related to Metro Atlanta and he kindly replied. His responses are below.

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New Produce Market in Midtown Atlanta
I’m excited to find out that there’s a new produce market in Midtown on Peachtree Street at 10th Street, Dewberry Market. It’s open six days a week.
Even better, it’s located a short walk from the Midtown MARTA train in one of the most densely populated parts of the city. Sounds like good urbanism to me!
Midtown Patch has the details. Here’s a quote:

"We focus on Georgia-grown and regionally grown produce in our desire  to see Atlantans eat more local agriculture," Matt [Bowman] said in an email.  "We are trying to open up several more stands in neighborhoods  throughout Atlanta."
Dewberry Market is open Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 7  p.m.

Photo by Amy Wenk

New Produce Market in Midtown Atlanta

I’m excited to find out that there’s a new produce market in Midtown on Peachtree Street at 10th Street, Dewberry Market. It’s open six days a week.

Even better, it’s located a short walk from the Midtown MARTA train in one of the most densely populated parts of the city. Sounds like good urbanism to me!

Midtown Patch has the details. Here’s a quote:

"We focus on Georgia-grown and regionally grown produce in our desire to see Atlantans eat more local agriculture," Matt [Bowman] said in an email. "We are trying to open up several more stands in neighborhoods throughout Atlanta."

Dewberry Market is open Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Photo by

Looks better than a surface parking lot, doesn’t it? This is a new mixed-use building that will — good Lord willin’ and the recession don’t rise — break ground this Fall at the corner of 12th Street and Crescent Avenue in Midtown Atlanta.
My favorite thing about this project: it will replace a surface parking lot that’s been making me wince (as they ALL do) for years.
Read about it at midtown.patch
A quote from that Patch article:

There will be 20,000 square feet of ground-level retail space, which  will curve along 12th Street and Crescent Avenue. Renderings show seven  retail locations — the largest space around 5,700 square feet.

While I’m not usually a fan of the gleaming glass skyscrapers (I find them a little overscaled and monolithic), I give this one a thumbs up for having ground-level retail space, being located in the middle of similar mixed-use buildings and, best of all, being near two MARTA train stations.
Overall, I think this looks like some good urbanism in Atlanta.

Looks better than a surface parking lot, doesn’t it? This is a new mixed-use building that will — good Lord willin’ and the recession don’t rise — break ground this Fall at the corner of 12th Street and Crescent Avenue in Midtown Atlanta.

My favorite thing about this project: it will replace a surface parking lot that’s been making me wince (as they ALL do) for years.

Read about it at midtown.patch

A quote from that Patch article:

There will be 20,000 square feet of ground-level retail space, which will curve along 12th Street and Crescent Avenue. Renderings show seven retail locations — the largest space around 5,700 square feet.

While I’m not usually a fan of the gleaming glass skyscrapers (I find them a little overscaled and monolithic), I give this one a thumbs up for having ground-level retail space, being located in the middle of similar mixed-use buildings and, best of all, being near two MARTA train stations.

Overall, I think this looks like some good urbanism in Atlanta.