Ryan Gravel speaks during the community meeting on the growth of Atlanta.
Ryan Gravel speaks during the community meeting on the growth of Atlanta.

By Clare S. Richie

During an Oct. 4  community meeting at the Central Library in Downtown, Atlanta BeltLine visionary Ryan Gravel presented a framework for how the city can accommodate an estimated 1.3 million people by 2050 and invited the public to give feedback.

The framework contemplates Dr. Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community of economic and social inclusiveness amidst a growing population.

Ravel alongside the city’s design team identified five core values by studying the city’s past – from native people to Reconstruction to Civil Rights to the current era of rebirth – and by understanding that at it’s best “Atlanta brings together different people, cultures, and businesses”.

Atlanta City Design starts with these core value (nature, access, ambition, progress and equity), spells out their inherent challenges, and then provides recommendations for a path forward.

Ideally, what would follow are specific policy and implementation decisions (e.g., updated transportation plan).

The framework can also drive the physical design of the city. Gravel shared a city map highlighting “Growth Areas” and “Conservation Areas” (traditional neighborhoods and key industrial areas) along different corridors.

A map showing the city’s growth and conservation areas.

For example, Peachtree Street has development adjacent to preserved tree canopy neighborhoods. Other corridors ripe for growth and conservation include Hollowell Parkway and Metropolitan Parkway.

The City of Atlanta Department of Community Planning and Development wants your feedback –whether you were there last night or not.

“We invite you into our creative process. Tonight is a draft,“ Gravel explained.

Audience members shared comments on poster boards outside of the auditorium. You can voice your opinions and learn more at the Atlanta City Design Studio at Ponce City Market, through Facebook, or at future meetings.

In fact, the next meeting is Thursday, Nov. 3, at 6:00 p.m. at Central Library. The design team will share feedback received, facilitate an open discussion, and provide a meeting schedule – by location and topic.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.