Residents look at city growth concept recommendations at the library.
Residents look at city growth concept recommendations at the library.

By Clare S. Richie

Last night at the Downtown Central Library, Ryan Gravel continued to engage the public in his draft framework of what Atlanta could become as our city’s population grows, known as Atlanta City Design.

This meeting and others to follow, invite the community to participate in this creative process, “to involve you in a once in a lifetime opportunity to discuss the future of Atlanta,” Department of Planning and Community Development Commissioner Tim Keane explained.

Gravel gave an abbreviated presentation, reviewing five core values of “Atlanta at it’s best” –  nature, access, ambition, progress, and equity.

Atlanta City Design seeks to meld these values into aspirational guidelines for how the city can accommodate an estimated 1.3 million people by 2050. The framework also contemplates growth along different city corridors like Peachtree Street or Hollowell Parkway while preserving adjacent neighborhoods with tree canopies and low density.

Ultimately, the operationalizing of the design into specific policy and implementation decisions, like the zoning ordinance rewrite, will transform the vision into reality.

Value by value, Gravel solicited ideas and questions from the audience. On the topic of nature, attendees suggested Atlanta add more water features like fountains as a place to convene and a symbol of life and growth.

Ryan Gravel fields questions from the audience about the city’s future growth.

Another attendee asked about use of solar panels downtown. Gravel shared that the city is looking into putting solar panels in unexpected places, like landfills.

The discussion then ranged from promoting the arts by keeping creative space costs down, to alternatives to subsidies for affordable housing, to facilitating social interaction between long-term low-income residents and their new neighbors.

Poster boards outside the auditorium displayed non-vetted draft concept recommendations from last month’s meeting, input from visitors to the Atlanta City Studio at Ponce City Market, and left room for more post-it feedback.

You can voice your opinions and learn more at the Atlanta City Design Studio at Ponce City Market, through social media, or at future meetings.

Meetings by topic
8 to 9:30 a.m.
Atlanta City Studio at Ponce City Market, 2nd Floor
Nature – Nov. 18
Access – Nov. 29
Ambition – Nov. 30
Progress – Dec. 2
Equity – Dec. 8

Meeting by Location

Citywide – Dec. 6, 6 p.m.
Atlanta Central Library

Northeast Quadrant – Nov. 28, 7 p.m.
The Cathedral of St. Philip

Northwest Quadrant – Nov. 30, 7 p.m.
The Agape Community Center

Southeast Quadrant – Dec. 1, 7 p.m.
Georgia Hill Neighborhood Center

Southwest Quadrant – Dec. 8, 7 p.m.
Adamsville Recreation Center

For more information, visit the Atlanta City Studio Facebook page at this link.

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.