Editor’s Note: 2022 certainly promises to be another news-filled year, from a continued fight against COVID-19 to a debate over whether Buckhead should break off from Atlanta. Reporter Newspapers surveyed local leaders to hear what they think will be the biggest issues in the next 12 months. 

Denise Starling, Executive Director, Livable Buckhead

Some years it can be difficult to anticipate what issues will be most pressing, but that is definitely not the case for 2022. Without a doubt, crime and cityhood will be the two biggest issues facing Buckhead in the year ahead. These are big challenges and there are no quick fixes, but I am encouraged to see the level of engagement in our community as people step up to advocate for a safer, more unified Buckhead.

While cityhood and crime will dominate public discussion in 2022, it’s important not to lose sight of other issues that have a dramatic impact on our quality of life, such as traffic. Livable Buckhead is taking innovative approaches in 2022, starting with a program for employer-subsidized housing that would make it more affordable for Buckhead’s workforce to live here instead of commuting from other parts of the city. We’ll also launch an on-demand shuttle service – similar to Uber or Lyft – that makes it easier for people to get around Buckhead without a car. And the final, major phase of PATH400 between Wieuca Rd. and Loridans Dr. will begin construction in 2022. When complete, Buckhead residents can walk or bike from one end of the community to the other, avoiding traffic and adding exercise to their daily routines.

The coming year will also be a real test of the pandemic’s lasting effects on workplaces. Many employers continue to allow remote work on at least a part-time basis, which is an approach that can have tremendous benefits for everyone involved. Livable Buckhead will continue to support businesses by helping them implement flexible commute programs that increase productivity and employee satisfaction without sacrificing the important aspects of in-person workplaces.

Denise Starling is executive director of Livable Buckhead, a nonprofit organization focused on sustainability efforts, including parks and trails, alternative commuting, long-range planning efforts and community events.