The Atlanta Beltline: Retrofitting A City

The Atlanta BeltLine project is the most comprehensive economic development effort ever undertaken in the City of Atlanta and among the largest urban redevelopment projects currently underway in the United States.

As reported by CNN, the idea started with Ryan Gravel, who first envisioned regenerating the land in his graduate thesis in 1999. From there, the idea took off.

"Starting in 2001 and over the next three years, with infectious optimism and a lot of hard work, the citizens of Atlanta bought into a compelling grassroots vision for the Atlanta BeltLine and made it their own, creating a powerful informal alliance between neighborhood groups, developers and nonprofit organizations who found themselves in the unlikely position of advocating for the same set of ideas."

When the BeltLine is completed, citizens will be able to walk 45 different neighborhoods on a loop of trails. In addition, the project aims to improve economic development, public art and historical preservation, and affordable workforce housing.

"With every expansion of its vision, the physical project reinforces changing cultural preferences about the built environment, demonstrating local sustainable growth strategies that can be applied to other parts of the region, and over time, make comprehensive changes more politically palatable. In this way, the Atlanta BeltLine not only profoundly changes the physical city, it changes the way we think about Atlanta -- what is possible, and what our cultural expectations are for the places that we live."

For more on the Atlanta BeltLine read here.