The city of Atlanta is fascinating. Six years ago, I moved to Atlanta after having lived in several different cities within the eastern United States. My first impressions of Atlanta were mixed, but overall positive. I felt a sense of familiarity and hospitality. I saw an incredible amount of potential in terms of creativity, innovation, culture and design. My mind likened the many neighborhoods of Atlanta to the cities of my home state of Rhode Island. Like the cities of Rhode Island, every Atlanta neighborhood held its own personality, charm, quirks, and flair. Cabbagetown and its tiny, shoulder-to-shoulder houses. Inman Park and its sprawling urban greenery. Sweet Auburn, Edgewood and its night life. I fell in love with this city despite many questions I held involving its seemingly hidden or underemphasized history, its presence of past and present racial tension and its glaring socioeconomic discrepancies.
Atlanta mirrors the human experience and is at a remarkably complex crux in its history. This crossroad requires that the citizens of Atlanta make informed decisions and become involved with changes that are taking place in regards to gentrification, urban development, racial reconsiderations and economic shifts caused by the nationally recognized Beltine project.
Our city could become a beautiful example of sustainable, mindful urban development in the 21st century - or it could fall upon its sword from the weight of a history littered with poorly coordinated decisions and ignored social problems. I believe reading this book will help everyone better understand the history and current dynamics of our city and find curricular tie-ins to our classrooms.
Image taken from the WeLoveATL website.
As stated on the Amazon website:
Atlanta is on the verge of tremendous rebirth-or inexorable decline. A kind of Petri dish for cities struggling to reinvent themselves, Atlanta has the highest income inequality in the country, gridlocked highways, suburban sprawl, and a history of racial injustice. Yet it is also an energetic, brash young city that prides itself on pragmatic solutions.
Today, the most promising catalyst for the city's rebirth is the BeltLine, which the New York Times described as "a staggeringly ambitious engine of urban revitalization." A long-term project that is cutting through forty-five neighborhoods ranging from affluent to impoverished, the BeltLine will complete a twenty-two-mile loop encircling downtown, transforming a massive ring of mostly defunct railways into a series of stunning parks connected by trails and streetcars.
Acclaimed author Mark Pendergrast presents a deeply researched, multi-faceted, up-to-the-minute history of the biggest city in America's Southeast, using the BeltLine saga to explore issues of race, education, public health, transportation, business, philanthropy, urban planning, religion, politics, and community.
An inspiring narrative of ordinary Americans taking charge of their local communities, City of the Verge provides a model for how cities across the country can reinvent themselves.