I'm going to do a periodic series on Atlanta's immediately adjacent postwar suburbs. After many years of spending my time mostly focussing on the older parts of Atlanta within the city limits (primarily south of 14th Street, north of Sylvan Hills) I've come to the conclusion that the long term health of the city is bound up closely in the well-being of those suburbs developed on the edge of the city from the late 1940s though the 1960s.
I've never really seen a precise definition of the terms "inner suburbs" "second ring suburbs". If anyone reading this can provide one I'd be very appreciative. To make it easy on myself I'm going to use the phrase "inner suburbs" to mean those areas not within the city limits which are closeby and developed by 1970. A number of neighborhoods which are similar in form to the inner suburbs (Benteen, most of Peachtree Hills) but are within the city limits I treat as intown neighborhoods.
I have harbored a long time skepticism about the prospects for regionalism in Atlanta. The petty Balkanization and shortsighted bickering between the suburbs and the city has seemed insurmountable to me in the past.
Over the past few years however I've seen growing opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation between neighborhoods in the city and the immediate suburbs. As an example, if a well thought through and urbanistically strong retrofitting of South Dekalb Mall could be accomplished, with a good public transit route down I-20 into south Dekalb (which has been requested by south Dekalb's leadership for quite some time), it would benefit not only south Dekalb, but the chain of city neighborhoods running along I-20 from downtown to the Mall.
I'm going to begin this series with Toney Valley, which happens to be near South Dekalb Mall.