I've begun writing a series of brief articles on Bloglanta on how the City of Atlanta got into the current shape it's in, with particular emphasis on Downtown and the intown neighborhoods surrounding it. My hope for the articles is that they are a contribution toward getting beyond the usual critiques of Atlanta's automobile oriented policies, developing an understanding of why those policies were seen as a good thing to begin with, and toward exploring some solutions to the problems generated by earlier approaches. When Atlanta's business and political leadership adopted the policies which changed the face of the city (the urban expressway system, the removal of onstreet parking, various urban renewal projects) they did so with the opinion that they were strengthening Downtown and its environs. In retrospect they merely steepened the decline.
I think if we're going to develop realistic policies which focus on the quality of life of Atlanta's citizens, our approach needs to be more than just reacting to the side effects of yesterday's policies. Otherwise rather than moving the city forward with respect to quality of life, we'll merely contribute to a pendulum swing in those policies.
Click here for the introduction to this series.