Atlanta is a Revelation for Urbanists


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If you haven't checked out Atlanta lately, it's time for another look. Don't just take it from us. As chair of CNU
18, Ellen Dunham-Jones -- the Georgia Tech architecture professor featured in publications ranging from Time Magazine to Harvard Business Review  for co-authoring the award-winning 2009 book Retrofitting Suburbia -- has encountered a few quizzical looks when she's mentioned the upcoming partnership of CNU and the CDC in Atlanta.

But urbanists who associate Atlanta "with the worst aspects of sprawl" are in for "a revelation," she writes in the foreword to a new book on the region produced especially for CNU 18: Building Metropolitan Atlanta: Past, Present & Future. "Yes, much of Atlanta is overrun with traffic congestion and the kind of auto-dependent development patterns that correlate with unhealthy, sedentary lifestyles... But, this may paradoxically explain why the region has incubated so many innovative alternatives to sprawl."

Renewed Town Square in suburban Duluth, GA

Building Metropolitan Atlanta  offers ample evidence of the commitment to innovative urbanism in the region. So too do the two of eight 2010 Charter Awards that went to projects in the Atlanta region (the Lifelong Communities Charretteand Emory University's Clifton Corridor retrofit), joining earlier winners Glenwood Park and Woodstock Downtown.

And in Atlanta, the ingenuity extends beyond individual projects to impressive regional efforts. The Beltline is a a 22-mile loop of existing freight railroad lines in the process of being reborn as a wide linear park with streetcars, bicycle
and pedestrian paths connecting over 40 diverse neighborhoods. Equally noteworthy is the regional approach to retrofitting suburban property types. "Facilitated by
the award-winning Livable Centers Initiative of the Atlanta Regional
Commission, places like Downtown Decatur, Downtown Smyrna, Lindbergh
City Center, and some 35 others have reduced auto-dependency while
becoming more walkable, compact, complete, and connected," writes Dunham-Jones. "These changes

Glenwood Park, Atlanta

provided a habitat so appealing to today's young professionals
that Atlanta has recently led the nation in net gains of 25-35-year olds."

Whether the topic is the Beltline, livable centers, historic garden city neighborhoods, the agricultural urbanism of Serenbe or other examples of New Urbanism across the rural-to-urban Transect, CNU 18's tours, sessions, workshops and salons are the authoritative source of knowledge about this region that has so much to teach. Explore the program now and register to attend now at rates that will never be better.


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