Maria’s Metro

Chris Leinberger: Atlanta region ‘absolutely needs rail transit;’ question is will you lead or be a laggard?

How can Atlanta be both a “poster child of sprawl” and a burgeoning example of “walkable urban places” – creating a metro area with compact town centers?

That was the question Chris Leinberger, a real estate executive and urbanist who specializes in market trends, decided to ask himself during a “Creative Changemakers” talk at Serenbe on April 11.

It was an appropriate topic for Leinberger because he, as much as anyone, is responsible for labeling Atlanta a poster child of sprawl. Now Leinberger is leading the back-pedaling movement — armed with facts and figures — letting both local and national developers know that the sprawl pendulum is swinging the other way.
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Guest Columns

Atlanta’s small towns being redefined through principles of new urbanism

rom walsh edited photo

By Guest Columnist THOMAS WALSH, ASLA, a founding principal of Atlanta-based TSW, a planning, architecture and landscape architecture firm

For decades, Atlanta has been defined by its sprawl – and perhaps no communities have felt the effects of the often unchecked growth more than the small towns surrounding our city.

The tidal wave of suburban development, and the construction of major thoroughfares that bypassed the small towns, sounded a death knell for once-bustling town centers.

One of the defining characteristics of sprawl is the separation of residential and commercial areas, requiring people to move between them in vehicles, often on busy four-lane highways. Now, as commuters struggle with traffic congestion, the concept of “live-work-play” neighborhoods holds great appeal, and planners are revisiting gridded street systems to spread out traffic and ease congestion.
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Jamil’s Georgia

Ruins of the New Manchester Mill, located in present-day Sweetwater Creek State Park. The mill was destroyed by Sherman's troops during the Civil War.

Cotton mills and the fabric of our past

Old cotton mills can make for beautiful ruins.

Those weather-beaten red-brick buildings with bell towers and rows upon rows of windows have a haunted quality. They stand like long-abandoned monuments, scattered through the countryside and in our towns and cities.

And they give no hint of the deafening roar and lint-clogged air that once spewed from their machines during one of the most culture-changing periods of Georgia history.
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Saba Long

Time for U.S. elected leaders to address climate change issues

“There is no debate in Germany about climate change,” Iris Shultz of the German consulate nonchalantly remarked during a recent Sustainable Atlanta Roundtable on urban sustainability. The statement clearly shows the difference in stating an issue rather than politicizing it.

Just under a quarter of the Germany’s electricity is gathered from renewable sources. While the average home size is much smaller than the United States, the cost of residential electricity is more. Shultz said it is because their energy rates are intended to modify behavior.
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Doug Hertz’ Moment was realizing so many nonprofit groups were counting on his idea

By Chris Schroder

Doug Hertz wears a lot of hats these days, but a couple of weeks ago he was worried he wasn’t wearing the right shirt. Not that there’s anything wrong with wearing a Falcons shirt – after all, he’s an owner now.

But on this day, he was supposed to be talking about Camp Twin Lakes, which he founded 20 years ago after he spotted and then solved a common issue among nonprofit groups serving children with various kinds of illnesses. These camps all needed a home – and the ability to provide custom medical services.
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