When it comes to our national ParkScore, Atlanta has room to improve

This is the first in a two-part series about Atlanta’s parks

Atlanta has a long way to go to become a leader in the country when it comes to parks.

For years, the Trust for Public Land has been tracking Atlanta’s “Park Score” to see how we compares among the 100 largest cities in the country.

Out of a possible score of 100, Atlanta’s total score was only 51 percent. And among the 100 cities, Atlanta ranks 50th in a tie with Dallas.

Georgia Trust’s tour of Southwest Atlanta helps us appreciate the history in our town

Frances Westbrook of Brookhaven was having lunch Saturday in Adair Park – a southwest Atlanta community that she did not know before signing up for the Georgia Trust’s Southwest Atlanta Expedition.

“I thought it would an excellent opportunity to see this area, which I had never been to before,” said Westbrook, who has also been on the Atlanta BeltLine tour. “It’s really a superb opportunity to get to know another part of Atlanta.”

More than 200 people visited the 20-plus sites on the Southwest Atlanta tour – which included houses, industrial buildings and some of the incredible academic institutions that have anchored the communities for more than 100 years.

Atlanta joins other cities in grassroots support of Paris climate change agreement

A grassroots movement is rising to support the Paris Agreement on Climate Change – despite the decision by the Donald Trump administration to withdraw U.S. support of the globally historic accord.

One of key power centers of this grassroots response in support of the Paris Agreement is the City of Atlanta.

“Cities have the leadership role especially in the United States,” said Stephanie Stuckey, the Chief Resiliency Officer for the City of Atlanta, which is one of the 100 Resilience Cities Initiatives pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Mark Pendergrast asks: Is Atlanta on the verge of greatness or mediocrity

In the eyes of Mark Pendergast, Atlanta is a “City on the Verge.”

Pendergast, an Atlanta native and author, has just penned an elaborate and exhaustive tale about the Atlanta BeltLine in his most recent book – “City on the Verge.”

Throughout the book, Pendergast sandwiches in slices of Atlanta’s history – providing a non-judgmental view of the city’s racial tensions and successes as well as its obsession with transportation and its own identity – nationally and internationally.

Atlanta’s urban tree canopy leads the nation; but most trees are not protected

This is second in a multi-part series about Atlanta’s tree canopy.

We have always described Atlanta as a city in a forest.

Amazingly, it is true. Our old growth forests are among our most special treasures in metro Atlanta.

Joan Maloof, founder of the Maryland-based Old Growth Forest Network, is an author who has written several books about the environment including her latest: “Nature’s Temples: The Complex World of Old Growth Forests.”

Metro Atlanta leaders heading to a reviving Detroit for the annual LINK trip

Detroit, Michigan may sound as an unusual place for a group of metro Atlanta to visit to learn how another region has addressed similar issues.

But the top leaders of the Atlanta Regional Commission – Executive Director Doug Hooker and Chairman Kerry Armstrong – believed the lessons to be gained from Detroit would be enlightening for the 130 metro Atlantans who will be part of the 2017 LINK (Leadership. Involvement. Networking. Knowledge) trip.

Operation HOPE convenes global leaders and the poor in Atlanta to promote financial literacy

For several years running, Atlanta has become the venue for addressing the problem of poverty in the United States while focusing on solutions.

The convener is Operation HOPE’s Global Forum, which just met in Atlanta at the Marriott Marquis from April 10 to April 12. This year’s theme was “Uplifting the Invisible Class” – focusing on the people who have fallen between the cracks.

New leaders at Morehouse: ‘Time to turn the page’

A new leadership team is in place at Morehouse College as its Board of Trustees elected a new board chairman – Willie Woods; and named William “Bill” Taggart as the interim president.

The trustees, who met in Atlanta on Friday and Saturday, made the leadership changes after a host of reports revealed a fractionalized relationship between the board – in particular its Chairman Robert Davidson – and its president for the past four years – John S. Wilson.

Atlanta’s multiuse trails create linear parks and alternative travel options in light of I-85 breach

Transportation options.

Never have those two words held as much meaning for Atlanta as they do now. The Friday collapse of a section of Interstate 85 – has severed a key transportation artery for the region.

Immediately, and with good reason, there were pleas for us to get serious about regional rail transit – once and for all. A silver lining of this manmade disaster is the probability that transit will gain momentum during this transportation debacle.

Atlanta’s experts in affordable community redevelopment pushed to sidelines

When the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development came to Atlanta on Nov. 4, 2015 to celebrate its 50th anniversary, it turned to Renee Glover, Egbert Perry and Shirley Franklin to highlight its successes in Atlanta.

Former U.S. HUD Secretary Julian Castro was so impressed by what he saw in Atlanta during the 50th anniversary visit, that he complimented Glover, Perry and Franklin for all their “trail-blazing work” in transforming communities.

Most Georgians support civil rights protections for LGBT community

A large majority of Georgians (74 percent) support passing a state law to protect gay and transgender people in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations, according to a survey conducted by the Just Win Foundation.

But the same survey shows that an equal percentage of Georgians think it’s already illegal under state law to fire, refuse to hire, deny housing or public accommodations access to a person who is gay or transgender.

Atlanta emerging as a nexus to address climate change and global health

Atlanta’s significant role as a center for global health is now well-recognized and appreciated.

But last week, when the Atlanta-based Carter Center hosted the Climate & Health Meeting, it became apparent that our region’s contributions to improving global health must now take into account the growing challenges of climate change.

And Atlanta has an opportunity to become a nexus for expert knowledge and action to address how climate change will impact global health.

Atlanta, Georgia likely to feel brunt of Trump’s anti-trade policies

From its inception, Atlanta has been a hub of transportation, commerce and communication.

Those factors have made Atlanta a center of global commerce – a role that has been boosted by having the world’s busiest airport and one of the world’s largest airlines.

Georgia also is a leader in global commerce and trade – and its presence is growing because of the state’s investment in its Port of Savannah, one of the fastest growing seaports in the country. The state also has numerous international offices established to promote the exports of Georgia products, as diverse as agriculture, poultry and professional services.