Guest Columns

Smart cities for whom? Leveraging technology for an inclusive and just Atlanta

By Guest Columnist ALEX KARNER, formerly of Georgia Tech and now assistant professor in the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin, with JENNIFER HIRSCH, ROBERT ROSENBERGER, and JESSE WOO, of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Atlanta is one of many cities across the country that is increasingly adopting “smart cities” technologies. These are usually internet-connected sensors that gather data about the environment. Common examples include traffic signals that monitor intersections for accidents, trash cans that alert sanitation workers when they’re full, or air quality monitors that send an alert when pollution levels are unsafe.

A tale of two roofs, a bridge and a widening wealth divide

By Guest Columnist MIKE DOBBINS, a professor of the practice of planning at Georgia Tech’s College of Architecture who has overseen several Tech studios that examined Northside Drive and its neighborhoods

We often view buildings, architecture, as symbols of the times and the cultures in which they are built. The implosion of the Georgia Dome juxtaposed against the Mercedes Benz Stadium call on us to reflect on what they both mean. They have in common the destruction and obliteration of significant African American history and culture.

School leadership – challenges and new opportunities

By Guest Columnist DANA RICKMAN, PhD, the director for policy and research at the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education

Successful schools and school systems need strong leaders. Research has shown that leadership influences student learning, and among all school-related factors that contribute to what students learn at school, leadership is second only to classroom instruction. In schools and systems that have more challenges, leadership is even more impactful. Turning around troubled schools demands the intervention of a powerful leader.

The national anthem and its racist content

By Guest Columnist JOE BEASLEY, a human rights activist in Atlanta and founder of the Joe Beasley Foundation

“Ooh-oh, say can you see…” begins our national anthem, the music and lyrics we’ve grown up with as the incantation of individual and collective deep loyalty to the United States of America, its democratic tenets and ideals. But prompted by recent headlines, we once again face and examine the difference between how the words of the national anthem resonate differently for some Americans.

AHA and Egbert Perry – Know the history before attacking Integral’s options on land

By Guest Columnist HATTIE DORSEY, civic volunteer, founder and retired president of the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership

After reading recent news articles about Egbert Perry and the Integral Co., I find I just cannot sit idly by and not respond in some fashion. I reluctantly take issue with many of my housing advocate friends who express concern based on media reports that do not dive into the history of what public housing use to be like in Atlanta. Because I happen to know what Integral’s vision was – Redevelop the terrible public housing projects into new and mixed income communities – I want to add my voice because I was involved.

Atlanta’s public policymakers must put children first

By Guest Columnist MERIA CARSTARPHEN, superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta – as the birthplace of a King, the crucible of the Civil Rights Movement and the international gateway to the Southeastern United States – is a city of innovation and spirit. Yet it is also a city entrenched in inequities that prevent children from living the choice-filled lives they deserve.

Next Atlanta mayor must have plan to promote child care

By Guest Columnist PAM TATUM, CEO of Quality Care for Children

No doubt the City of Atlanta has a lot going for it. The new mayor will take charge of a vibrant city with a reputation as a great place to do business – a city with a growing population that’s a major destination for young college grads. But with all Atlanta has going for it, it may not be the best place for young people to start a family and educate their children.

Time has arrived to unite for Atlanta’s kids

By Guest Columnist DAVID SUITTS, founder of Unite For Kids Atlanta

When people ask why I care about early childhood development, I think back to when I first thought I could maybe teach.

There’s a Youtube video of that summer: I’m filming and talking at three girls, none whom could be older than 6 years.

Atlanta’s voice needed to fight offshore drilling

By Guest Columnist BILL SAPP, a senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center

In the past year, the devastation inflicted from hurricanes Matthew and Irma serves as a stark reminder that Georgia’s coast is vulnerable to the vagaries of nature. Wrecking countless homes and businesses, and shredding boats and docks along the entire coast, these hurricanes flooded St. Marys and Tybee Island, pounded the beaches of Jekyll Island and Cumberland Island, and overtopped the sea walls in Savannah and St. Simons.

Climate change causes must be confronted in Georgia

By Guest Columnist DAVID KYLER, executive director of the Center for a Sustainable Coast, located on St. Simons

A crucial distinction in determining the best course of action on climate change is the difference between reacting to the impacts of our overheating climate versus reducing the causes of this increasingly destructive global disruption. Unfortunately, Georgia’s state officials have consistently limited their efforts to the former, while willfully suppressing consideration of the latter.

Atlanta’s housing policies must be well-funded, comprehensive, inclusive

By Guest Columnist DAN IMMERGLUCK, a professor in the Urban Studies Institute at Georgia State University

In the book, City on the Verge, author Mark Pendergrast points out some of the challenges that the Atlanta BeltLine and the rest of Atlanta face in terms of housing affordability. He argues, for example, that the City should adopt mandatory inclusionary zoning, with a sliding scale to address the truly impoverished, as soon as possible in order to address the problem of declining affordability.

Can a BeltLine park provide recreation on, beside, a drinking water reservoir?

By Guest Columnist MARK PENDERGRAST, an Atlanta native and author of ‘City on the Verge: Atlanta and the Fight for America’s Urban Future.’

Does Atlanta have the creative capacity and vision to develop the Westside Park as a true community asset? Will the new lake there be its beloved recreational center? The park is literally the biggest promise of the Atlanta BeltLine.

A tour of Labor Day weekend, 1967, through archives of Atlanta History Center

By Guest Columnist BO HIERS, who recently “semi-retired” from a 35-year career in the reinsurance industry and is a newly-minted volunteer at the Atlanta History Center.

So all this really happened 50 years ago in Atlanta. You can check it out yourself at the Atlanta History Center’s Kenan Research Center. You’ll need to drop by the check-in desk and create a Patron Card for yourself. You may even have to leave a few things in a locker as well, including any ink pens, before you are granted access. But once inside, you have a veritable treasure trove of historical gems at your disposal.

Atlanta’s David Duke ponders what’s in a name

By Guest Columnist DAVID HUGHES DUKE, president of Living Stories Film and Video, which produces video for corporations and non-profit organizations, and creates independent films for public television

I have long known that life is relationships. My parents taught me this, my faith tells me this, and my experience proves it true.

Happy news on the refugee front, in Clarkston

By Guest Columnist JILL ROBBINS, chief program officer for the non-profit Soccer in the Streets

Judging from the headlines, you’d think there’s no such thing as happy news on the refugee front. As someone who works directly with refugee kids in Clarkston, I can tell you there is so much more to the story. I see happiness in the faces of refugee kids every day in my role as chief program officer for Soccer in the Streets, where I have worked in youth development for more than 20 years.

Congress should protect Georgia’s young immigrants by enacting Dream Act of 2017

By Guest Columnist ANÍBAL TORRES, executive director of Atlanta’s Latin American Association

The fate of nearly 29,000 young immigrants who live in Georgia hangs in the balance. The attorneys general of nine states and one governor have told President Trump that if he does not start phasing out a 2012 program that allows DREAMers to work and live in this country without fear of deportation, they will file a lawsuit in September to end the program. Without this protection, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, these young people could face deportation.

Demolition of Jordan Hall another sign of Atlanta’s dereliction of historic buildings

By Guest Columnist JAY SCOTT, a principal at Green Rock Partners, an Atlanta-based firm specializing in urban design, landscape architecture and planning

The Metro Atlanta YMCA is about to destroy a significant part of civil rights history in the African American Community, historic Jordan Hall. They are not doing it alone.

Their primary partners are the Woodruff Foundations and Invest Atlanta, who have given more than half of the $20 million necessary.