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Thought Leader Financial Inclusion

Examining the Economics of a Reshaped Atlanta

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HOPE and The Gathering Spot launch Navigating a New Atlanta series; hosts first session focused on revitalization and gentrification in Atlanta.

by Operation HOPE

With widespread redevelopment and revitalization happening in and around historic Atlanta communities, many Atlantans are concerned about being written out of the city’s story. The reshaping of Atlanta has made some residents eager about the city’s future while others fight to preserve “Old Atlanta”.

The median price for a home in Edgewood, the historic predominantly black-owned area and former neighborhood of civil rights icon, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was around $100,000 in 2011. Today home prices in the community have nearly tripled. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 1990, Atlanta was 67 percent African-American, 1.7 percent Hispanic and 31 percent white. As of 2016, those numbers changed significantly, with African-Americans dropping to 54 percent, Hispanics rising to 5 percent, and whites at 38 percent.

Some call it gentrification while others argue it’s capitalism at its finest. Either way, community stakeholders are left to wonder if they are being included in the decisions that are supposed to propel Atlanta communities forward. How does one create a city that is inclusive for all that call it home?

Operation HOPE has partnered with The Gathering Spot, to launch Navigating a New Atlanta, a series and new space for intergenerational dialogue, thought leadership, and action around socio-economic issues tied to Atlanta’s progress.

With the theme “The Economics of a Reshaped Atlanta” the first session allowed residents, business leaders, and city influencers to dissect redevelopment, revitalization, and gentrification in Atlanta. Essentially, participants were able to share experiences, align community resources, build robust and adaptive collaborations, and structure partnerships for long-term and sustained impact.

 John Hope Bryant, chairman, founder and CEO, Operation HOPE; Ryan Wilson, CEO, The Gathering Spot; Suganthi Simon, Program Officer, The Arthur Blank Family Foundation; Terence Lester, founder, Love Beyond Walls; and Kate Atwood, Executive Director, ChooseATL, led an impactful discussion that examined poverty in Atlanta, rising property taxes that push longtime and elderly residents out of their homes, and ways the city can work together to maintain the visibility of those who are on the margin.

This year marks 50 years since the publication of Dr. King’s final book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? In it, he outlined his vision for the future, including the need for better jobs, access to affordable housing, and quality education. Like Dr. King, HOPE and The Gathering Spot are asking for all of Atlanta’s “commitment, capacity, and connectedness” to build a city that is inclusive for all. It is only when we progress as a city that we can progress as a nationthe work starts with us.

Connect on social media @OperationHOPE and @GatheringSpots for actions from the session and to learn more about upcoming sessions.

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