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Irma, River Street

Georgia urgently needs a coastal hazard study and plan

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

Enormous burdens on Georgia taxpayers have been imposed by damage from major storms over the past two years. Such impacts over this period are estimated to have cost Georgians some $5 billion in property and infrastructure damage, evacuation expenses, and recovery/clean-up. The majority of these expenses have been imposed by hurricanes, Matthew (2016) and Irma (2017).

amli, arts center, affordable housing

Dearth of affordable housing calls for comprehensive solution

By Guest Columnist KATHLEEN FARRELL, head of commercial real estate at SunTrust Banks, Inc.

Over the last decade, as millennials entered the workforce and delayed or indefinitely avoided buying a home, apartment complexes sprang up across Atlanta – as they did in many U.S. cities – to meet the growing demand for rental housing. Many of these new developments were built as luxury living experiences in order to command higher rents and meet the expectations of a younger clientele. The result was a robust supply of high-end units that have been absorbed by Atlanta’s strong job market, but a dearth of affordable, workforce housing.

750 Ralph McGill cir 2000

Four decades of the Old Fourth Ward, seen from my office window

By Guest Columnist WILLIAM VANDERKLOOT, a film director/producer with a unique insight into Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood.

A few years ago Google announced it would archive older images from its Google Maps StreetView program to create a StreetView History section for various cities. StreetView is less than 10 years old, but decades from now it will be a local historian’s delight. I only wish we had StreetView back when I moved my company to the Old Fourth Ward in 1979.

Like the proverbial frog submersed in slowly heating water, familiarity with our immediate surroundings makes us oblivious to incremental change. That is until one day we suddenly realize almost everything is different. That happened to me regarding my studio in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood.

A Civic Center for the 21st century

By Guest Columnist KLAUS VAN DEN BERG, a consultant with CITYperformance

The Atlanta Civic Center, a mega-venue that sports a 4,600-seat auditorium and a separate exhibition hall on a 19-acre site in the Old Fourth Ward, was sold to the Atlanta Housing Authority in late 2017. Former Mayor Kasim Reed, who had already sold significant land parcels to developers, closed the Civic Center deal without requiring the development of a new vision for the site that does justice to its historic significance. The sale itself proceeded mostly outside of public view after the collapse of a deal with a private developer.

Ponce City Market, flats

Overcoming the affordable housing funding challenge

By Guest Columnist MIKE DOBBINS, a professor of the practice of planning at Georgia Tech’s College of Design and and a longtime advocate for housing affordability

The city is making constructive strides toward addressing its ever-growing affordable housing needs. Researchers are pretty much in agreement that a stable, safe, and affordable home provides the fundamental and essential grounding for families to make their way into better education, improved health, higher incomes, and a quality of life that holds out hope.