“I see things about the future city that other people don’t see, and then I try to get them to see it – to see themselves in it – in ways that compel them to take action toward a larger, shared idea about their lives and for the world.” – Ryan Gravel, 2019

Ryan Gravel is an urban designer, author, and speaker – an entrepreneur working on ideas about the future of cities. As founder of Sixpitch, Generator, Aftercar, and Elevator, Ryan is fully engaged in the dramatic transformation coming to cities, offering a range of approaches and partnerships designed to support a more equitable, resilient, and beautiful world.

  • SIXPITCH – advancing ideas through consulting on infrastructure and city design.
  • GENERATOR – seeding ideas through partnerships, platforms, and strategic relationships.
  • AFTERCAR – fueling ideas through shared meals, venues, brands, and social connections.
  • ELEVATOR – building ideas through real estate and economic development.

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Ryan Gravel, AICP, is an urban designer, author, and speaker – an entrepreneur working on ideas about the future of cities. His master’s thesis in 1999 was the original vision for the Atlanta Beltline, a 22-mile transit greenway that with twenty years of progress, is changing both the physical form of his city and the decisions people make about living there. Now a $4 billion public-private investment in the early stages of implementation, the project’s health and economic benefits are already evident through record-breaking use of its first section of mainline trail and over $7 billion of private sector redevelopment since 2005.

Ryan has received numerous awards and press related to his work on the Atlanta Beltline and tells his story internationally, but an essential aspect of his work is yet to come. Alongside project work at Sixpitch and research on similar “catalyst infrastructure” projects around the world, he makes a compelling case about what this movement means and why it matters. In his book, “Where We Want to Live,” (St. Martin’s Press, 2016), Ryan investigates the cultural side of infrastructure, describing how its intimate relationship with our way of life can illuminate a brighter path forward for cities.

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Ryan’s story has made ink in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Monocle, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, CityLab, CNN International, USA Today, and Esquire Magazine. He has been listed among the 100 Most Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend Magazine, 2014; the GOOD 100 by GOOD Magazine, 2013; “Visionary Bureaucrat” by Streetsblog, 2012; and “Top 25 Newsmakers” of 2011 by Engineering News-Record. He received Southface Institute’s highest Argon Award in 2022, Trees Atlanta’s Individual Tree Champion award in 2019, a “Trailblazer” award in 2018 from the South Fork Conservancy; an “Emerging Voices” citation from the AIA-Atlanta in 2011; Jenny D. Thurston Memorial Award from the Atlanta Urban Design Commission in 2007. He was named one of “45 Atlantans We Love” by Atlanta Magazine in 2006; one of “40-under-40″ from the Atlanta Business Chronicle in 2006; and on of the “Best & Brightest” by Esquire Magazine in 2006. Other honors include a Special Award of Recognition from AIA-Atlanta in 2005; and Golden Shoe Award for pedestrian-friendly research from PEDS in 2003.

Ryan is the board chair of Generator and serves on the board of the Partnership for Southern Equity.

4 replies

  1. So glad to hear about your efforts on NPR (Rose Scott’s show). We moved to the Atlanta Metro area from St. Paul in 1979, and we were excited when we were able to take MARTA’s new rail service to work downtown. It seemed to hold great promise. Now, 40 years later, we live on the south side and very little has changed for us on the MARTA map. My neighbors and I would live to see rail service from Savannah, through Statesboro and Macon, with stations in McDonough and Stockbridge to midtown and downtown Atlanta. I’m with you in your quest for a livable Atlanta area.

  2. As a transplant from Minneapolis, I appreciate the undertaking of the Beltline.
    Would love to see Atlanta elevate to a city that has paths for the walkers, runners usually take to the grass/dirt), cyclist, and maybe just maybe rollerbladers.
    Love the Beltline, thank you!!

    • Thank you! I love it too. The trail is designed to have a soft running shoulder on both sides, but alas – they not yet built in most places. Instead we have muddy tracks. Maybe one day…

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