The Atlanta Beltline is a 22-mile loop of reclaimed railroads that is being transformed into a life-affirming transit greenway connecting 45 neighborhoods to city schools, shopping districts, cultural destinations, and public parks. The idea started life as my graduate thesis in 1999 and today it is a $4 billion public infrastructure project in the early stages of implementation.
I wrote Where We Want to Live to tell the bona fide story of the Atlanta Beltline and to put it in a global context of urbanization and change. Chapter 7: “A Wide-Open Place” tells the grassroots story of how it came to life. Chapter 8: “An Expandable Vision” describes how a kernel of an idea grew into an even more ambitious and transformational vision. And Chapter 10: “Catalyst Infrastructure” provides eight lessons from that vision and from similar efforts around the world that are reinventing infrastructure to better support the lives of people.
The purpose of this page is not to retell that story, but to organize ongoing and up-to-date critiques of the Atlanta Beltline’s implementation. My intent is to both celebrate our success and articulate our shortcomings so that we learn from our efforts – not only for the good of the Beltline, but for all the infrastructure in our lives.
To be clear, I do not have a formal role with the Atlanta Beltline. I do not make decisions about how it is built, when it is built, or who it is built for.
BELTLINE-RELATED POSTS (by date)
- 10/2022. FAQ > “how do we ensure Beltline transit delivers?”
- 5/2021. Think I’m always negative? Need a pep talk? Here’s some inspiration > You don’t know what’s coming next, but you’re ready.
- 3/2021. FAQ > “are you giving up on transit?”
- 5/2019. A 30-minute video interview that connects my Beltline story to current work.
- 4/2019. Link to National Geographic’s article that includes the Beltline.
- 9/2018. Read about MARTA’s sham of a public engagement process here.
- 9/2018. Great images that show how transit fits in the corridor here.
- 8/2018. Read why Buckhead’s stretch of Beltline rail matters here.
- 8/2018. Gravel > Beltline Means Business.
- 8/2018. Gravel > Connect-the-Dots Transportation Planning Will Not Work.
- 8/2018. Gravel > Two Thirds Not Served.
- 7/2018. FAQ > “how does Beltline transit advance equity?”
- 7/2018. Gravel > Our Moral Imperative.
- 5/2018. FAQ > “what do you think about the More MARTA plan?”
- 4/2018. Gravel > Beltline Call to Action.
- 4/2018. FAQ > “can you remind me the history of Beltline transit?”
- 3/2018. Gravel > A New Threat to Beltline Transit.
- 3/2018. FAQ > “why not just put BRT on the Beltline?”
- 10/2016. My plea to vote for the 2016 transit referendum here.
- 9/2016. FAQ > “why did you leave the ABP Board?”
- 9/2016. The tunnel under DeKalb Avenue and Hulsey Yard here.
- 9/2016. The question of whose Beltline we’re building here.
- 7/2015. Our first promo video – with narration by Jane Fonda here.
- 11/2014. FAQ > “why is everybody going in circles?”
- 9/2014. FAQ > “what about the westside?”
- 9/2014. FAQ > “who benefits?”
- 9/2014. FAQ > “is transit so important?
- 1/2014. Arts and the Beltline here.
- 2/2013. A long-form video interview about my story with the Atlanta Beltline here.
- 10/2011. A presentation about the original design strategy for the Atlanta Beltline – video here.
- 4/2011. Walking down the Eastside before the trail – video here.