I was recently asked what urbanism meant, and I had to think a moment. It’s really a lifestyle. . . A city lifestyle. I love city life. Top of mind I think of Boston, Chicago, New York City, Seattle, and Washington D.C. And when I think about why those cities come to mind, I think about the ease of movement, the aesthetics, the varieties, and, of course, the architecture.
City life requires a lot of planning and good design implementation. As demand for a classic city life increases in Atlanta, there have been several projects continually evolving to allow for the romanticism we all think about as an ideal urban lifestyle; walking in parks, shopping at local markets and deep conversations at the coffee shop around the corner. The beltline is a great example.
The urbanism evolution in Atlanta seemingly has goals of creating pockets of communities that are more walkable and pedestrian-centric. To achieve this goal, Atlanta needs to embrace the need to:
Have a variety of products and services available within a 10-minute walk,
Enable clean and clear walking paths on both sides of the streets with minimal disruption,
Allow buildings to be built closer to the street,
Embrace diverse housing, housing of varying sizes, ages, and income levels,
and, Adopt and create more public spaces.
The vision will require a lot of changes to environmental, setback, and zoning codes. In many areas, these codes are at odds with the classic traits of ideal urbanism.
Most importantly, good design will be needed, that emphasizes function, form, beauty, and human scale.
We’re in the midst of the great paradigm shift in Atlanta, and it’s exciting to be a part of it.