How the Atlanta BeltLine Is Transforming the City’s Neighborhoods
Atlanta’s BeltLine Is Creating an Outdoor Oasis in the South
Atlanta, Georgia is making waves as one of the top researched places to move this summer. And looking at the city’s ongoing urban development project, the Atlanta BeltLine, it’s easy to see why. This large-scale revitalization effort is changing the landscape of the city, and we think it’s for the better.
What Is the Atlanta BeltLine?
In its infancy, the Atlanta BeltLine started as part of Georgia Tech student Ryan Gravel’s 1999 master’s thesis. In the nearly two decades to follow, the Atlanta BeltLine grew from an idea into a grassroots campaign, and then into a tangible, holistically driven vision of a new Atlanta. The new Atlanta, a city transformed by the neighborhoods of the BeltLine, is “dedicated to an integrated approach to transportation, land use, green space, and sustainable growth.”
Urban parks, sustainable transit, and affordable housing form the nexus of the Atlanta Beltline. According to the Atlanta BeltLine organization:
As of 2016, the Atlanta BeltLine consists of four open trails; two trails under construction; seven parks; intensive planning for modern streetcar expansion; more than $3 billion in private economic redevelopment; hundreds of affordable workforce homes; free fitness classes; a linear arboretum; and urban farm; and the largest temporary public art exhibition in the south.
A city-wide effort, the Atlanta BeltLine is one of the most comprehensive sustainable development initiatives currently underway in the country. And right now, it’s setting a precedent for urban redevelopment programs nationwide while directly impacting economic development in Atlanta.
How Is the Atlanta BeltLine Transforming the City’s Urban Fabric?
Through redeveloping the parks, trails, transit, and housing, the Atlanta BeltLine is revitalizing the city’s neighborhoods. As a 22-mile-long loop, the BeltLine’s trails and walkways connect people throughout the city, fostering a sense of community and reinforcing a commitment to sustainable living. The BeltLine not only encourages biking, walking, and physical activity, but it also promotes cultural creativity. Currently, the art installations along the BeltLine serve as “the Southeast’s largest temporary public art project.”
The BeltLine is also making the city more affordable for homebuyers. In recent years, “Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. partnered with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta on the Housing Initiative Program (HIP), which provided funding for down payment assistance and owner-occupied rehabilitation for homes along the Atlanta BeltLine corridor.” For many families, this program has made Atlanta homeownership possible.
The Hodges family, who live in the BeltLine ‘s Historic Fourth Ward, shares: “we wanted something with walkability…we were looking for a place where we could contribute and try to help build something.” Since the family has found their ideal neighborhood along the Beltline, the Hodges shared, “there’s no way we would have ever been able to buy that house, or maybe much of any house without [Atlanta BeltLine’s partnership with the Federal Home Bank of Atlanta].”
Neighborhoods to Watch Along the Atlanta Beltline
Along the Atlanta BeltLine ‘s Northside Trail, the Ardmore Park neighborhood is flourishing. Connected to the Collier Hills and Collier Hills North neighborhoods, Ardmore Park boasts some of the BeltLine’s best scenery with its historic old-growth trees, and a great community vibe. Experience the neighborhood’s warm welcome annually as it hosts the annual Northside 5k race as part of the Atlanta BeltLine Running Series.
Atlanta’s Historic Fourth Ward is one of the most transformed neighborhoods along the BeltLine. Once lacking in green space and infrastructure, the Atlanta BeltLine revolutionized the inherent potential in this neighborhood. With a 2-acre lake and 17 new acres of green space, the Historic Fourth Ward Park offers the neighborhood “a glistening oasis where there once stood little more than cracked asphalt, trash-strewn fields.”
Looking Forward: The New Atlanta
Upon completion, the Atlanta BeltLine will “connect 45 intown neighborhoods via a 22-mile loop of multi-use trails, modern streetcar, and parks – all based on railroad corridors that formerly encircled Atlanta.” As Atlanta continues to build sustainably, this city is definitely one to watch.