Atlanta BeltLine Transforms the Future of Urban Planning

Lauren White

The future of urban planning is taking shape in Atlanta, thanks to Ryan Gravel and his BeltLine project.

Described as “the most comprehensive transportation and economic development effort ever undertaken in the City of Atlanta and among the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment programs currently underway in the United States,” the Atlanta BeltLine is a sustainable redevelopment project along a 22-mile railroad corridor that was conceived by Gravel as a master’s thesis at Georgia Tech in 1999. The project will connect surrounding neighborhoods through railway, nature trails and parks and greenspaces and provide new housing, events and commerce for the city.

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Map of the 22-mile BeltLine surrounding Atlanta.

There’s a great article about this Atlanta “transit makeover” from USA Today here.

Though it has a ways to go to completion, the BeltLine project has already transformed parts of the city from an economic wasteland to an economic hot spot and cultural center.

Fourth Ward Park

Historic Fourth Ward Park south of Ponce City Market and west of the BeltLine trail. (Photo credit: Atlanta BeltLine)

Look at the Ponce City Market as an example. It’s a mixed use development in the renovated Sears, Roebuck & Company building in a neighborhood that used to be full of rock venues and adult entertainment clubs. Now it is a destination for local Atlantans, full of retail shops, restaurants and offices as well as host to many art, music and market events.

Gravel set up his office here in a space that’s inspired by nature. We found some great installations of Interface modular carpet tile throughout!

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Human Nature by Interface, installed in Ryan Gravel’s office.

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Another installation of Interface modular carpet, inspired by nature.

The building is pursuing a LEED Core & Shell Silver certification through water-efficient fixtures and landscaping, reclaiming rain water and other building-generated water, and using the latest in LED lighting and efficient HVAC systems.

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Ponce City Market inside_Atlanta_575x350

Projects like the Atlanta BeltLine and Ponce City Market inspire and encourage Interface to continue Ray’s mantra of “doing well by doing good.”

Posted in Category Culture & Play, Project Spotlight, Sustainability | Leave a comment

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