Notable News

  • Planning

    "The park part is great if you live in the project's northeast quadrant, where over two-thirds of the project's $360 million have been spent," writes Mike Dobbins, professor of practice at Georgia Tech's School of City and Regional Planning, about the Atlanta BeltLine project. "Elsewhere lower income neighborhoods, mostly African American, have gone through BeltLine-induced speculation, displacement, suffered more during the Great Recession, and continue to struggle," he adds. A large reason for this, Dobbins notes, is that "affordable" housing is defined at 100 percent of area median income (AMI) for homebuyers - which does not allow for new, low-income residents to move to the built-up northeast quadrant. 

  • The New York Times

    Redevelopment often brings fears of displacement from gentrification, but neglects the considerable benefits that redevelopment offers to poorer residents in suburban areas write June Williamson and professor Ellen Dunham-Jones, co-authors of Retrofitting Suburbia. "Since 2005 there have been more Americans living in poverty in the suburbs than in city centers. Retrofitting suburbia’s abundant and underused commercial properties and parking lots with a mix of uses, including apartments that support walking and public transit, does not displace anyone and can connect the suburban poor to jobs, schools, parks and affordable housing and transportation," the two authors argue. 

  • New York Times
  • Creative Loafing

    Last week, Invest Atlanta officials agreed to purchase two key pieces of property needed to build the Atlanta Beltline. The first was an approximately four-mile stretch of abandoned rail corridor snaking through southwest Atlanta. By fall or winter, officials could be starting public conversation about the right combination of housing, jobs, and parks on the property. "Once we know what that is, we'll be able to sit down with prospective partners for [building] then we'll convey the property," said ABI CEO Paul Morris. One of the guiding plans for the future of the Murphy Triangle will be a 2012 Georgia Tech School of City and Regional Planning studio on cleaning up brownfields in southwest Atlanta.

  • Houston Chronicle

    A free Land Use Forum session titled "Sustaining Vibrant Communities through Redevelopment" will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 3, at Sugar Land City Hall. According to a Sugar Land press release, "The session is intended to help the community better understand the opportunities and benefits of redevelopment. The session will cover the causes of decline in retail and commercial areas, strategies available to revitalize areas to ensure they remain vibrant, and the role cities play in guiding redevelopment." The keynote speaker will be Ellen Dunham-Jones, an architect and professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and an authority on suburban redevelopment.

  • SaportaReport

    Georgia Tech has just announced a $2.5 million gift to endow the dean’s chair and name it in John Portman’s honor. According to the university, the chair will enhance the college’s ability to attract and retain the very best academic leaders. “John is very devoted to Georgia Tech,” Mickey Steinberg, a senior advisor and long-time colleague of John Portman said. “Georgia Tech is really where he got his start.” Dean Steven P. French will be the first to hold the chair.

  • People Place Purpose

    Boundaries create a political landscape – visibly present – that defines our spatial relationships says former Georgia Tech instructor Richard Dagenhart. To be successful, they must possess three important features: 1) Boundaries must be transparent, otherwise they are simply barriers. 2) A threshold, such as a gate, is essential to identify where crossing a boundary is permitted and where it is not. 3) Some permanence is important; a boundary serves no purpose if it marks a boundary one day and disappears the next. Common boundaries include storefronts, fences, hedges, and retaining walls. Dagenhart notes that today we see too many buffers and barriers that separate, instead of boundaries that join and recommends designers pay close attention to the separation of public and private spaces. 

  • RoofLines

    Although it is sometimes hard for community developers to think about topics as seemingly abstract as the future of secondary mortgage markets when they have so many pressing matters to deal with, few other issues will have so profound an effect on housing and neighborhoods writes professor Dan Immergluck in a blog published by the National Housing Institute. The latest proposal to address the mortgage market is the Johnson-Crapo bill, which relies primarily on private risk capital to fund mortgages and minimizes the role of the public sector in the funding process. Many inside-the-beltway think tanks and advocacy groups appear to support Johnson-Crapo, in part because the bill calls for some modest funding streams for affordable housing and community development. However, opposition from the libertarian right, led by House Republican Jeb Henserling, argues for a system in which the private sector takes all of the gains but also accepts the full losses. Immergluck, however, believes that this is naïve. The housing market is too big—and intertwined with the broader economy—to fail, he argues. If it collapses, the federal government will, and should, step in.

  • Atlanta Magazine

    If you’ve paid attention to news out of MARTA the past several weeks, you’ve no doubt heard the phrase "transit-oriented development." So why is transit-oriented development (TOD) a buzzword now? Mainly it's a money-making opportunity for MARTA, as private developers will pay long-term leases on MARTA-owned lands. And MARTA desperately needs new revenue streams. In January, MARTA brought on Amanda Rhein, a former managing director at Invest Atlanta, as senior director of transit-oriented development. "As I went through college I realized there was this career called urban planning, so I went straight from undergrad into grad school [at Georgia Tech]. I looked at grad schools all across the country, but Atlanta was the most interesting because it really was a laboratory for the problems that urban planners are trying to find solutions to," Rhein told Atlanta Magazine when asked how she got into city planning. 

  • The Washington Post

    All eyes are on roughly 800,000 homeowners who still start transitioning out of the Obama administration's main foreclosure prevention initiative this year, the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). About 28 percent of the borrowers who qualified for HAMP redefaulted since the government launched its effort in 2009 and are no longer in the program. Starting this year, homeowners in HAMP will see their rates gradually climb, but some housing advocates fear that wages and home prices have not improved enough for some of these borrowers. Of most interest to those tracking the issue are the loans that are due to readjust this year and next. Those loans belong to the folks who were hit earlier in the foreclosure crisis, the ones who were probably subprime borrowers concentrated in weaker markets with higher unemployment rates, said Dan Immergluck, a housing policy professor at Georgia Tech.

  • WSB-tv People 2 People
  • SunSentinel

    Broward County, Florida, approved by unanimous vote the allocation of $12.6 million for a bus locator and dispatcher system. Research has shown that giving passengers an accurate forecast makes them feel better about the entire transit experience, said Kari Edison Watkins, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. It can be more important to riders than increasing the frequency or timeliness of buses, for example. Watkins was part of a university research team that created an app called OneBusAway, now in use in Tampa, Seattle and Atlanta. She said she found that passengers waiting for buses feel a warped sense of time. "What happens is — and this is typical in all waiting situations, like when you're waiting in the doctor's office — you feel like you're waiting longer than you actually are," Watkins said "[But] when you have this information, it brings your perception of that wait in line with how long you're actually waiting."

  • Atlanta Business Chronicle

    Atlanta is campaigning to become one of a handful of cities to be designated a Global Smart City for Mobility — a move that it hopes will catapult it among the world’s technology capitals. A contingent of Atlanta mobility executives and economic development leaders were in Barcelona, Spain, from Feb. 24 to Feb. 27 attending the GSMA Mobile World Congress, the largest mobility convention in the world, attracting more than 70,000 people. GSMA is finalizing its criteria to name a small group of metro areas — probably beginning with just four cities — that would qualify as Global Smart Cities for Mobility. 

  • Atlanta Business Chronicle

    School of Building Construction Assistant Professor Pardis Pishdad-Bozorgi is quoted in the article "Structured Growth",  a story about the business success of Steel Mart Inc. and how the owners saw opportunity and grab market share during downturn. Pishdad-Bozorgi’s publication, titled “How to Sustain the Construction Market in Uncertain Economic Conditions” is featured in the article as a reference on strategies for suppliers and service providers to sustain their business in uncertain economic conditions.

  • People Place Purpose

    Designers often talk about something called a "sense of place." A lot of academic literature deals with the phrase, but it is not very helpful for designing places. While it may be hard to define, Richard Dagenhart identified three ingredients for recognizing a “sense of place.” First, a “place” must be a recognizable physical space that is ours, not just yours or mine. It must be freely accessible to the public and can be used by anyone. Second, a “place” must reveal evidence of being inhabited, either by monuments, art, play-space, or normal wear and tear. Third, a “place” requires time. One can't design a sense of place, but he or she can create a physical framework for a place that can be inhabited by different people for different purposes at different times.

  • The Atlantic Cities

    Atlanta’s poor record on economic inequality has not disappeared in the 50 years following the civil rights movement. “It’s bothered me ever since I got here; it bothers me more and more,” professor Mike Dobbins says. “It’s the worst city for people born poor to be anything other than poor.” What change has come to the neighborhoods has had fewer tangible benefits for the original residents. More than $66 million in grants and investments poured into the community to build new housing during this period, but few of these new units were affordable enough for long-time residents to rent or purchase. As Keating concluded, “the revitalization occurring in Summerhill is intentional gentrification.” Dobbins, who used the neighborhoods around the Falcons stadium project as a case study for his urban planning graduate students at Georgia Tech last semester, says that dismantling the “fortress-like look” of nearby Northside Drive should be a key part of any stadium redevelopment plan. “They walled off downtown from these neighborhoods.”

  • SaportaReport

    Atlanta is now proposing to reroute traffic west of the Falcons stadium from Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to a two-lane residential street that has curbside parking, with public works commissioner Richard Mendoza releasing a map of the proposed changes. One of the more prolific cartographers in the MLK reroute conversation is Mike Dobbins, a former Atlanta planning commissioner who now teaches at Georgia Tech. Dobbins draws maps on whatever material is at hand – napkins, scrap paper, the border of pages of other maps. Dobbins uses full-sized paper once he’s fleshed out the ideas. The Tech students Dobbins has overseen in the past year have created highly detailed maps that address issues ranging from transportation to environment. The work is part of their studies of the stadium neighborhoods in particular, as well as the Northside Drive corridor from I-75 in the north to I-20 in the south.

  • Popular Mechanics

    Scientists predict that over the course of this century, suburban and urban areas in the U.S. will grow by an area about the size of South Dakota. That's an awful lot of blacktop, adding to scientists' worries that the growth of cities could exacerbate the impact of climate change. While CO2 emissions and other gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect are more well-known drivers of climate change, the heat trapped by blacktop and roofs can also affect the temperatures in cities and regions. Brian Stone, director of the Urban Climate Lab at Georgia Tech, says that while reducing emissions is important, addressing "urban heat islands" can be just as important. "There are many things you can do in cities that can also slow the pace of warming without reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It's not the only tool we have for reducing warming," points out Stone.

  • Environmental Protection Agency

    Prior to presenting the 2013 "Overall Excellence in Smart Growth Award" to the Atlanta BeltLine in Washington D.C., EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said, "There is no difference between economic growth and environmental protection as long as we agree that we're serving the same public." Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed accepted the award on behalf of the Atlanta Beltline, which grew out of Ryan Gravel's (MCP/MArch '99) master's thesis completed at Georgia Tech. EPA Chief of Staff Gwen Keyes-Fleming closed out the ceremony by saying that while the work by all of the award winners was clearly changing their local communities, “I want you to know that you have also changed us, here at EPA.” The award honors projects that represent creative, sustainable initiatives that better protect the health and the environment while strengthening local economies.

  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Current plans for the new Falcons stadium call for Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive to zig-zag around the stadium's southern perimeter, ultimately disappearing for a stretch into Mitchell Street. That, says Georgia Tech architecture professor Mike Dobbins, poses a myriad of problems ranging from traffic congestion to hindering economic development. “It’s mind boggling to me. I’ve spoken to a lot of engineers whose jobs depend on some of this work and nobody who knows anything about traffic management thinks this is a good idea,” said Dobbins, the city’s former planning commissioner who has crusaded on this issue in recent months. “You can’t have a signature boulevard that stops and somehow you find your way back to it after having waited in traffic,” he said.

  • WSB-TV

    A coalition of west side community leaders near the site of the new Falcons stadium say they are opposed to a plan that would close historic Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in front of the stadium site and re-direct traffic to another street. “It’s tantamount to having a Berlin Wall to separate residents from the west side to downtown,” said the West Side United Coalition President, Bishop John Lewis. Group members said they favor another proposed realignment plan that would reconfigure MLK Drive to include a curve that would take it around the stadium complex. The alternate plan was designed by a Georgia Tech planning studio under Michael Dobbins, a professor of city planning. “Martin Luther King becomes a boulevard for the city. And it provides connectivity for people coming from north and south,” said West Side Coalition member Jeb Dobbins about the alternate plan.

  • SaportaReport

    As the once-hot “REO to rental” industry cools off in metro Atlanta and beyond, equity investors are no longer as optimistic about the role of single-family home rentals in the housing recovery effort. The industry has reached a point that a California congressman has asked the House Financial Services Committee to convene hearings on the Reo-backed securities being offered by large institutional investors. U.S. Rep. Mark Takano cited some of the very concerns raised by Georgia Tech planning professor Dan Immergluck: What sort of landlords will the financial service sector prove to be when it comes to managing scatter-site housing? 

  • SaportaReport

    A stand-off is intensifying between the west side communities and the Atlanta Falcons over the future alignment of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive around the new football stadium. The presidents of the four Atlanta University colleges wrote a letter on Jan. 24 to Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell and Frank Poe, executive director of the Georgia World Congress Center expressing “deep concern” about the latest plans for the street. Beverly Tatum, president of Spelman College, said the community has been meeting with Michael Dobbins, the former planning commissioner for the City of Atlanta who is now a professor of city and regional planning at Georgia Tech, to propose alternative plans that would “foster greater connectivity and community revitalization of Vine City, English Avenue and the Atlanta University Center communities.”

  • Yahoo! Finance

    Success often means anticipating what’s coming -- not just connecting the available dots, but accurately predicting where they will lead next. By visually identifying hot spots for innovation as well as connections between industries, patent maps -- graphical models that provide visual representation of the areas in which companies are protecting intellectual property -- can help your business stay one step ahead of the curve. When mapping patents from 2001 to 2006, Jan Youtie, a researcher at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, noticed that Samsung had noticeably more patents in the biomedical realm than other companies with similar portfolios. “That made me to wonder: what are they up to?” she says. In 2011, Samsung announced plans to move into the biomedical business, producing drugs for cancer and arthritis patients at a plant in Seoul.

  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    In the fallout following a snow storm that led to historic gridlock in Atlanta, Georgia Tech School of City and Regional Planning alumni offer their ideas on preventing future shutdowns. President of Citizens for Progressive Transit David Emory (MCRP ’04) writes, "While there were many factors at play, there is one issue whose importance cannot be overstated: our lack of a truly robust regional transit infrastructure." He argues that even though the cost of expanded rail would be significant, the cost of maintaining a heavily car-dependent status quo is even greater. Baruch Feigenbaum (MCRP ’10), a transportation planning analyst for the Reason Foundation, argues that "Poor planning and policy decisions plagued the city" during the snowstorm. Feigenbaum believes that an improved snow plan should include pre-wetting roads, coordinating with the private sector for equipment and materials, and exercising greater caution when deciding whether or not to close schools.


  • SaportaReport

    The Atlanta City Council's Utilities Committee temporarily tapped the brakes on a fast-moving proposal to make room for VIP parking at the new Falcons stadiums by rerouting Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and abandoning several adjacent streets. Some believe the city’s control over the six parcels of land south of the proposed stadium is the last bit of leverage Atlanta has over the stadium project. Michael Dobbins, a professor of practice at Georgia Tech's School of City & Regional Planning, recently led a planning studio that researched the impact of the stadium, and he believes rerouting MLK Drive to build surface parking would further disconnect the surrounding neighborhoods from downtown and the rest of the city. Traffic plans drawn by Tech students actually call for more streets and paths to be created between downtown and the stadium neighborhoods of Vine City, English Avenue, and Castleberry Hill. Such connections would improve the quality of life on both sides of the massive convention and entertainment complex, the students’ reports show.

  • SaportaReport

    A planned VIP parking lot at the future Falcons stadium will require a virtual dead end of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive at the stadium, and will affect the road’s ability to become the grand boulevard envisioned by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “Shame on me, and shame on all of us, that in the city where Dr. Martin Luther King is from, Martin Luther King Drive looks like every other Martin Luther King Drive in the United States,” Reed said at Ebenezer Baptist Church. “We’re going to do something about that.” Michael Dobbins, a professor of practice at Georgia Tech’s School of City & Regional Planning, echoed the mayor’s sentiments. He suggests that the solution to this traffic imbroglio is to make MLK Drive a two-way street from its beginning at Oakland Cemetery all the way through the city. Any additional cut-offs would be detrimental to the corridor. “To discontinue Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive by truncating it at Northside Drive is a blow to its symbolism and culture,” Dobbins said. “It’s also a blow to the vision of MLK as a grand boulevard, as a connector from east to west.” 

  • Global Atlanta

    Georgia Tech and Tongji University in Shanghai, China recently teamed up to launch the Eco Urban Lab, an international partnership to build smarter, cleaner cities in world experiencing rapid urbanization. Associate professor Perry Yang of Georgia Tech's College of Architecture will co-lead the new lab which will focus on urban modeling, benchmarking the city performance, and studying issues of rapid urban transition. The partnership that began with student and faculty exchanges in 2010 became official following a visit to Shanghai by Yang and the dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Architecture, Steve French. The two universities will co-organize the International Conference on Ecological Urban Systems this December in Shanghai. 

  • Financial Times

    When it comes to problem-solving, planners often reach for tried and true methods. In an increasingly complicated planning and design environment, Georgia Tech Professor of Practice Michael Dobbins warns that this process of "habit thinking" can limit one's openness and flexibility. To improve problem-solving skills, Dobbins suggests trying a simple exercise he learned from his design teacher back in 1958. "His assignments included writing our names. Then writing them backwards. Then upside down. Then upside down and backwards. Then with the other hand!"

  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Retail experts say about one-third of Atlanta’s roughly 17 malls are thriving, while another third is struggling. The declining health of Atlanta’s malls could pose a threat for metro Atlanta’s $12 billion hospitality industry. Visitors to the area spent more than $1.7 billion in 2012, according to the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The malls that are surviving here are the ones in affluent areas,” said Ellen Dunham-Jones, a professor of architecture and urban design at Georgia Tech, who studies dead malls and mall redevelopment.

  • Airport City

    As globalization continues to strengthen, we often find ourselves traveling for business and pleasure, but we rarely stop to think about these portals that take us to new worlds and draw investment to their local communities. Garrett Hyer (MCRP '13) studied airport-area planning and development as a student at Georgia Tech and found that even though every airport is different in terms of governance, ownership, size, branding and industry mix, Georgia leaders could learn from some of the world’s most successful airport cities as they seek to optimize the development potential of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Specific recommendations from his study include forming an alliance among governing jurisdictions and stakeholders, developing a blueprint, and utilizing tools such as community improvement districts (CIDs) and special zoning.

  • Unigo

    These days, it's hard to imagine life on a college campus without an Internet connection. It's no longer just a matter of having a connection for students' laptops, students need something to hook up their tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, and digital TV devices. But some colleges do it better than others. In a ranking of the most wired campuses in the country by Unigo, the Georgia Institute of Technology ranked second among all universities and was the only public university to make the top ten. To earn the ranking, Georgia Tech's Advanced Technology Development Center helped entrepreneurs in Georgia launch and grow more than 130 technology companies, raising over a billion dollars in financing. In addition, Georgia Tech's College of Computing is spearheading what it calls the “new face of computing,” which seeks to incorporate women engineers and help drive a more diversified engineering discipline.

  • Georgia State University - College of Law

    Georgia State University College of Law and Georgia Tech School of City and Regional Planning student Jill Arnold (J.D./MCRP Class of '14) can now count a published book among her accomplishments. Through her research assistant position at Weissman, Nowack, Curry & Wilco, she co-wrote Zoning and Land Use Law in Georgia along with Seth Weissman and G. Douglas Dillard. "Through my education, work experience and writing this book, I have become very familiar with the land mines that exist in litigating a zoning case in Georgia," Arnoldsays. "These experiences will make me a stronger advocate for my clients and allow me to work with local governments to update outdated and rigid zoning laws to better reflect the changing needs of communities." 

  • Mother Nature Network

    College campuses are usually on the forefront of progressive ideas and programs, and that's certainly the case when it comes to protecting the environment. In a review of college campuses across the U.S., Georgia Tech ranked 5th greenest according to Best College Reviews. Georgia Tech earned high marks for its 264 courses on sustainability, 1.4 million gallon cistern that provides water for flushing and irrigation, composting program that diverts 900 tons of waste per year, and for locally sourcing 40 percent of its produce.

  • People Place Purpose

    In an on-going series of urban design lessons, Richard Dagenhart writes that the first step in retrofitting suburbs is not land use planning or zoning, but rather making new subdivisions. "Subdividing first means understanding the existing situation and then working within it and its surroundings to allow changes to occur over time," says the former lecturer at Georgia Tech's School of City and Regional Planning. "If a subdivision plat is the most permanent part of towns and cities, it is important to get it right the first time." Georgia towns such as Athens, Dublin, and Moultrie all provide positive examples of early subdivision plats according to Dagenhart.

  • Journal-Courier

    The city of Louisville is getting hotter at a more rapid pace when compared to neighboring cities, and the city is taking the threat seriously. Louisville is seeking funds to study its depleted urban tree canopy and has hired Brian Stone, an Associate Professor at Georgia Tech's School of City and Regional Planning, to provide a detailed assessment of urban heat issues in the city. While state officials have been less inclined to plan for climate change, Stone's study could help inform policy decisions and move Louisville in a more resilient direction.

  • Creative Loafing

    With more than half of the world's population living less than 100 miles from the ocean, sea level rise due to climate change poses a substantial threat to human civilization. A recent study led by Larry Keating (Professor Emeritus) and Dana Habeeb (doctorate student) at Georgia Tech's School of City and Regional Planning and funded by the Georgia Conservancy examined the effects of sea level rise on coastal Georgia's Chatham, Liberty, and McIntosh counties. Keating, Habeeb, and a group of graduate planning students found that "Nearly 31 percent of the land in the three counties, roughly 419 square miles, will be inundated by sea level rise. More than 20,000 households and more than 50,000 people — 85 percent of them in Chatham — will be submerged." The group added, "It is time to think about responding to these very real eventualities."

  • SaportaReport

    At a third and final presentation to the community, Georgia Tech School of City and Regional Planning students offered clear recommendations on the reunification of Vine City and English Avenue with the rest of downtown – as was the case before construction of the Georgia Dome and Georgia World Congress Center separated the areas. The report’s headline is: “Break down that wall,” which was created by the construction of the Georgia Dome and its parking lots and exacerbated a divide that was initiated by construction of the GWCC, which is one of the nation’s largest convention facilities. A dozen students worked under the guidance of Bruce Gunter and Professor of Practice Mike Dobbins, a former Atlanta planning commissioner. 

  • GPB News

    Richard Dagenhart, a retired professor of architecture and urband design at Georgia Tech, says business drives Atlanta’s development. “Everything about Atlanta is about making a transaction,” said Dagenhart. “It’s not about building things that are permanent. It’s not about history at all. It’s about making of transactions. That’s the entire mentality and history of Atlanta.” Now that the city is poised to tear down another stadium, Dagenhart says there’s one thing that will survive: a wall from Atlanta Fulton County Stadium over which Hank Aaron’s 715th homerun ball flew in 1974. It’s preserved in the parking lot outside of Turner Field and he says it will be part of any future development.

  • Midtown Alliance

    Georgia Institute of Technology was named the winner of the Government Champion PACE Award which recognizes exemplary commuter programs and employers throughout Georgia. Over 34% of the commutes made by Georgia Tech’s 6000+ faculty and staff members are considered “clean” by taking a car off the road. This high participation rate is further promoted by the comprehensive transit on-campus, providing door-to-door access from MARTA to most campus buildings. Additionally, due to robust bicycle infrastructure, cycling as a mode count has increased from 5.7% to 8.2% in the course of a year.

  • American Planning Association

    Georgia Tech grad student Alice Grossman says that planners' benign neglect of sidewalks is giving way to appreciation of their central role in creating healthy, sustainable communities. Grossman describes research under way at Georgia Tech to develop a sidewalk inventory and evaluation tool usable by any town or city.

  • People Place Purpose

    Building on his first blog post about the hierarchy of permanence in design, Richard Dagenhart uses Savannah, Georgia to illustrate a framework for thinking "about creating - designing - new or revitalized buildings, parks, streets, neighborhoods or downtowns." His list of ten lessons for designing cities and towns can serve as a guide for a mayor, "the chief urban designer of a city," to be able to ask question, identify the strengths and weaknesses, and suggest ways to improve design proposals. 

  • Atlanta Business Chronicle

    Past recipients of Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 40 Under 40 Awards continue to find professional success and civic fulfillment. Heather Alhadeff, 40 Under 40 class of 2007, was the assistant director of the bureau of planning for the city of Atlanta back when she received the award. In December 2012, Alhadeff launched her own transportation and land-use planning firm Center Forward, “which I’m totally thrilled about,” she said. Alhadeff also teaches at Georgia Tech's School of City and Regional Planning and continues working with municipalities. She maintains community commitments with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and Partnership for Southern Equity.

  • Creative Loafing

    Now that the stadium is a done deal, what matters most is how this massive addition to the city will blend in with its surrounding environment and do no harm to the people who live near it. A class of Georgia Tech students studying under Mike Dobbins, a professor in the School of City and Regional Planning, and Bruce Gunter, a noted affordable housing expert, has been brainstorming ways to ensure Vine City, English Avenue, and Castleberry Hill don't become collateral damage in the stadium's development. In addition to studying environmental impacts and economic programs, they're trying to find ways the Falcons, state, and city can soften the blow that parking will have on the communities through integration with greenspace, tailgating, and natural water features.

  • NPR

    As streetcars make a comeback in the United States, Dr. Catherine Ross, a professor at Georgia Tech's School of City and Regional Planning and Director of the Center Quality Growth and Regional Development (CQGRD), believes the Atlanta Streecar will help address congestion in the southern metropolis. "We have these ebbs and flows, right? And we don't have an ability to sort of relieve some of that pressure. I think the streetcar will be able to do that," Ross says.

  • People Place Purpose

    In a recent blog post, Heather Alhadeff (CRP '00), president of Center Forward, writes about the economic benefits of bicycle facilities. She notes, "Shops along 9th Avenue in New York City reported a 49% increase in business after the installation of a bike lane in 2007; that’s compared to only a 3% average increase for all of Manhattan." Alhadeff also highlights a study in Toronto. "Customers traveling by foot or bicycle were visiting most often and spending the most money per month. Business owners are beginning to note that even by simply installing bike racks, they’re tapping into sizable group of potential new customers and revenue," writes Alhadeff.

  • SaportaReport

    The talk about creating a new Atlanta Falcons stadium that does repeat the mistakes of the Georgia Dome and engages the surrounding communities has been mostly lip service according to Heather Alhadeff (MCP '00) and Professor Mike Dobbins of Georgia Tech's School of City and Regional Planning. “As a planner, it’s hard to understand why we in Atlanta still favor parking lots over beautiful urban places,” said Alhadeff. Proposals for a parking overlay district, additional surface parking, and the elimination of segments of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive or Mitchell Street to accommodate the stadium are being studied by Dobbins' planning studio.

  • Atlanta Business Chronicle

    Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor of architecture and urban design at Georgia Tech and contributor to the recent study of metro Atlanta's walkUPs found that the Atlanta neighborhoods that suffered the least loss of property value during the recession were walkable intown ones. The study, led by Chris Leinberger of George Washington University's School of Business, explores how walkUPs could drive tomorrow's real estate industry and national economy by attracting young professional's to their transit-friendly and walkable design.

  • Atlanta Business Chronicle

    Over the past year, City of Atlanta has lured The Coca-Cola Co. and athenahealth Inc., back inside the perimeter, bringing with them thousands of jobs. Some credit for the reinvestment in downtown Atlanta by major high-tech operations goes to the increased quality of life brought on by the BeltLine and other major projects in the city. Ryan Gravel (MCP/MArch '99), who imagined the 22-mile BeltLine in his 1999 thesis said, “Increasingly, instead of people moving toward jobs, which gave Alpharetta and places like that a strategic advantage a generation ago, jobs are moving toward the more compact, walkable, transit-friendly communities where young people want to live today.”

  • SaportaReport

    Georgia Tech School of City and Regional Planning students will be running a community meeting on Wednesday, October 30, from 4pm to 5:45pm at the Central United Methodist Church. The meeting is part of a graduate student planning studio that is looking at the impact of a new Atlanta Falcons stadium and a proposed Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal on the surrounding communities. The study has produced preliminary notes for consideration in the ongoing community benefits planning between the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Falcons. These notes are one of five sources that Invest Atlanta intends to use to create a community benefits agreement, according to Ernestine Garey, executive vice president and COO of the City's development authority.