Notable News

  • Atlanta Business Chronicle

    The Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Arts will get $100,000 to advance the design of a new performing arts stage, developed by Georgia Tech and the Atlanta Beltline. The Reynoldstown stage project seeks to create a permanent stage, landscaped exhibit space and elevated park connection with stunning city views, says the BeltLine. The grant is part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town program, which is awarding more than $5 million to projects in 38 states.

  • The Examiner

    The Bike Friendly University program, run by the League of American Bicyclists, recognizes colleges and universities that promote and provide more bikeable campus environments for students, staff, and visitors. Each campus is evaluated in 5 areas: engineering, encouragement, education, enforcement, and evaluation/planning – otherwise known as the 5 E’s. Colleges request evaluation by submitting applications for consideration by the League. In addition, input is sought from volunteer local reviewers, who are consulted to share “on the ground” perspectives on the biking landscape. In the most recently released ranking by the League, Georgia Tech received a “Silver” level designation.

  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Foreclosure notices in metro Atlanta have significantly decreased over the last year. There were 2,430 foreclosure notices in metro Atlanta in July, according to the monthly report by Equity Depot. That is up from 2,054 in June and 2,104 in May, but far below the 5,200 reported in July of a year ago. While positive, this year's sharp decline may paint a picture that is slightly rosier than reality, said city and Regional planning professor Dan Immergluck. Many --- perhaps one-third or more of those who hold mortgages --- are "underwater" because their homes would fetch less than what they still owe on their mortgages. They may be able to make mortgage payments, but they remain vulnerable. The stress is not spread evenly, because home values vary wildly by neighborhood, he said. "School quality has always been important in Atlanta, but it is even more important right now," Immergluck said. "So we have lots of neighborhoods where 30 or 40 percent of the homeowners are underwater and we have lots of neighborhoods where essentially nobody is."

  • Scientific American

    Dense metropolises of concrete, glass and asphalt are poised to warm faster than their surroundings as the planet heats up. The higher temperatures mean more severe heat waves, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are already the deadliest weather phenomenon in the United States. However, there are tricks cities can use to cool off, and recent research at Georgia Tech shows these tactics can save lives, even as the climate changes. "No studies had looked at how cities could mitigate those impacts through what we would call 'climate responsive design,'" said Brian Stone Jr., associate professor of city and regional planning and lead author of the report. "The major emphasis here is that cities should be undertaking heat management planning," he said. "There are steps they can take to actually slow the rate at which they're warming."

  • The Courier-Journal

    Five relatively small areas, covering less than one half of 1 percent of the city's surface area, are contributing an oversized share to Louisville's extra urban heat, according to new research. General Electric's Appliance Park leads Louisville's first list of surface temperature "hot spots," identified by the Urban Climate Lab at Georgia Institute of Technology as part of an urban heat study and mitigation plan under development this year. "The heat generated by these hot spots undoubtedly raises air temperatures in the region and contributes to air quality issues as well," said Brian Stone Jr., the climate lab director and a Georgia Tech associate professor of city and regional planning. "These initial results are intended to foster dialogue about the types of strategies the region should be considering."

  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Heat-related deaths are likely to soar over the next 40 years due to climate warming, but new research has found that increase could be cut by more than half — and virtually eliminated in Atlanta — if major cities across the nation embraced a greener footprint. The Tech report notes that the number of heat-related deaths in U.S. cities is projected to more than double by 2050 — but can also be reduced if cities plant more trees and add green space, decrease impervious surface areas such as parking lots, and use more reflective materials on roads and rooftops. Tech planning professor Brian Stone Jr. found in the study those measures would reduce any increase in heat-related deaths by nearly 60 percent and effectively prevent an increase in Atlanta. The four-year study out of Georgia Tech is the first major national assessment of major city residents’ health, the impact of rising temperatures and what city officials could do to alleviate a growing crisis.

  • Atlanta Journal Constitution

    Heat-related deaths are likely to soar over the next 40 years due to climate warming, but new research has found that increase could be cut by more than half — and virtually eliminated in Atlanta — if major cities across the nation embraced a greener footprint. The four-year study out of Georgia Tech is the first major national assessment of major city residents’ health, the impact of rising temperatures and what city officials could do to alleviate a growing crisis. Heat already kills more people in the United States than hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes combined, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And science shows most major cities, including Atlanta, are already warming at two times the rate of the planet.

  • Atlanta Business Chronicle

    Atlanta ranked No. 5 on the list of 30 “green cities,” with 54 percent of its commercial space — such as office towers, hotels, and shopping centers — certified as sustainable, according to the Green Building Adoption Index, a project led by Maastricht University of the Netherlands, along with the U.S. Green Building Council and CBRE. Sustainable projects emphasize energy and water conservation, but they are also more widely associated with the desire to improve quality of life. In real estate, the push for sustainability is embodied by the U.S. Green Building Council and Energy Star programs. Led by Atlanta-based design firms such as The Epsten Group and schools including Georgia Tech, Atlanta has started to more widely embrace how architecture, land-use policy ands real estate development affect the way people live and work. Other projects reinforced the commitment to transit alternatives. And, for the first time, MARTA plans to build high-rise mixed-use projects over the transit authority’s urban train stations.

     

  • Atlanta Journal Constitution

    It is impossible to ignore the kaleidoscope growth occurring on the north side of Metropolitan Atlanta in particular between I-75 and Interstate 85 along the Interstate 285 corridor.  Recent additions including the location of the new Braves Stadium, the State Farm development, the redevelopment of the General Motors Doraville plant and even redevelopment for Roswell Road all signal the explosive growth that characterizes the Northside phenomenon.  Included, of course, is the highly congested Interstate 285 corridor with the densest concentration of jobs located at Perimeter Center.  This area makes it abundantly clear that where you choose to live affects how you travel and your travel experience.  Perhaps as importantly the north side demonstrates that we are also choosing a travel experience that is equally important when we decide where we will shop, work and play.  

  • WAVE

    Louisville's concrete jungle is taking its toll on the city and its residents. Drivers may have noticed how the thermometers in their vehicles climb as they approach downtown. There is a reason behind the temperature change and it is not a good one. Louisville is a heat island. In fact, it is the number one heat island in the country. Phoenix ranked second followed by Atlanta. Other major cities like St. Louis and even the great megalopolis New York City rank much further down the list… The City of Louisville brought Dr. Brian Stone, a professor of urban planning at Georgia Tech, to discuss heat decreasing options. Dr. Stone came up with the heat island rankings and is the one who said Louisville has one of the warmest urban centers in the world. "What's unique about Louisville, in particular, is the tree canopy is very sparse. Increasing the tree canopy downtown is the key. We have a commission now that's working on this as well and a tree assessment is going on. This will help address that problem. Anytime we anytime we are displacing natural vegetation with parking lots and roads we're raising temps and that's what's happening in Louisville," he said.

  • Saporta Report

    Atlanta is a rapidly growing city that could offer a new methodology for rethinking the practicality and use of a shared right-of-way. Ranjani Prabhakar, a current MCRP and MS/CE student, writes that by using the work of local artists, the creativity of invested citizens, and the ingenuity of MARTA employees, the gradual implementation of a city-wide MARTA visual arts plan will contribute significantly to an Atlanta whose streets, sidewalks, rails and trails serve as canvases celebrating life, discovery and creativity. She believes Atlanta is at crossroads in achieving a community based on its growing ideals of building a system of economic development, housing, recreation and connectivity. MARTA can partner with the Atlanta BeltLine to expand the reach of public art in the city by embedding artists within its utilities to open up greater possibilities for improving the quality of life for its citizens. The art program will instill the faith in Atlantans that MARTA understands and celebrates the culture of various neighborhoods and communities through vibrant and diverse artwork, and is invested in enhancing the beauty of the metro region.

  • Forbes

    Forbes Magazine has a conversation with Ti Chang, designer and School of Industrial Design alum. Read about her career and her perspective on women in design.

  • Newsweek

    Newsweek examines the retrofitting of dead shopping malls across America. Professor Ellen Dunham-Jones weighs in on how communities are re-using the local mall.

  • BBC

    Georgia Tech researchers in the College of Civil and Environmental Engineering found that drivers who travel too fast or two slow cause ripples in the flow of traffic by forcing other drivers to break. Timid drivers leave large gaps in traffic, and aggressive drivers travel too close to the cars in front of them. Cities everywhere have unique traffic issues, but this is one of the common issues among them. Many scientists around the world are currently studying how to end congestion on city streets. Possible solutions include vehicle-to-vehicle communication, the creation of user crowdsourcing traffic apps, and even driverless cars.

  • Politico

    Developed by the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech, the Cycle Atlanta app allows cyclists automatically track their routes and manually upload feedback about road conditions and safety issues. these bikers will be able to voice their need for certain infrastructural changes, including the creation of new bike lanes and the construction of conveniently-located repair shops, without having to attend a public meeting. Cycle Atlanta is one example of a growing number of mobile apps that are being designed to improve, inspire and empower entire communities.

  • Government Technology

    More than 40 transportation-related tasks could be helped by the use of drones, says a recent study commissioned by the Georgia Department of Transportation. Potential uses for drones include everything from traffic management to inspections of traffic signals after installation, or sampling vehicle speed along particular corridors. The study also found that drones could be used for other GDOT tasks such as inspecting bridges for damage, conducting airport flight path inspections or monitoring wildlife along intracoastal waterways. 

  • Atlanta Journal Constitution

    A new Georgia Tech study, headed by School of Building Construction Assistant Professor Javier Irizarry, has shown that unmanned drones can be of significant help in analyzing traffic patterns and congestion, counting cars and help with accident investigations.

    The final project report on the project can be found at http://www.dot.ga.gov/doingbusiness/research/Documents/12-38.pdf

  • Newsweek

    From 2013 to 2014, the nation’s metropolitan areas gained 2.3 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Prof. Dunham-Jones, who directs the MS/UD program, says that this is part of the reason at least 300 malls are now dead or dying. At least 205 of these, according to Dunham-Jones’ database, are being retrofitted to serve the surrounding communities. At least 40 of the projects are for “walkable, urban, mixed use” areas, says Dunham-Jones. A number of other dead malls are being re-greened and converted into parks.

  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    The founding director of Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, a 7,000-plus member nonprofit environmental advocacy organization established in 1994, plans to retire at the end of this year. Sally Bethea earned her MCP from Georgia Tech in 1980, and has spent the past 20 years passionately protecting the Chattahoochee River. “It's been quite a ride -- peaks, valleys and everything in between,” says Bethea. “Never a dull moment, ever. Much to celebrate, things to cry over, but along the way it's just given me an opportunity to grow and to learn and to hopefully connect a lot more people to this river, because that's what it's all about. We can't lose this liquid lifeline.”

  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Atlanta was named the No. 1 city for new college graduates, according to a survey published on MarketWatch.

    The ATL earned the top spot because of its low rent and high starting wages. The median price for a one-bedroom apartment is $800 and the mean entry-level income is $43,000, according to the survey which was calculated by Homes.com and ForRentUniversity.com. The city also earned props for the number of post-secondary educational institutions (Georgia Tech, Georgia State) and Fortune 500 companies. 

  • The Atlantic

    A subset of mobile computing apps and services are starting to allow the public to become more participatory in their home cities. The tools combine mobile computing devices that collect real- or recent-time data, with new forms of community participation, civic engagement, and local governance. In his research group at Georgia Tech, assistant professor Christopher La Dantec of the School of Literature, Media, and Communications has developed a smartphone app that interfaces with a larger regional planning project. The app, called Cycle Atlanta, enables cyclists to record their ride data—where they’ve gone, why they went there, what kind of cyclist they are—in an effort to collect more knowledge about cycling in the city. But more importantly, rather than just using data to identify faults in need of mending, Cycle Atlanta aggregates information with the explicit goal of helping the Atlanta cycling community advocate for particular infrastructural reforms.

  • The Daily Record

    Jacksonville has been hit with one of the nation’s hottest financial sector trends — REO-to-rental investors, where hedge funds, private equity firms and banks raise millions in capital to buy foreclosed or distressed homes in bulk at bargain prices, rehab them and turn them into rentals. Traditional landlords and owner-occupants would have had a difficult time making a dent in the massive amount of property on the market since the recession. These large institutions and private equity funds have bolstered the recovery of Jacksonville, as professor of City and Regional Planning Dan Immergluck notes. “There’s evidence in markets where they’ve moved in quickly, prices turned around,” Immergluck said. “They were falling, and they either stabilized or they started going up. I think they’ve helped put a floor under properties in some places, and I think that has some positive impacts.”

  • Eco Building Pulse

    Widening the scope of indoor environmental quality (IEQ) to examine how it can include larger-scale initiatives could start to shape the future of design practice. According to prof. Ellen Dunham-Jones, “Architects have a tendency to think their job is the building while stormwater is the engineer’s problem or that anything to do with the site is for the landscape architect. That compartmentalization ignores how interdependent all of these things are.” Architects and designers can start addressing a community’s transportation issues, outdoor space usage, and mental and physical health concerns in their own process to begin strategically engaging IEQ solutions. “We’re beginning to see and understand that there are opportunities to increase wellbeing through design,” Dunham-Jones says. “That’s incredibly empowering.” 

  • The Tennessean

    The work of students in professor Ellen Dunham-Jones’ spring studio, which addresses redevelopment in Nashville’s retail areas, was recently showcased by the Nashville Civic Design Center. The students, along with others from the University of Tennessee, have been researching areas identified by the Nashville Metro Planning Department to develop concepts for bringing economic growth, connections to public transportation, and more urban-style housing to the area. Projects range from the creation of mixed-use walkable communities, smoother transitions between residential neighborhoods and industrial areas, and the design of a more unified landscape connecting important sites in Nashville. 

  • The Courier-Journal

    Louisville, known for its depleted tree cover, will be getting a tree canopy assessment by the end of the year in addition to another study that began in February which is examining Louisville’s issues with urban heat, mapping the hottest areas of the city and assessing the effect of efforts to cool areas with tree planting and cooler building materials. Research out of Georgia Tech found that Louisville may be heating up faster than any other metro area, when city temperatures are compared to the surrounding countryside. Brian Stone, an associate professor of city and regional planning at Georgia Tech's School of City and Regional Planning, has been hired to lead the city’s urban-heat study, which was budgeted at $135,000.

  • NPR

    Associate professor Brian Stone highlighted the importance of early action on combating climate change and its detrimental effects on public health in an interview with NPR. Stone, director of the Urban Climate Lab at Georgia Tech, spoke with correspondent Melissa Block about the threat that heat waves, increasing cases of asthma, and the development of more favorable environments for insect borne diseases will have on global well-being.  Stone outlined ways in which cities can prepare and protect the public from these threats. “Chicago's been trying to cool down the city by using more reflective materials in their alleyways, lighter materials that reflect more sunlight away, and also materials that can allow rainwater to infiltrate,” Stone says. “And so having the moisture, more moisture retained in the city can also cool it down…that's an example of one city that's responded to a historical health threat that is likely to increase in the future in a positive way.”

  • Atlanta Business Chronicle

    An apartment project planned near Atlantic Station is reigniting a debate over whether Atlanta planners should preserve the city’s dwindling industrial land. From 2004 to 2009, Atlanta lost nearly 1,000 acres of industrial land (12 percent) that was redeveloped for other uses, according to a 2009 Georgia Tech report commissioned by the Atlanta Development Authority. At the time of the study, Atlanta had about 5,900 acres of industrial land, or about 7 percent of its total land. “We need to be careful and really strategic about the industrial land we do have,” said professor Nancey Green Leigh, associate dean for research at Georgia Tech’s College of Architecture. “It is job-producing land.”

  • GPB's On the Story

    Nancy Green Leigh, professor and associate dean of research at Georgia Tech's School of City and Regional Planning, and Ryan Gravel (MCP/MArch '99) are featured in this week's On the Story's episode about the Atlanta Beltline. Dr. Leigh lauded the ambitious goals of the project, saying, "The component of [the Atlanta Beltline] that has come together first has been more the recreational part, but it's far more ambitious than that in terms of creating transit-oriented development in a circle all around the city." However, she sees a need for more attention to issues of equality. "We are now ranked the most unequal city out of the 50 largest US cities in the country. So what I would hope for the Beltline... is that would actually be something that is really at the forefront of the dialogue."

  • Georgia Tech News Center

    Students in the Urban Stormwater Planning course taught by professor emeritus Tom Debo of the School of City and Regional Planning served as part of the team that studied and validated the findings of the Stormwater Master Plan. Debo’s curriculum focuses on stormwater management, and the development of the stormwater model at Tech has provided a tool to measure the effectiveness of stormwater systems and test different alternatives. “We also engaged [Research Engineer] Ramachandra Sivakumar in the College of Architecture’s Center for Geographic Information Systems to incorporate the stormwater model in the campus GIS data,” said educational facilities planner Jason Gregory.

  • CBS 42

    The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham has been hired to create a framework plan for North Birmingham redevelopment. Before the commission drafts a plan, they are looking to graduate students from Georgia Tech's School City and Regional Planning. Students in associate professor Nisha Botchwey's Health Impact Assessment (HIA) course presented a draft HIA to members of the North Birmingham Coalition, the Regional Planning Commission, and Birmingham City Councilman William Parker. The students recommendations include down-zoning in areas around industrial facilities, community specific shuttles services for better access to health care, workforce development programs, and a free space plan to help separate industry from residential areas. The final version of the HIA is expected to be complete by summer.

  • GPB News

    While the Atlanta Beltline started out as a Georgia Tech graduate student’s dream back in 1999, it’s become one of the most ambitious urban redevelopment projects in the United States. Dr. Nancy Green Leigh, a professor of regional and city planning at Georgia Tech, says while the Beltline’s concept of turning old railroad tracks into useable pathways isn’t new, the Atlanta Beltline is one of the most wide-ranging urban redesign programs in the country. “The High Line of New York is often cited but (the Beltline) is much bigger than that and much more ambitious,” said Green Leigh. The projected Atlanta Beltline completion date is 2031. The estimated cost of the redevelopment program is approximately $3 billion.

  • 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.

  • DL Daily

    To see the full translation of the original article, click here

    Because of its historical growth in the last decade, Shanghai is facing major rapid development issues as it continues to expand. Prof. Alan Balfour highlighted many of these issues as he discussed urban planning strategies and key factors in development during his interview with DF Daily. Pollution, uncontrolled use of the automobile, uncontrolled development, loss of green space, and uncertain population growth and movement are all major concerns that need to be considered as Shanghai strives to become an innovative world city. “The problems are clear,” Balfour says. “Their solutions needs good science and engineering coupled with imagination and the willingness of policy makers to drive through legislation, which in the short term may be unpopular either with industry or with the general population.

  • 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.