Elsewhere, a bustling, broad-shouldered, wide-ranging city like Atlanta sometimes left its center behind. All across America, the coming of the Interstate Highway system a half-century ago led, in many cases, to some degree of hollowing out in the places where those cities had seen their origins. Town squares, rail stations, and downtown shopping districts that originally magnetized our interaction with each other became places to vacate, even to avoid, and people seemed willing, for a generation or two, to spend a lot of their week behind the wheel, commuting to work, school, shopping, or recreation.
In contrast, the condos for sale in Midtown Atlanta testify to our city’s longtime recognition of the value of our core, and Atlanta’s leadership in re-inventing urban life for the 21stcentury. Today, the Atlanta condo is often the residence of choice for the people who fuel the new economy – entrepreneurs and engineers, artists and entertainers, craftspeople and inventors. The condos at Atlantic Station offer a particularly fine example of the ways that luxury today does not call for commuting.
What’s There and What Could Be There
How the center of Atlanta emerged yet again as a cultural, financial, and innovational powerhouse is a story of Atlanta’s unusual ability to recognize what to keep, what to change, and what to create from scratch. The result of this ability is a wide and growing variety of live-work-play neighborhoods that exemplify the preferred lifestyles of “the creative class,” the people on whom today’s economy relies.
In the railways that knit together Atlanta’s industrial past, visionaries saw what became the Atlanta Beltline, an “emerald necklace” of green pathways and parks that extends through a 22-mile loop connecting 45 Atlanta neighborhoods – and nourishing economic development all along the way. One of the largest gems on that necklace is a new park, as well as a residential-commercial project, taking shape on the sculpted terrain of a rock quarry that once provided pavement and monumental architecture to Atlanta a century ago.
A bike-friendly Midtown shows yet again the Atlanta ability to dance with the future, seeing ahead and building to bring it about. A monitoring system recorded 720,000 bike trips through just the Midtown corridors alone last year. Pedestrian safety and appeal are also priorities, bearing fruit in economic activity downtown and elsewhere, as trees and walkways are added according to plan.