Downtown Atlanta’s historical Fairlie Poplar possesses the bones and beauty to rival renowned urban landscapes including Portland. But what does it take to be hailed a captivating city - good bones and beauty? Maybe it’s the poetry of cities that attract us? Maybe it’s the commerce and stability? Individuals like urbanist Jeff Speck have been working to peel back the layers of what it means to be a great urban destination.
Jeff Speck on embracing urban grids. Courtesy of TedCity2.0.
Portland draws us in with a lifestyle we desire – art, culture, beautiful streets built to walk or bike, captivating people, eateries, marketplaces - a city that is engaged with its people and has embraced its urban core. We are beginning to similarly experience Downtown embracing its urban strengths. Locations like Woodruff Park and Broad Street are bustling lunch destinations that boast delicious eateries and gorgeous atmosphere. The streetcar’s presence has created connectivity Downtown, and its proposed extension to the Beltline will create city-wide access. Cycling initiatives like the Peachtree Center Ave two-way cycling track, the connecting of bike tracks from Centennial Park to Stone Mountain, and the city bike share program set to launch this year, have further strengthened the notion that Downtown is a place to be.
If connectivity, an appreciation for urban culture, and celebrating the amenities of its city are part of what keeps Portland weird, then we say #GetWeirdATL. Portland may be bringing a lot of organic urban feels to the West Coast, but Downtown Atlanta has the South covered. So to my fellow ATLians - get on a bike, walk to lunch, stop by your local art gallery or enjoy ATL’s parks - whatever you do, make sure to hop off the outdated sprawl and plug into ATL’s heart. #BeDowntown