City on the Verge: Atlanta and the Fight for America's Urban Future

City on the Verge: Atlanta and the Fight for America's Urban Future

by Mark Pendergrast


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What we can learn from Atlanta's struggle to reinvent itself in the 21st Century

Atlanta is on the verge of tremendous rebirth-or inexorable decline. A kind of Petri dish for cities struggling to reinvent themselves, Atlanta has the highest income inequality in the country, gridlocked highways, suburban sprawl, and a history of racial injustice. Yet it is also an energetic, brash young city that prides itself on pragmatic solutions.

Today, the most promising catalyst for the city's rebirth is the BeltLine, which the New York Times described as "a staggeringly ambitious engine of urban revitalization." A long-term project that is cutting through forty-five neighborhoods ranging from affluent to impoverished, the BeltLine will complete a twenty-two-mile loop encircling downtown, transforming a massive ring of mostly defunct railways into a series of stunning parks connected by trails and streetcars.

Acclaimed author Mark Pendergrast presents a deeply researched, multi-faceted, up-to-the-minute history of the biggest city in America's Southeast, using the BeltLine saga to explore issues of race, education, public health, transportation, business, philanthropy, urban planning, religion, politics, and community.

An inspiring narrative of ordinary Americans taking charge of their local communities, City of the Verge provides a model for how cities across the country can reinvent themselves.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465054732
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 05/16/2017
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 405,660
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Mark Pendergrast is an independent scholar who brews a fantastic cup of coffee. He is the author of many books, including For God, Country and Coca-Cola. He lives in Vermont.

Table of Contents

Introduction Atlanta's Livable Future ix

Part I Building the Beltline

Prologue Walking the BeltLine 3

Chapter 1 Ryan Gravel's Epiphany 13

Chapter 2 City on the Move 31

Chapter 3 First Bumps Along the BeltLine 47

Chapter 4 Two Atlantas: The Racial Divide 63

Chapter 5 Learning to Fly While Building an Airplane 85

Chapter 6 Mansions and Cat Holes 105

Chapter 7 A Stake in the Ground 121

Chapter 8 The Public's Health 137

Chapter 9 Impossible but Inevitable 155

Part II Neighbors

Chapter 10 East BeltLine: Chic, Walkable Neighborhoods 173

Chapter 11 South BeltLine: A Slow Dance to Better Communities 189

Chapter 12 West BeltLine: Trouble and Promise 203

Chapter 13 North BeltLine: Easy Streets 225

Chapter 14 Outside and Inside the BeltLine 243

Chapter 15 The Future of Atlanta 267

Epilogue: Georgia on My Mind 291

Acknowledgments 295

Glossary 299

Photo Credits 301

Note on Sources 303

Index 311

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