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.
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About the Author
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
Photo Credits 301
Note on Sources 303