The Atlanta Beltline combines design, greenspace and transportation into one

The Beltline isn't Atlanta's answer to the High Line, despite having one of the same design firms at the helm.
Written by Beth Carter, Contributing Editor

The Atlanta Beltine isn't just Atlanta's "answer" to the High Line, despite having one of the same design firms at the helm. The Beltline isn't just a park, but a plan to turn an old railroad loop though the city's downtown into a space where public transit, design, trails, and parks meet, with the hope of spurring the local economy and residential areas around it.

According to the Atlantic Cities blog's Kaid Benfield, who has been following the ambitious project since it was announced, the recession has slowed the process of the Beltline's realization.

There is, however, progress to report on in the form of greenspace development in and around the Beltline's corridor, resulting already in some renewal in the depressed neighborhoods that surround the corridor.

The Atlanta BeltLine is a $2.8 billion redevelopment project designed to reshape the way Atlanta moves and grows. The 22-mile loop passes through 45 neighborhoods, and the proposed project will supply them with a huge network of public parks and trails, while connecting them to the larger metro area with a rail system.

According to the Atlanta Beltline, Inc. this is the largest and most comprehensive development project every undertaken in the city and is among the biggest urban redevelopment projects in the country.

The Beltline integrates design with transportation, greenspace and sustainable development, but at its heart the project is designed around the future of Atlanta. According to the ABI, Atlanta's growth up until now has happened in a disjointed and spread-out fashion, hindering the quality of life of many residents and the economic growth of the neighborhoods. The Beltline project hopes to shape the way that sprawl occurs in the upcoming decades.

If completed as planned, the Beltline will increase Atlanta's greenspace by around 40 percent, adding 1300 new acres over less than 25 years.

Perkins+Will architects and James Corner Field Operations were chosen to design the new corridor. One of the leaders of the team from Perkins+Will is Ryan Gravel, an urban designer whose graduate thesis is the basis of the project. James Corner Field Operations recently completed the second phase of the High Line.

The Atlanta Beltline is still in its preliminary stages, but the big name firms, the support of the community and long term goals, will help the project receive the funding it needs.

[Via Atlantic Cities]
Images: Atlanta Beltline

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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