Best New Thing About Atlanta

Beltline

Staff Pick

Not a strip of sod or a splotch of asphalt has been laid for the BELTLINE. But only months after local governments gave it the go-ahead, Atlanta’s most ambitious public-improvement project ever is transforming our landscape. In June, Atlanta purchased the 300–acre Bellwood Quarry to turn it into the city’s largest park. And private developers already are announcing plans for projects that (mostly) complement the tighter, more transit-oriented development the Beltline is designed to encourage. More than that, the Beltline is giving city and civic leaders a powerful tool to reimagine how we’ll live in the future. The project — which envisions a 22-mile transit corridor, along with parks and new development around the urban core — is sure to test our ability over the next couple of decades to make the right choices. Already, bitter disagreements are breaking out: Buses or light rail? Skyscrapers or midrises? But that’s much better for the city than being mired in great dreams that never become reality. If we do the Beltline well, it could be the best thing to happen to Atlanta since the Civil Rights Movement.

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