Why I support the city's re-org of Planning & Community Development


Image from Planning Atlanta - A New City in the Making 1930s - 1990s - City Planning Maps from GSU Digital Collections

Office of Neighborhoods? Transportation planning with a focus on transit? A Main Street program for the city of Atlanta? Design studios that go to where the people are? This is no planning utopia, but elements of a bold plan introduced by Commissioner Tim Keane to reorganize The City of Atlanta Department of Planning and Community Development. 

I'm a big fan of this plan because I believe it will expand the city's capacity to take a bigger leadership role in designing the city for all. Specific to biking, neighborhood level planning, transit, and main streets that recognize the increasing role of high quality bike lanes that support local businesses all have great potential.

Read more after the jump, and find out how you can support this progressive move. 

Great summary sent by a friend:

"The City of Atlanta Department of Planning and Community Development under the direction of Commissioner Tim Keane has developed a strategy for the re-organization and expansion of the Department.  Commissioner Keane has presented this proposal to Atlanta City Council as part of the FY2017 budget process.  See the attached PDF excerpt from the full city budget proposal for details regarding the proposal including an organizational chart.  Key points of the plan include:

  • 12 new positions and approximately 5 positions transferred from the Office of Buildings = 17 positions
  • Creation of an “Office of Neighborhoods” and an “Office of Design”
  • Expansion of the Office of Transportation Planning with a deliberate focus on transit
  • A new focus for the Office of Housing

The adoption of this proposal and the budget is not a slam dunk.  Your help is needed to tell City Council that you support the proposal for a new and improved Department of Planning and Community Development.

What you can do: 

There's a Council Work Session Wednesday, June 8th at 10:00 a.m. at Atlanta City Hall. You can attend, or just send an email to Atlanta City Council supporting the budget proposal. Here are the email addresses you need to reach city council:

[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected],[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected],[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected],[email protected][email protected][email protected],[email protected]

Then share this with your friends and neighbors and ask them to lift their voices too!

Here are just a few reasons why you might support the proposal, but please include your own.

  • The Department performs activities that are vitally important to the quality of life for city residents and it has been under-staffed for too long.  Now is the time to commit the resources to protect the livability of the city.
  • The thoughtful and deliberate Urban Design of our city – both public spaces and private buildings – is critical to our future vibrancy and authenticity as a unique urban place that is competing to attract population and investment.  The creation of a Design Studio is an important step for the City of Atlanta to lead and guide the urban design of our city.  
  • The city should support neighborhood-based, small-scale revitalization efforts – not just the big “silver bullet” projects - and creating an “Office of Neighborhoods” will help do that.
  • The city investing in a Main Street program is long overdue.  The Main Street program is a nationwide proven model that can:
    • Leverage community-based organizations to support revitalization of neighborhood-scale commercial districts
    • Retain and create jobs in the City of Atlanta through small business and entrepreneur enterprises
    • Improve the quality of life of Atlanta neighborhoods by supporting community-serving commercial establishments
    • Protect and preserve the unique character of historic neighborhood-scale commercial districts
  • It is exciting for the Department to have a clear vision for how the city should grow and redevelop.  Planning should be proactive and advocate for what we want and not just be reactive to what comes along.
  • An increased focus on transportation and planning – specifically streets and sidewalks – is needed due to continued growth and a desire for the city to be walkable and bikeable."