Atlanta is one of the fastest growing cities in America. Under the leadership of the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), local governments and nonprofits in the area are thinking creatively about how to manage the many challenges that accompany the city’s rapid development. ARC’s Livable Communities Initiative grants work to improve the livability of the Atlanta region, one community at a time, by supporting plans to link transportation and land use.
With help from many funding sources, including the Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Highway Administration, ARC provides grants to local governments and nonprofit organizations to link transportation improvements with land use development strategies. Planning grants are awarded on a competitive basis to local governments and non-profit organizations that use these funds to prepare plans for the enhancement of existing centers and corridors. The primary goals of the program are to:
• Encourage a diversity of mixed-income residential neighborhoods, employment, shopping and recreation choices at the activity center, town center, and corridor level;
• Provide access to a range of travel modes including transit, roadways, walking and biking to enable access to all uses within the study area;
• Develop an outreach process that promotes the involvement of all stakeholders.
According to the Livable Communities website a few benefits of the initiative include:
• 84,506 residential units
• 12,329 hotel units
• Over 19 million square feet of commercial retail space
• Over 38 million square feet of office space
These new developments are a great example of a coordinated planning project in the Atlanta region. Furthermore, the emphasis on community involvement, reducing green house gasses, and building communities near public transportation illustrate the principles of the Federal partnership that is working to build sustainable communities across the country.