City on the Verge

Atlanta and the Fight for America's Urban Future


By Mark Pendergrast

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What we can learn from Atlanta’s struggle to reinvent itself in the 21st Century

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.


These two photos—of traffic on I-75/85 and bikers on the BeltLine—represent two sides of Atlanta.

The Atlanta BeltLine. The black line is the twenty-two-mile planned streetcar corridor. The dotted line is the somewhat longer trail, which sometime departs from the corridor.


Atlanta is on the brink of either tremendous rebirth or inexorable decline. At the center of a perfect storm of failed American urban policies, Atlanta has the highest income inequality, and its metro area features the longest commutes, in the country; attempts at twentieth-century urban renewal blasted highways through the city center and destroyed neighborhoods; suburban sprawl impaired the environment even as it eroded the urban tax base and exacerbated a long history of racial injustice. Although many cities across America suffer these problems, the issues have collided nowhere so conspicuously as in Atlanta.

Consequently, Atlanta's quest for reinvention maps onto America's broader struggle to renew its cities: to transcend racism, segregation, and gaping economic divides, to transition from cars to public transit and walkable environments, to find new prosperity in the ruins of vanished industries. Having undergone an extraordinary transformation in recent decades, the city is now on the verge of emerging from its adolescence to become a grown-up city, with enough density to support a web of public transit, plenty of parks connected by multiuse trails, bike-friendly streets, and opportunities for people in the most troubled neighborhoods to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. Yet Atlanta has been on the verge of something for most of its relatively brief history, and there is a real danger that the city's leaders will opt, once again, for image over fundamental change. Atlanta cannot afford to wait any longer; nor can the country.

The most promising symbol of the city's potential for rebirth is the Atlanta BeltLine. A twenty-two-mile ring of mostly defunct rail lines, running through forty-five neighborhoods girdling Atlanta's downtown, the BeltLine is currently being transformed into a stunning pedestrian walkway and potential streetcar line. The project's backers hope that it will spur redevelopment, urban activism, community organizing, and environmental awareness. Many see it is a model for the next American city: walkable and accessible, diverse both economically and racially. Its success will reflect a remarkable turn of events, since the BeltLine's rail beds once served to segregate the city by race. Yet, as with all massive social endeavors, the BeltLine has faced countless obstacles and fierce critiques, including from those who fear that the project will displace the city's poorer black residents with wealthier white ones.

City on the Verge dives deep into Atlanta's history but focuses on the BeltLine's evolving struggles as emblematic of the greater forces sweeping through the city and country at large. This potential "emerald necklace," as architect and city planner Alexander Garvin (who helped plan its new parks) has called it, could rejuvenate the heart and soul of the city. The Atlanta BeltLine also provides a wonderful lens for viewing the disparate areas of the city, north, east, south, and west, rich and poor, white and black. In literally encircling the city it provides a metaphorical narrative hoop on which to organize the book, with forays into the inner city as well as the outlying suburbs.

The success of the Atlanta BeltLine is key to the city's rejuvenation, helping to reverse the late-twentieth-century "white flight" into the suburbs, which produced some of the worst sprawl in the country. You might say that the battle over the BeltLine is a matter of life or death: Atlanta could emerge as a truly great city—or it could fall back into congested mediocrity.

Because Atlanta combines so many of the nation's urban ills, City on the Verge provides a key to understanding the crises—and potential renaissance—of American cities generally. "Americans sense that something is wrong with the places where we live and work and go about our daily business," wrote social critic James Howard Kunstler in 1996. "We drive up and down the gruesome, tragic suburban boulevards of commerce, and we're overwhelmed at the fantastic, awesome, stupefying ugliness of absolutely everything in sight… as though the whole thing had been designed by some diabolical force bent on making human beings miserable." Atlanta is an extreme case in point. Just a few years after Kunstler wrote, Time magazine featured it as the classic exemplar of American urban sprawl: "Once wilderness, [metro Atlanta is] now a 13-county eruption, one that has been called the fastest-spreading human settlement in history. What it leaves behind is tract houses, access roads, strip malls, off ramps, industrial parks and billboards advertising more tract houses where the peach trees used to be."

As a relatively low-density city surrounded by mall-studded suburbs, Atlanta most closely resembles other Sunbelt cities, such as Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Miami, San Jose, and Los Angeles. The pressure on these urban centers to reinvent themselves through "smart growth" that fosters safe, affordable, dense, mixed-use, transit-friendly neighborhoods will only increase, as nearly 90 percent of US population growth over the next two decades is projected to occur there.

"Atlanta is traffic-obsessed to a degree that, among major American cities, perhaps only Los Angeles can match. And it is the place where traffic and demographic inversion [young adults and affluent retirees moving in to the city, while immigrants and the poor shift to the suburbs] seem… to be most closely tied together," wrote Alan Ehrenhalt in The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City (2012). Traffic obsessed, yes, because Atlanta is also traffic strangled. This city "has probably been the source of more bad transportation policy than any other in America," wrote David Owen in Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less Are the Keys to Sustainability (2009).

Unless Atlanta can reposition itself—no longer perceived as a congested, sprawling, auto-dependent area—it risks slowly dissolving into an amorphous urban shell, leaving isolated communities powerless to attract business, fix infrastructure, solve huge health problems, or resolve racial prejudice and income inequity.

Atlanta is not alone in its attempts to adjust to new urban realities. In the era of the automobile, American cities evolved into places that inadvertently made lives more harried and less healthy. Inner cities decayed. People sat in cars rather than biking or walking. Junk food was cheaper and easier to find than fresh fruit and vegetables. The "edge cities" surrounding the urban core, accessible only by automobile, leeched life and business from traditional downtowns. (In metro Atlanta, the oxymoronically named Perimeter Center exemplifies the phenomenon.) Over the past two decades, some US cities have clawed their way back to civility. Eschewing suburban commuter hell, empty nesters and young professionals have relocated to innovative cities such as Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Charlotte, North Carolina, which are far ahead of Atlanta in terms of livable initiatives such as bike lanes, trails, parks, and streetcars.

While not the only such urban project, the BeltLine is the most ambitious and transformative. And with its short, turbulent history, hubris, diversity, creative public-private partnerships, fraught politics, climate, and dramatically contrasting affluence and poverty, Atlanta can serve as a kind of petri dish for the remaking of a city. If it succeeds, it will offer hope and an example for other urban areas; if it fails, it will become a cautionary tale of epic proportions: this is how to create an unlivable urban area.

So if Atlanta doesn't fail, what will its future look like? What could the BeltLine do for the urban core, for real estate and jobs as well as individuals and families? Here is a hopeful vision:

Atlanta, 2030. John and Susan live in the NuGrape Lofts on Ralph McGill Boulevard, right on the BeltLine. On summer nights, they sit out on the old cement loading dock, enjoying a glass of wine as people stroll by, walking their dogs, romancing, or looking for a bite to eat. Rollerbladers and cyclists zip along in their own lanes. Every few minutes, a streetcar clangs by. On workdays, John walks north on the BeltLine past the Historic Fourth Ward Park, admiring the sunken pond and its amphitheater surrounded by terraces, fountains, and boardwalks, then turns left across a pedestrian bridge to the huge Ponce City Market building, where he works in a café. On his way home, he sometimes ventures a bit farther south on the BeltLine to watch kids perform terrifying maneuvers in the skateboard park. Susan grabs the streetcar, changing at North Avenue to head west toward Georgia Tech, where she is an administrator. On weekends, John and Susan often jump on their bikes to explore the city and the many parks along the twenty-two-mile BeltLine trail that circles it. They can also veer off on spur trails into the city or connect to the Silver Comet trail going toward Alabama. Riding gives them a more holistic feel for Atlanta than driving. The view of the city skyline constantly shifts. They share the trail and the city with people of all shades and ethnicities—African Americans, whites, Hispanics, Koreans, Bosnians, Somalis, gays, straights, pensioners, children. They ride past some of the wealthiest as well as some of the poorest city neighborhoods, though all property near the BeltLine has gone up in value, as more people move into the corridor.

Despite many unanticipated setbacks, Atlanta is already realizing this vision straight out of the "new urbanism" playbook.* The NuGrape building, headquarters for the soda pop company from 1937 through 1971, has indeed been converted into high-ceilinged lofts, and residents really do sit out on the former loading dock on summer nights. The Historic Fourth Ward Park, with its nearby skateboard area, was finished in 2011, and the massive old Sears warehouse on Ponce de Leon Avenue is now the Ponce City Market, a combined retail, residential, and commercial space. The 2.25-mile Eastside Trail section that goes by the NuGrape Lofts was paved, landscaped, and completed in late 2012. In December 2014, the city inaugurated an east-west streetcar loop—the first in the city since 1949—through the downtown area, which may eventually link into the BeltLine system.**

The restoration of the long-empty Sears behemoth and the replacement of a flood-prone area of abandoned warehouses and decaying businesses with a large park are near-miracles in a city that has specialized in tearing down historic buildings and underfunding even its existing parks. And the BeltLine itself, its Eastside Trail jammed with pedestrians, bikers, and dog walkers, is perhaps the greatest miracle, repurposing a derelict corridor of mostly abandoned rail lines as a combination of trails, parks, mixed-income housing, retail and office space, and possible public transit that may revitalize the city.

Twenty-two percent of Atlanta's population lives along the BeltLine, which is, according to land use strategist Christopher Leinberger, "the most important rail-transit project that's been proposed in the country, possibly in the world." New York Times reporter Richard Fausset called the BeltLine "a staggeringly ambitious engine of urban revitalization." Kaid Benfield of the Natural Resources Defense Council deemed it "the country's best smart growth project… so enormous, so multifaceted, so ambitious and potentially transformative, and so complicated that it is difficult to know where to start."

The story of how the BeltLine began in 1999, as a master's thesis by an unknown architectural grad student named Ryan Gravel, developed a grassroots following, and ultimately gained acceptance from Atlanta's mayors, corporations, and nonprofits, all the while pushing through various obstacles that threatened to derail the project, is complicated and fascinating. And although particular to this city's struggle to create the BeltLine, the convoluted politics, legal issues, and improvisational strategies should inform other urban efforts, which inevitably face their own challenges. The often overlooked but crucial metropolis of Atlanta can inform the future of our cities nationwide, with their own all-too-familiar woes.

But this book goes well beyond the BeltLine project, transformative as it may be. It also analyzes the city and region, looking at such issues as transportation, race, housing, education, religion, the environment, energy, public health, business, politics, and the economy. Mirroring the spur trails off the BeltLine, spur sections discuss related places and subjects.

Still, the BeltLine remains the project that will link disparate areas of the city. Though this massive undertaking will take at least another decade or two to complete, undoubtedly encountering many more bumps along the way, it is well under way, supported with funds stemming from Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Cox Enterprises, and UPS, among others. The city government is squarely behind the effort.

In Makeshift Metropolis: Ideas About Cities (2010), Witold Rybcynski noted, "Large cities currently have a number of significant disincentives: faltering school systems, high tax burdens, unwieldy municipal bureaucracies, poor services, and unresponsive governments." Again, God knows, Atlanta has provided ample evidence. But with the BeltLine maintaining the momentum generated by its grassroots origins, the city government has become more responsive; services are improving, and schools are likely to follow in time. Still, this story is far from over and involves failures and looming questions as well as successes.

Although set in the present with a view to the future, City on the Verge draws on a rich historical context. A century ago, cities may have been dirty and polluted, but they were dense, vital hubs of industry and commerce. Workers lived in neighborhoods near factories (like Atlanta's Cabbagetown, near the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill) serviced by railroads. Wealthier people lived further out along the streetcar lines in the first suburbs (like Inman Park). During the 1920s, the automobile began to change that way of life and culture. In the postwar era, desegregation and white flight to the suburbs hollowed out downtowns, a trend ultimately tied to important public health issues such as air pollution, global warming, water availability, affordable housing, and increased obesity.

Still a young city, Atlanta has yet to clearly define itself or its future. After General William Tecumseh Sherman reduced it to ashes in 1864 during the Civil War, it re-created itself as the "Phoenix City," and it has been reinventing itself ever since, boasting about the "Atlanta Spirit," labeling itself "the World's Next Great City," all the while unsure of its real character. "If Atlanta could suck as well as it blows, it would be a sea port," one cynic observed in the 1890s, implying that Atlantans were blowhards. Although never a typical Southern city, it has that patina of gracious living cheek by jowl with hardscrabble poverty. It has precious few historic buildings, having routinely torn down the old and thrown up new skyscrapers (or parking lots, stadiums, and convention centers). Unplanned development has rendered metro Atlanta a mishmash of malls and crowded expressways, with mostly segregated neighborhoods surrounding a hollowed-out downtown core. Its public schools are deeply troubled.

Yet Atlanta remains a tremendously appealing place to live. People who move to the city for their own or a spouse's job usually come to love its diversity, energy, distinctive neighborhoods, restaurants, theater, museums, music, sports, and recreational opportunities. More young people are choosing to live "in-town," helping to rejuvenate troubled neighborhoods. For a major metropolitan area, Atlanta still retains a small-town, intimate feel. Everybody seems to know everyone else, along with the latest gossip. And yes, it does indeed foster a type of Southern hospitality you won't find in New York. Amid accents of all kinds, you'll still hear "How y'all doin' today?" Although the summers can be brutally hot and humid, nothing makes you appreciate a swimming pool or ice-cold Coca-Cola more, and then there are the warm, magical summer nights. Atlanta winters are mild; springtime explodes with daffodils, azaleas, and dogwoods; and the autumn is long and mellow.

Atlanta offers diversity in all senses of the word. It is a troubled, dynamic, appealing, contradictory city, and the BeltLine project has the potential to envelope it with a livable new urbanism where people can walk and bike, enjoy parks, and get around on streetcars (or bus rapid transit) and rapid transit. The BeltLine will link to new urban farms whose fresh food can contribute to better health, along with an active lifestyle.

As an Atlanta native with a profound personal involvement with the city, I now live far away in northern Vermont. Yet I have continued to monitor the problems and progress of my birthplace through the years as I have returned to visit family and friends, as well as to research two other Atlanta-related books (For God, Country, and Coca-Cola and Inside the Outbreaks).

I wrote most of City on the Verge in standard journalistic third person, but readers will find me popping up in the first person throughout the book. I grew up in the city, and my family's roots in the region extend back generations. I was born on October 1, 1948, the year before the decommissioning of Atlanta's last streetcars in favor of trackless trolleys (buses with overhead electric lines), themselves soon replaced by diesel-fuming buses. I recall my father giving the finger to Ku Klux Klansmen as we drove past the field where they were burning a cross in Marietta. During my childhood African Americans had separate schools, bathrooms, and drinking fountains. Like most upscale families, we had a black maid, whom I loved deeply, though I knew virtually nothing about the part of town in which she lived.

As a teenager, I worked for a summer as a welder's assistant at Southern Cross Industries (formerly the Southern Spring Bed Company), where my father was an executive. My great grandfather had founded the business in 1884, two years before Coca-Cola was invented in Atlanta, in the same era that produced the BeltLine railroads, which skirted the overburdened central rail junctions and helped to open the outlying area to industry. Today that bedding factory on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive (formerly Hunter Street) has been converted into the Mattress Factory Lofts. Ironically, MLK Jr. also worked there for a summer as an adolescent.

I remember when the "Atlanta Population Now" sign on Peachtree Street, which tracks the growth of metropolitan Atlanta, broke 1 million people in 1959 (it now exceeds 6 million in a thirty-nine-county area, projected to swell to 8 million by 2040). I remember when Interstate 75 plowed through the red clay near my home on West Paces Ferry Road in the 1960s.

That road was named for the man who operated a ferry across the nearby Chattahoochee River. I used to canoe on its muddy waters, colored and polluted by the runoff from eroded developments upstream. I knew that Native Americans once lived there too. I found their arrowheads in the woods. On a school trip, I visited the Etowah Indian Mounds, where ancestors of the Creek Indians lived 1,000 years ago. On a family vacation to the mountains of North Carolina, I watched Unto These Hills, a dramatization of the 1838–1839 expulsion of the Cherokees along the "Trail of Tears."

Yet it didn't occur to me that European settlers had killed or driven out the Creek and Cherokee who used to live in what I knew as Atlanta. And despite unearthing musket balls from the Civil War, seeing Gone with the Wind (which premiered in Atlanta in 1939), and visiting the Cyclorama near the Grant Park Zoo, it didn't occur to me that this war was fought because those white men had imported and enslaved the Africans whose ancestors provided domestic servants for the wealthy enclave in which I grew up. Like most children, I simply accepted my world as the given order. Only in retrospect did I recognize what a small and privileged bubble that world represented.

So the research for this book has in many ways given me an opportunity to explore my native city for the first time. I have walked the entire BeltLine and stayed overnight with kind hosts in its wildly disparate surrounding neighborhoods. I have interviewed hundreds of people, ranging from the homeless, to Mayor Kasim Reed and former mayors Shirley Franklin and Sam Massell, to BeltLine and neighborhood leaders and activists present and past. I have also spent time in Gwinnett County to the north; Clayton County to the south; Decatur, Clarkston, and Stone Mountain to the east; and Serenbe to the southwest.

All of this has reminded me once again what a marvelous, crazy blend of a city Atlanta is, where a chic, upscale restaurant like Two Urban Licks, housed in a cavernous former warehouse right next to the BeltLine in the Old Fourth Ward, lies only minutes from Bedford Pine, a subsidized housing complex along Boulevard Avenue that is notorious for drug deals, crime, and prostitution. The ultramodern reflective skyscrapers of Buckhead and Peachtree lift out of concrete pads that ooze red clay. With more trees than any other major American urban area, Atlanta looks like a forest from on high, and the whole city thrums on a summer night with the sound of cicadas and the scent of magnolias. Yet it has a paucity of parks compared to most other American metropolises and is one of the least pedestrian-friendly cities in the world.

Walking the BeltLine, interviewing the homeless, the police, the neighbors, the drug dealers, the activists, the developers, the hustlers, the hip-hop artists, the new immigrants, the entrepreneurs, the academics, the students, the nouveau riche, and the old guard, I have sought to connect the dots of past and present, rich and poor, black and white. The BeltLine, in encircling the city, connects areas whose inhabitants hardly know one another now. It has also served for me as a kind of metaphor in a personal journey of reconnection and discovery.

I am opinionated and passionate about my native city. Nonetheless, I won't express many opinions again until the final chapter. I prefer to let the facts and characters speak for themselves so that readers are free to make their own judgments. By the time I offer my own, perhaps those conclusions will dovetail with yours, based on the stories you've read—or perhaps not.

A road map of the book you're about to read is necessary. The contents reflect original research, extensive historical reading, news synthesis, nearly four hundred interviews, and old-fashioned shoe-leather journalism. In Part One, chapter styles trade off with one another. One set of chapters offers an unbroken linear narrative of the BeltLine's evolution and struggle, while alternating chapters offer expansive perspectives on Atlanta's history, transportation and racial issues, housing, public health, urban planning, education, and more. Part Two offers a panoramic view of the city from the ground level, with chapters exploring the neighborhoods adjacent to the BeltLine, towns "outside the Perimeter"—or OTP—of the city proper, and, finally, the troubled downtown "hole" in the BeltLine donut. By the end we've brought the story up to date and look to Atlanta's future.

That future looks hopeful but is by no means etched in stone. There is no guarantee that the entire BeltLine loop and other sustainable development efforts will be completed. The city doesn't even own the entire BeltLine right-of-way—the railroads still own about 40 percent—and the project has really just begun. Its financing remains unclear, as does whether streetcars will (or should) parallel the trail. Yet it is a good and worthy fight, one that has inspired the city in ways I never could have imagined just a few years ago. I hope you will take inspiration from the effort and join me in rooting for my hometown and the rest of America's cities.

Part I


Part I explains how the BeltLine developed, bringing the story to the end of 2015. Alternating chapters explore relevant Atlanta history and other issues, such as race and health.



When the design of public infrastructure directs private action, architecture and planning become political.

—Ryan Gravel, Belt Line—Atlanta, December 1999 master's thesis

Most summer mornings in 1995, Ryan Gravel, then twenty-two, sat behind his steering wheel in the I-285 Perimeter gridlock as he drove from his suburban home in north Chamblee, Georgia, to work as an intern at Fowler Design Associates, an Atlanta architecture firm. He hated the commute. "There are a lot of great things about Atlanta, but this wasn't one of them, and I was quite miserable," he recalled. He daydreamed about the spring when, as a college senior at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), he had studied in Paris at the École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Paris–La Villette. What a contrast! Taking the metro or walking everywhere, he hadn't needed a car. "I was in the best shape of my life. I lost twenty pounds in a month and felt great." Pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, all with their own markets offering fresh food, dotted the city. Life was more civilized and healthy. Why couldn't Atlanta be like that?

Nor was Gravel happy with his job at Fowler, where he designed suburban malls. "I felt I was part of the problem." In the fall of 1996, after the Atlanta Summer Olympics, Gravel returned to Georgia Tech to earn a joint master's degree in architecture and city planning. As he searched for a thesis topic, he thought about the old Atlanta rail lines he had explored as an undergrad. Also, as part of his graduate work, he had compiled a facilities inventory for the Atlanta Public Schools, which took him into every city neighborhood. "My experience touring around, combined with knowledge of the old rail lines, got me interested in how connected these communities could be." He realized that four of those lines—originally the Atlanta & Richmond Air-Line Railway, Seaboard Air Line Railway, Atlanta & West Point Belt Line, and Louisville & Nashville Railroad Belt Line—encircled the city, within two or three miles of the downtown area, and ran through dozens of diverse neighborhoods.


  • "City on the Verge is a deeply researched effort to capture [the city's] history and, along the way, paint a portrait of Atlanta's neighborhoods, from the still elite area where the author spent his childhood to bustling zones of gentrification and immovable pockets of desperation."
    Douglas Blackmon, Wall Street Journal
  • "A lively urban history, charting Atlanta's growth and linking it to political developments over time... [Pendergrast] is generally optimistic, even in a time when taxpayers are reluctant to shoulder the burden of improving the commonweal: 'Change is in the air in Atlanta,' he writes, 'mostly for the good.'... A welcome look at a city-a mass of cities-not often heard from in the urban-studies literature and of wide interest well beyond the I-95 corridor."

    Kirkus Reviews
  • "Pendergrast, an Atlanta native, devotes this detailed study to how the city [Atlanta] might be revived and reimagined for the 21st century. Mixing planning, history, and personal anecdotes, he describes an urban renewal project's path from grassroots idea to $4 billion project.... Pendergrast has an obvious love for both the city and the energy behind the BeltLine project."

    Publishers Weekly
  • "An enchanting story of a Sunbelt city that will captivate both urban planners and the general public. An Atlanta native, the author brings an engaging and insightful voice to this work, and his research is meticulously thorough."
    Library Journal
  • "Offering both an account of Atlanta's tumultuous history and an anatomical breakdown of the BeltLine project so far, Pendergrast situates City on the Verge within the larger context of urban America's future. A must-read for urban-planning junkies, it should also appeal to those interested in community building and the oft-charged politics of the built environment."
    Seven Days
  • "City on the Verge is a must read for city-builders, urbanists, and anyone who cares about our future. Sunbelt cities like Atlanta are booming, attracting people from across the country and remaking themselves from sprawling suburban areas to more dynamic urban centers. With a journalist's eye for detail and a writerly knack for great story-telling, Mark Pendergrast takes us inside the forces and actors that are transforming Atlanta and the urban world we live in."
    Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class and of The New Urban Crisis
  • "Atlanta colleagues used to joke that Atlanta was the "Public Health Capital of the US" because it had CDC, the Carter Center, and good hospitals. "No," I would argue, "There aren't enough sidewalks, scarcely anywhere to walk, and parks are too few and poorly accessible. The place seems built only for car drivers and country club members. In Mark Pendergrast's excellent book, we see how Atlanta is going from a fat city to a healthy one with the help of the BeltLine and good leadership."
    Dr. Richard Jackson, former Director, CDC National Center for Environmental Health, and author of Designing Healthy Communities

On Sale
May 16, 2017
Page Count
352 pages
Basic Books

Mark Pendergrast

About the Author

Mark Pendergrast is an independent scholar who brews a fantastic cup of coffee. He is the author of many books, including For God, Country and Coca-Cola. He lives in Vermont

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