The Backbone of Atlanta: Urban Parks and the Atlanta Beltline
In a city notorious for its maze of skyscrapers, relentless traffic and confined space, Atlanta's urban park system plays an essential role in its residents' well-being. An essential but often neglected component of a city's past infrastructure, these dynamic institutions aren't adequately appreciated because they aren't fully understood.
Vital to the success of urban parks and greenspace is the idea that limited space does not equal limited design. The misconception of a tight-knit link between parks and a need for abundant space is shattered by strategic placemaking. Whether by reshaping current public spaces or creating new ones, our objective is to enhance these places' overall physical, cultural and social identities. When you create an environment that is inherently centered on socialization rather than auto-centric purposes, no matter its size, you see a rise in well-being of its end users. These institutions offer opportunities for physical activity and relief from everyday stress.
As a principal specializing in landscape architecture, my goal with every project is to tailor it to the end user. My colleagues and I focus on creating a sense of place throughout development with unique features, functionality, comfort, safety, flexibility and most of all authenticity. Following suit with Atlanta's recent connectivity initiative, projects on the board are being designed for connecting neighborhoods, maximum pedestrian flow while still maintaining an intimate atmosphere for those who plan on staying awhile.
Atlanta's Department of Parks and Recreation's prioritization of connectivity is creating a blueprint that will propel the city-wide greenspace agenda*. Showcased by the Atlanta Beltline, what we see more and more is a commitment to our community's well-being. Working in a domino effect, clients are now considering connectivity to the Beltline to be a necessity for their project agenda. Nobody wants to be isolated from what is quickly becoming the local hub of activity and entertainment.
*It's important to note that the key differentiator for Atlanta's network of urban parks is the approach taken to design, implementation and maintenance. Our current well-designed and well-maintained parks enable us to propel forward with this connectivity movement successfully.
With the development of new public greenspace projects we aim to fuel the connectivity movement, increasing pedestrian safety with an environment that preserves the vibrancy of activity and engagement year-round.