Nǐmen dōu dédàole mànyán or 你们都得到了蔓延
That’s Chinese for “Y’all, we got sprawl.”
The podcast: In this week’s podcast, Jason and I discuss the Beltline and how Atlanta is transforming from a city that just a few years ago was a poster child for hyper-sprawl. Atlanta is a beautiful, green, international economic powerhouse – and, yeah, we got sprawl, y’all. However, the city and the regional planners (no thanks to you, Gwinnett County) are making some 21st century progress to gain control over how we move around this “embryonic megalopolis.” Here’s a link to our recent “Due Diligence – a real estate podcast.” Give it a listen!
The mapping genius: I just discovered Matthew Hartzell and his mapping prowess – his map above from 2013 is compelling! He called Atlanta “the least dense city in the US (and therefore the world). With a population of 5 million, it takes up a footprint equivalent to that of Karachi, Jakarta, Cairo, Dhaka, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi’an, and Jinan, with a combined population of 100 million. “
Atlanta Magazine wrote about the “embryonic megalopolis” of Char-lanta in 2014,calling for the interstate cities of Charlotte, my hometown area of Greenville and Spartanburg, and Atlanta to be converged by 2060.
Lee’s early childhood demographic memory: In an Andy Griffith episode, yes an Andy Griffith episode from my birth year, 1965 – a show entitled “Andy’s Rival,” a sophisticated big city teacher came to Mayberry from Charlotte, or Mt. Pilot or Siler City – one of the big cities often mentioned in the show. This teacher was in town to work with Andy’s girlfriend Helen Crump, the schoolteacher. He was a guitar virtuoso, and quite educated and wordly and he is the only person that I have ever heard use the term “embryonic megalopolis.” I just spent 10 minutes on the internet looking for a script for proof of my memory, and I can not (quickly) find what I’m seeking. I have been using the phrase “embryonic megalopolis” ever since I was a teenage nerd.
By the way, in this episode, we discover that Andy was valedictorian of his high school class, but I digress…
A megalopolis is loosely defined as a “chain of metropolitan statistical areas.” These are geographical regions with a “relatively high population density at its core and close economic ties throughout the area.” Atlanta is megalopolis enough! Adding the northward corridor cities up into the Carolinas seems hard to fathom, yet the teacher dude was talking about this in 1965 on a half hour comedy show!
How Atlanta is tackling sprawl: Y’all, we got sprawl! Check out the latest weekly podcast from Jason and I -we discuss loosely tenanted Chinese cities and a recent list we discovered in a Curbed article that includes Atlanta and 4 other cities at the forefront of tackling urban sprawl. This article is based on research done by National Geographic and the author Robert Kunzig states that Atlanta is “boldly taking on urban sprawl.”
And the Beltline seems to have inspired this closing observation from Mr. Kunzig:
“Good city planning doesn’t blind you to the problems; on the contrary, it opens your eyes to the possibilities.”
The hyperlinks in this article are some rich reading – I highly encourage anyone interested in the Beltline to read the project progress report; a project that began as a novel idea in 1999.
I highly encourage anyone interested in hearing more about real estate issues in Atlanta to subscribe to the Due Diligence podcast – the 11th episode arrives next week and with it comes some fun production improvements.
Yoga, Baby: I highly encourage anyone to participate in what’s happening in this photo. This photo demonstrates how some Atlantans get centered, at least for an hour a week, in the midst of our growing city. Since 2015, my friends at King of Pops bring free yoga to the Beltline during the warm months and the first event this year is on April 7, in the Old Fourth Ward skatepark. Follow the King of Pops blog and check out King of Pops for Facebook events to get dialed in. 30 free yoga classes on Sunday evenings, from April 7 until October 27. Come get you some free, gently sprawling yoga, y’all.