Archive for June, 2010

The Metro Atlanta Flood Event – 9 Months Later is it Still “Business as Usual” ?

June 23, 2010

 Author: Terri L Turner, AICP, CFM

Nine months is a long time.  For some it can mark the time from conception to birth of a precious baby and can be a time of joy and unbridled expectation.  For others, like those who suffered catastrophic loss in the Metro Atlanta Flood Event that occurred in late September of 2009, it can be a time of healing, of repairing and of trying to return their life “back to normal”.    The expectation is quite different for these flood-ravaged victims, however, and it is anything but joyful.  Every rain event causes apprehension and brings to mind the question – what will the consequences of today’s storm be?  

Additionally, in that same nine months time period, other communities have been scarred by the devastating toll of flooding across the US – Kansas, Arkansas (2 events), Virginia, Louisiana, Alaska, New Jersey (2 events), New York (2 events), Alabama, North Carolina, California, North Dakota (2 events), Arizona, Minnesota, Maine, West Virginia, Rhode Island (2 events), Massachusetts (2 events), Minnesota, Nebraska, Connecticut, Mississippi (2 events), Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, New Hampshire, and South Dakota – who have amassed a whopping 33 declared events in 26 states (through 5/14/2010).  The list continues to grow with additional flood events occurring within the past thirty days.   The growing fear is that unless some drastic changes are made in the way “we do business”, the list may tend to grow in proportion to the amount of development we, as communities, put into areas that should have been left to serve the natural and beneficial functions of floodplains and wetlands. (more…)

The State of Metropolitan America

June 16, 2010

Brookings Institution

The State of Metropolitan America – On the Front Lines of Demographic Transformation

A recent report published by the Brookings Institution examines the changing nature of American society through the lens of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, the results of which are quite telling.

This report, which can be accessed here , compiles an analysis of 2000-2008 census data into an interesting look at who we are becoming as a nation. These new realities, as seen through the nation’s met­ropolitan areas, are compelling. When reading this national assessment, it is hard not to recognize similarities with ARC’s recently completed Plan 2040 Regional Assessment  – the only existing document in the region that takes a comprehensive look at the issues facing our metropolitan area. The State of Metropolitan America is almost assuredly the only document that uses this scale of data to paint a picture of the issues affecting the nation. A few of the highlights are touched on below.

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If it takes a village to raise a child, how many villages does it take to raise a region?

June 15, 2010

By Dan Reuter

Chris Leinberger was in Atlanta on May 24th to present a report completed by the Brookings Institute, Robert Charles Lesser (RCL) Co., HDR and Bleakly and Associates to document the economic potential and possible financing options associated with passenger rail from Atlanta to Macon.  Chris Leinberger worked as the President of RCL and ran its Atlanta office for 15 years.  In 1999, Chris famously described the Atlanta region as the “fastest growing human settlement in history”. 

The May 2010 passenger rail economic study provides an excellent overview of the potential to support passenger rail operations and provide new economic benefits to middle Georgia but it also could create unique development opportunities in many small towns and communities along the line.  Chris Leinberger has a related article in the June 2010 Atlantic Monthly on the history and potential of neighborhoods supported by rail transit.  See the following link: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/06/here-comes-the-neighborhood/8093

Chris Leinberger and Brookings Institute also produced a report in 2007 that compared the Atlanta region to the 29 largest metro areas in the U.S. in terms of the number of transit enabled, walkable urban locations.  The report ranked Atlanta 14th with a whopping total of four (4) walkable urban places: Midtown, Atlantic Station, Decatur and Buckhead.  (more…)

ARC Working on Regional Resource Plan

June 15, 2010

As a Regional Commission, ARC must prepare and adopt a Regional Plan to meet both federal transportation planning rules and also minimum standards and procedures for regional planning developed by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA).  One component of this Regional Plan, as required under DCA rules, mandates the development of a plan for the protection and management of regional resources and a review of activities potentially impacting these resources. ARC is currently underway in the development of this Regional Resource Plan and Regionally Important Resources Map for the 10‐county area of the Atlanta region (Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale Counties).

With the wealth of historic, cultural and natural resources in the Atlanta Region, the Regional Resource Plan is designed to enhance the protection and management of these amenities while planning for their place as a part of our sustainable future.  Resources identified as Regionally Important will be incorporated as Areas Requiring Special Attention in ARC’s Plan 2040 and the plan will be used to coordinate activities and planning of local governments, land trusts and conservation or environmental protection groups’ activities in the region, and state agencies toward protection and management of the identified Regionally Important Resources.

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Message Heard Through Housing Forum – Banks Still Want to Lend

June 10, 2010

 On June 2nd the Atlanta Regional Commission hosted its quarterly Regional Housing Forum, which focused on the availability of mortgage products in the metro area, and what affect this is having on stabilizing metro neighborhoods. Moderated by Bill Bolling of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, June’s forum was attended by more than 100 people and featured the following panelists discussing the issue of single-family mortgage availability for metro neighborhoods: Catherine “Candy” Lasher, Fannie Mae; Brigitte Killings, Bank of America; Jeanne Goldie, Wells Fargo; Debra Robinson, FHA.

Throughout the conversation, a common theme described by both panelists and attendees was the difficulty and complexity of the situation. All agreed that mending the damage done by the foreclosure crisis is a complex problem, and credit availability will indisputably be a part of the solution. And while it may appear to many that lending has virtually slowed to a snail’s pace, panelists were adamant that loans were being made, including loans to low and moderate income borrowers. (more…)


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