September 1 Regional Housing Forum to focus on Transit-Oriented Development and Affordable Housing

The Atlanta Regional Commission, in conjunction with The Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP), has hosted a quarterly Regional Housing Forum for well over a decade.   

This long-standing gathering of nonprofit, business, governmental, educational and grassroots organizations meets to discuss matters dealing with affordable housing and related topics of transportation, land-use and much more (you can view past Housing Forum summaries here).  

The topic for the next Regional Housing Forum, scheduled for Wednesday, September 1, will focus on the topic of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and Affordable Housing.     

The data available on housing affordability and transportation costs for the region indicate that the cost of shelter only presents half the picture of affordability. While living great distances from employment centers and incurring long and costly commutes in exchange for less expensive housing prices has traditionally been the trend for Atlanta, in the face of rising energy costs and amplified traffic congestion this pattern is proving unsustainable and unaffordable.   

 A more comprehensive way of thinking about the cost of housing and its true affordability should also include the impact that transportation costs associated with housing location have on a household’s wallet.  While creating communities that provide both housing and transportation affordability will require strategic and multijurisdictional collaboration, promoting mixed-income development built in close proximity to the region’s transit services is an important strategy to provide more affordable living opportunities moving forward.   

This strategy, sometimes referred to as Transit Oriented Development (TOD), is being similarly embraced at the federal level through the new federal Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities being jointly implemented by HUD, the US DOT, and the US EPA. 

Overall, the federal agencies are seeking to advance strategies that help families gain better access to affordable housing, more transportation options and lower transportation costs. The partnership’s initiatives are urging local governments and metropolitan areas to undertake planning and development efforts that integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development and transportation – specifically taking advantage of transit oriented development TOD opportunities.  

This Housing Forum feature two national speakers from peer region’s in the US who are developing communities around transit that not only integrate a mix of uses and services, but also include an affordable component – Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California.  These speakers, who both work at their region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization, similar to ARC,  will share their experiences in implementing these inclusive mixed-income communities. The lessons that can be learned from these two regions will be critically important to Atlanta in the coming years.       

A local response panel – Tom Weyandt, the Director of ARC’s Comprehensive Planning Department; James Shelby, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Community Development for the City of Atlanta; and Jim Durrett, Executive Director at Buckhead Community Improvement District and MARTA Board Member – will also be on hand to discuss Atlanta’s opportunities and challenges to implementing similar TOD communities in our region.    

As always, there is no fee to attend the Atlanta Regional Housing Forum, but registration is requested (register here). And please remember to bring non-perishable foods for a donation to the Atlanta Community Food Bank!   

The Forum will be held Downtown, at the Loudermilk Center: 40 Courtland St. NE, Atlanta, Ga 30303 

Registration opens at 9:00 AM, the forum will begin at 9:30. 

Please contact Beth Hawes, 404.463.5581, with any questions.  





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