Recap: Who is Atlanta Building For?

Along with the partners at Our Future Atlanta, the Center for Civic Innovation hosted a panel on gentrification this past Monday.  A recent survey conducted by OFA showed that Atlanta residents found the issue of gentrification to be one of the most important things to consider as we elect a new mayor. The event on Monday had over one hundred concerned and engaged residents in attendance.

Slide Presentation

There was a short presentation with a few fun slides and facts. You can download it here.

Panel Discussion

Thomas Wheatley of Atlanta Magazine moderated the panel and introduced the topic and each of the panelists.

The panel consisted of Atlanta scholars, social workers, policy experts, and non-profit workers who are actively testing and pushing new solutions to gentrification and affordable housing.

The panelists were (from left to right): LeJuano Varnell – Historic District Development Corporation, Dan Immergluck – Georgia State University Urban Studies Institute, Darin Givens – Thread ATL, Che WatkinsCenter for Working Families, and Kate Little – Georgia Advancing Communities Together.

The panelists were (from left to right): LeJuano Varnell – Historic District Development Corporation, Dan Immergluck – Georgia State University Urban Studies Institute, Darin Givens – Thread ATL, Che WatkinsCenter for Working Families, and Kate Little – Georgia Advancing Communities Together.

Panelists discuss what they would recommend to the future mayor this coming January if they were his or her policy expert on gentrification.

Panelists discuss what they would recommend to the future mayor this coming January if they were his or her policy expert on gentrification.

The panelists shared their opinions on an assortment of factors that affect gentrification such as naturally-occurring affordable housing, inclusionary zoning, transit-oriented development, housing insecurity, red-lining, and the minimum wage. Panelists discussed the power the mayor has to generate housing and rent subsidies, emphasizing the need for residents to get out and vote on November 7th! They also focused on limits of city budgets, population demographic trends, and non-profit housing developers.

Most residents of Atlanta that are pushed out of the city go to the five outer counties, most notably Clayton, Gwinnett, and Cobb County. The elected officials in those counties are responding to this new population surge in different ways. Notably, Sandy Springs is seriously considering passing an inclusionary zoning ordinance. Atlanta loses approximately 1,000 affordable housing units a year due to “natural” market forces, and it further hurts that the federal government has reduced funding available for housing programs that can help in terms of infrastructure and help subsidizing rents and developing affordable housing. Professor Dan Immergluck said, “Density at market-rate is not going to solve the problem.”

An audience member asks the panelists if they have noted any cultural displacement trends here in Atlanta.

An audience member asks the panelists if they have noted any cultural displacement trends here in Atlanta.

An audience member receives the loudest applause of the night after speaking passionately about gentrification in her neighborhood and asking why the city always has money for other projects but never for affordable housing.

An audience member receives the loudest applause of the night after speaking passionately about gentrification in her neighborhood and asking why the city always has money for other projects but never for affordable housing.

Video

This event was jam-packed with hard hitting questions and well thought responses. If you want to watch how the exciting night went down, watch this incredibly educational and informative panel discussion here.