Affordable Living

By staff writer

March 2019

By Urban Land Institute Atlanta estimates, the Metro Atlanta region needs 5,000 new units of affordable housing annually just to accommodate the area’s growth and 10,000 homes annually to start mitigating the affordability problem. To really solve the problem, it’s estimated that the area would need about 250 million units per year over a 10-year period, which is equivalent to a $2.3 billion investment to preserve and produce affordable units at this scale.

While not quite on that level, in January 2019 Invest Atlanta and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms approved millions of dollars of funding for three new affordable housing projects along one of Atlanta’s most important emerging commercial corridors and in the Westside neighborhoods of Vine City and English Avenue.

The first project, CityPlace, received a loan of $1 million from the Vine City Housing Trust Fund, which will allow developer Place Properties to build five new single-family residences with price tags ranging from $135,000 to $160,000. The second project, Urban Oasis, secured financing of $250,000, also from the Vine City Housing Trust Fund. Sims Real Estate Group plans to renovate three old homes and build a fourth in this community. The renovated homes will be available to families who earn 80 percent area median income (AMI) or below, while the new home will be offered for sale to families earning 100 to 120 percent AMI.

The third project is a 130-unit multifamily development, Hartland Station, that was approved for up to $1.3 million in pay-as-you-go grant funding from the Metropolitan Parkway tax allocation district. This development will offer 40 units for families earning 50 percent AMI and below and 70 units to those earning 60 percent AMI or below.

These three new developments underscore the efforts of the mayor and the city’s economic development arm to bring more affordability to Metro Atlanta. It’s an issue that city leaders don’t take lightly. When our team at Focus: Atlanta sat down with Mayor Bottoms last year, she pointed to several important initiatives designed to broaden the conversation about affordable housing.

“We named the city’s first-ever chief housing officer, Terri Lee, whose singular focus is developing a citywide affordability strategy, including coordinating policy initiatives with our agencies and partners and helping us reach our $1 billion affordable housing investment goal,” Mayor Bottoms told Focus:. “We also brought together our planning department, the head of the Atlanta Housing Authority, the head of Invest Atlanta and the head of the BeltLine, and what we learned is that a conversation with those leaders around the table had never happened in our city. I think this really speaks to how much work needs to be done.”

There’s no question that the affordability issue will take more than just conversations to effect real change. “Affordable housing is a passion of mine, and it’s probably a bigger problem today than it was a year ago,” Matthew Shulman, CEO and managing partner at Ardent Companies, told Focus:. “Projects like the Gulch are planning on 20 percent affordable housing, and it would be great to see a lot of development going that way. I’m hoping there can be more engagement between the public and private sectors to solve the issue of affordable housing.”

In the spirit of public-private collaboration, in January 2018 the public-private taskforce HouseATL was launched to promote a collaborative, cross-sector process for expanding the supply of affordable housing in the region. In August of last year, HouseATL set a goal of investing $500 million in public resources and another $500 million in private resources to build or preserve 24,000 affordable homes in Atlanta over the next eight to 10 years.

Some metro area residential builders are also stepping up to the plate to provide housing options at affordable price points to Atlanta residents. “We’re really excited to reintroduce the Centex brand in Metro Atlanta,” Will Cutler, Georgia Division president at PulteGroup, told Focus:. “It has not been a part of this market for about six years or so. Our newest community in South Fulton County, Princeton Village, is opening up as we speak. Centex is focused on the first-time buyer who is very conscious about price point. Many first-time buyers walk through the front door and truly don’t understand what it means to be able to buy a house. Can they afford it? That’s where the strength of the Centex brand comes into play. A lot of teachers and police officers have a hard time finding affordable homes in the Atlanta market right now, so we think it’s important to make sure that we focus on delivering a quality home that is consumer inspired to that buyer. We’re excited to bring that into this market again.”

The BeltLine could also be welcoming new below-market-rate housing as early as the summer of 2019. The Madison Reynoldstown development includes plans to set aside 116 apartments for affordable housing. This project would be the first in a private partnership between Atlanta Housing and the BeltLine.

Atlanta has a long way to go to ensure affordability and quality of life for its residents, but leaders in both the public and private sectors are taking important steps toward providing viable housing options to all. Focus: Atlanta will be keeping a close eye on these developments throughout 2019.

For more information on our interviewees, please visit their websites:

City of Atlanta: https://www.atlantaga.gov/

The Ardent Companies: https://theardentcompanies.com/

PulteGroup: http://www.pultegroupinc.com/home/default.aspx

 

Digital Transformation

By staff writer

February 2019

Esports is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, and Atlanta is quickly becoming a southeastern hub. In 2017, the video game industry had a more than $750 million economic impact in Georgia, and global revenue in 2019 is expected to reach $1 billion. Georgia is currently home to more than 75 gaming companies, including Hi-Rez Studios, based in Alpharetta. Part of the reason for the industry’s staggering growth is its overwhelming appeal to younger generations.

Atlanta will soon welcome its own Overwatch League team. Until this year, the LA-based league hasn’t moved out of its hometown to host games, but the 2019 season will begin in Dallas, TX, in April and then move to Atlanta in July. Atlanta’s first-ever esports teams, dubbed the Atlanta Reign, was purchased last summer through a joint venture by consulting firm Province, Inc. and Cox Enterprises, which together formed Atlanta Esports Ventures.

“[Esports] is outpacing any other sport — traditional or not — by a wide margin,” Paul Hamilton, president and CEO of Atlanta Esports Ventures, told Atlanta magazine. “You’re seeing a huge number of eyes in a demographic that, traditionally, has been hard to reach.”

The Overwatch League copies the format of professional sports leagues and franchises teams by city, providing fans with a home team to route for. The league has a preseason, a regular season, an all-star break and playoffs, just like traditional sports leagues. There are codes of conduct for players and coaches, skilled announcers, loyal fans and primetime spots on television. The league also attracts sponsorships and doles out prize money. In fact, in 2018 the prize pool was a staggering $3.5 million.

Atlanta’s leading gaming proprietors are bullish about the growth potential of the industry and the viable investment opportunity it offers to businesses. The metro area’s higher education institutions are also supporting the industry. For example, in the fall of 2017 Georgia State University launched an esports program, which helps students make the necessary connections to start careers in the industry. And it goes far beyond just being a gamer, including areas like social media management, esports reporting, event management, game testing, team coaching, business strategy, broadcasting and more. In fact, of the program’s inaugural 350 students, only 20 percent had an interest in competing.

In 2019, Hi-Rez Studios co-founder and COO Todd Harris has plans to host SMITE and Paladins Pro League regular-season games at its gaming production studio, Skillshot Media. These games are expected to attract more than 100 professional esports players to the Metro Atlanta area. This follows the November 2018 SMITE and Paladins World Championship, which was held during the first eSports Week at global gaming festival Dreamhack Atlanta. The events spanned three days, attracting more than 31,000 spectators, while another 10 million watched online.

The global esports industry continues to see significant year-over-year growth, generating a tremendous impact for both businesses and post-graduate talent and contributing significantly to Georgia’s economy. And Atlanta is at the heart of it all. Focus: Atlanta will be keeping an eye on this exciting digital transformation in 2019 and beyond!

 

Booming Blooms

By staff writer

February 2019

More people visit public gardens annually in America (78 million) than visit Las Vegas (48 million) or Disneyland (11 million) and Disneyworld (11 million) combined. This is great news for Atlanta, whose garden tourism industry has been blossoming in the past few years.

Metro Atlanta is home to a number of beautiful gardens, including the Atlanta History Center Goizueta Gardens, Callaway Resort and Gardens, Dunaway Gardens, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and Gibbs Gardens.

 

“We’re going to be doing a lot with our gardens in 2019,” Sheffield Hale, CEO of the Atlanta History Center, told Focus: Atlanta when he sat down with our team last year. “A lot is going to open. That’s a whole other focus that people don’t even know about: our 22 acres of gardens.”

The 33 acres that comprise the Atlanta History Center campus are home to six historic gardens, each of which represents a period in Georgia’s history, from its pre-colonial settlement to the 1930s. Visitors can spend hours — or even days — exploring the enchanting gardens, woodlands and trails.

According to USA Today, the Atlanta Botanical Garden is one of the top 10 best botanical gardens in the U.S. The garden occupies a 30-acre site dedicated solely to the care and enjoyment of a variety of plants and flowers. Its 200,000 annual visitors in 2010 more than doubled to 500,000 in 2017, underscoring the growing popularity of these green attractions.

Barnsley Resort directly incorporates gardens and hospitality by connecting travelers to nature and an outdoor lifestyle. More than 3,000 acres in size, the resort offers countless hands-on learning experiences in its beautiful gardens and takes advantage of the boom in garden tourism. In fact, the attraction opened a new 55-room inn and 9,000-square-foot event space called Georgian Hall in early 2018.

The City of Atlanta has also taken note of the emerging garden tourism industry. In May 2018, the Atlanta City Council approved a $100 million expansion project within Piedmont Park that includes the botanical gardens. According to a press release from the City of Atlanta, “The expansion project will include a connection to the Atlanta BeltLine, improved pedestrian trails and access to Piedmont Park, additional open greenspace and forested land.” Piedmont is one of the most visited parks in Atlanta, and this expansion is sure to attract even more visitors.

While it’s difficult to measure the economic impact of garden tourism, there’s no doubt that visitors who come to tour Atlanta’s parks and gardens contribute significantly to the local economy. And it’s more than just at hotels, restaurants and shops but also at the metro area’s diverse offerings of cultural organizations. In fact, one research study found that the single most common denominator among cultural tourists was an interest in gardening. This is one blooming industry that Focus: Atlanta will be keeping an eye on as we move into 2019!

For more information on our interviewee, visit http://www.atlantahistorycenter.com/.

 

 

 

Atlanta’s Transit-Centric Growth

By Sean O’Toole

January 2019

Transit-oriented development (TOD) is gaining popularity across America. TOD seeks to promote more walkable communities by mixing housing, office, retail and recreation space and situating it all within a half-mile of public transportation. The benefits of this kind of development are swift and pronounced. More walkable neighborhoods can lead to healthier and more community-minded residents. TOD also helps with environmental conservation by increasing public transit ridership and reducing the number of cars on the road, which simultaneously reduces traffic congestion. That last benefit is especially attractive in cities like Atlanta with a history of bad traffic.

Since 2017, Atlanta has seen delivery of 1.1 million square feet of office space located within a half mile of a MARTA station. In addition, the multifamily market within a half mile of a MARTA station experienced 68 percent growth in inventory from 2008 to 2017, compared to 19 percent in Metro Atlanta not in proximity to MARTA. With TOD on the rise, Atlantans are seeing more housing options near public transportation, and MARTA is simultaneously building its user base.

“You see transit-oriented development from the influx of Midtown, Downtown and Buckhead areas that have stations,” Arnie Silverman, president of Silverman Construction Program Management, told Focus: Atlanta when he sat down with our team in 2018. “I recently spoke to a business owner who plans to move his office so it can be next to a MARTA station in order to attract millennials.”

MARTA’s first TOD project was the Lindbergh Station, a mixed-use marvel consisting of housing, retail space and public transportation amenities that was completed about 20 years ago. Today, MARTA seeks to expand the city’s TOD footprint with even more such projects that will change Atlanta for the better in numerous ways. For one, more TOD is likely to have a positive impact on fare revenue and new ridership, which is not only good for MARTA but will also help to alleviate congestion and carbon emissions throughout the metro area. In addition, MARTA has vowed to use its TOD projects to eliminate eyesores like abandoned parking lots by turning them into vibrant, mixed-use communities. This type of development will complement other community-oriented projects already underway in Atlanta, such as the BeltLine, which aim to make the city a more interwoven, walkable community.

“A great example of transit-centric growth is the State Farm development,” Jeff Parker, CEO and general manager of MARTA, told Focus:. “Then NCR relocated and wanted to be on a MARTA stop. We have a great opportunity to provide good connectivity between businesses that want to relocate or expand in a vibrant place like Atlanta and grow with the city.”

MARTA currently has six TOD projects in the works, and although all of them are still in the construction or planning phases, a few are nearing the completion of their first stages of development. These projects are the Chamblee Station, Avondale Station, Edgewood/Candler Park  Station, Arts Center Station, King Memorial Station and upgrades to Lindbergh Center Station. All of these stations will include an innovative mix of office, commercial, residential and green space and will further MARTA’s goal of upping ridership while lowering congestion.

In October 2018, Invest Atlanta announced the launch of the city’s first-ever TOD fund — at a total of $15 million — designed to provide affordable capital to support the acquisition and pre-development of workforce housing near MARTA stations and other modes of public transit. Nearly 70 percent of Metro Atlanta’s residents commute to a different county for work every day, and reducing both travel time and cost could save these commuters close to $1,000 annually.

“If we want to make the biggest impact on people’s lives,” Eloisa Klementich, CEO of Invest Atlanta, told Focus:, “we need to lower their costs of transportation and housing. We are investing in transit-oriented development opportunities with the goal of increasing people’s ability to live in this beautiful city.”

With cities like College Park considering transit-oriented zoning and MARTA’s board of directors recently giving the greenlight to a more than $2.5 billion transit expansion, we’re sure to see more TOD projects cropping up across the metro area in 2019 and beyond. Focus: Atlanta will be keeping a close eye on the developments!

For more information on our interviewees, visit their websites:

Silverman Construction Program Management: https://silvermancpm.com/

MARTA: https://www.itsmarta.com/

Invest Atlanta: https://www.investatlanta.com/

 

 

Atlanta’s Champions

By staff writer

January 2019

Nothing says success like the groundbreaking emergence of the MLS Atlanta United Football Club. In just its second season of existence, the United has grown to tower over all other teams in the MLS and has broken records for both the city of Atlanta and major-league soccer.

More than 73,000 fans showed up to watch the 2018 MLS Cup, held in December at Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. This attendance was nearly 20 percent higher than at the 2017 MLS Cup, which hosted roughly 61,300 fans. With their 2-0 win against the Portland Timbers, the United clinched the city’s first major professional sports championship since the Braves beat the Cleveland Indians in 1995 and became just the second expansion team in MLS history to reach the finals within its first two seasons.

Supporting the largest fanbase of any franchise in the MLS, as well as being the highest-ranked team in the league, the United is currently the most valuable soccer team in the U.S., worth nearly $330 million.

Although the United had a rough start to the regular MLS season with a 4-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo, the team was not discouraged and focused on improving its performance. Atlanta ended the season with 21 wins and 7 losses (up from 15-9 in the 2017 regular season), going cleat-to-cleat with many of the league’s top teams, including the New York Red Bulls, New York City FC and D.C. United.

But Atlanta’s 2018 achievements did not stop there. United forward Josef Martinez proved to be the top scorer in the MLS, collecting 31 goals, 10 game-winning goals and eight penalty kicks during the regular season. Zlatan Ibrahimovic of the LA Galaxy was runner-up, with 22 goals. The wide margin between the leading scorer and the number two was due to more than just team chemistry. Atlanta United Coach Gerando “Tata” Martino noted that there was a solid plan in place to achieve these winning numbers. “They never modified any part of the plans,” he said. “The most satisfying thing to me is that we followed the plan.”

In addition to improvements on the field, the Atlanta Football Club has seen massive growth over the past two years. Arthur Blank, billionaire co-founder of Home Depot, funded $70 million worth of expansions for the team in 2016 and placed the United in the $1.6 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where Blank’s NFL Atlanta Falcons also play. Since then, the United has sold more than 1 million tickets (by far the highest number in MLS history) and is responsible for one-quarter of total MLS merchandise sales (with Josef Martinez and Miguel Almiron being among the top-selling jerseys in the league).

Things are looking good for not only Atlanta United but also for Atlanta professional sports in general. Atlanta has been named a potential host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and the entire metro area is gearing up for Super Bowl LIII, which will be held in February 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Focus: Atlanta is excited to see what’s in store for the United and Atlanta’s other superstar sports teams in 2019!

For more information on the Atlanta United, visit their website at https://www.atlutd.com/.

 

Next Stop: Alpharetta

By staff writer
October 2018 – 2 min. read

It might come as a surprise that the name Alpharetta often pops up when executives in the high-tech sector go scouting for sites to expand or relocate. Yet for many years Alpharetta has successfully lured high-tech companies to the quiet purlieu of Atlanta. Notable reasons include the city’s developing technology infrastructure — such as its nexus of fiber optics — but also the access to a high quality of life, complete with good roads, good neighbors, excellent housing options and affordable university systems.

The groundwork for this kind of development was laid 20 years ago in Alpharetta, when private groups invested in those fiber optic lines. Another boon for the local economy was the widening and redevelopment of Georgia 400 into an eight-lane highway. Since then, Alpharetta has also established itself as a notable travel destination for both business and leisure.

Focus: Atlanta recently spoke with Janet Rodgers, president and CEO of the Alpharetta Conventions and Visitors Bureau (CVB), about this development and how it has encouraged more visitors over the years.

 

 

“With the foresight and the exponential growth of the city in the last 20 years,” Rodgers told Focus:, “Alpharetta is now home to thriving corporations and more than 625 technology-based companies, bringing more businesses and business travelers to the city each day. Alpharetta has been home to 23 hotels to accommodate those travelers for nearly 15 years now. This year, that changed with the addition of a four-star hotel in Avalon that hosts 330 rooms and a 44,000-square-foot conference center.”

Rodgers notes that Avalon was the first Gigabit community in Georgia, and as the city continues to grow and evolve with more business developments, so will the number of hotels to accommodate the expanding number of business travelers.

“These two growth factors go hand in hand, much like how the city and Alpharetta CVB work together, with the city promoting itself to new businesses and approving development projects while the CVB promotes the destination as a place where successful business happens with hotel accommodations for business travelers,” Rodgers told Focus:. “We credit the hotel development success to the strong average daily rates and occupancy rates in the city’s hotels. The travelers dine in our city’s restaurants, purchase gas from our city’s stations, shop in our city’s stores and patronize our city’s entertainment venues and attractions. These travelers increase the economic impact of the destination to help these businesses thrive within our city. The developers bringing new hotels and travelers to the city are what make Alpharetta a strong destination for shopping, dining, events, attractions and new businesses.”

As the growth continues, there are approximately 1,500 guest rooms per night that will be added to Alpharetta’s hotel inventory, averaging about 4,000 total guest rooms per night in the city. “The city and Alpharetta CVB will continue to work hard to make the destination attractive for not only the business traveler but also for family reunions, weddings, sports tournaments, bar/bat mitzvahs, leisure travelers — and everyone who wants to be here,” Rodgers says.

The Alpharetta CVB is the official destination marketing organization for the city, and the organization has amassed repeat visitors by establishing a strong and identifiable brand for Alpharetta. “The city has worked hard to make the city what it is today, and the CVB has worked hard to brand it as such,” Rodgers told Focus:. “It’s innovative, it’s upscale, it’s dynamic, it’s safe and clean. And yet the city has still retained its small-town suburban charm, where you feel comfortable bringing your family and orchestrating business. We show CEOs that this is where they want to live and start their business. We are contributors to that economic engine.”

To learn more about the “Alpharetta Buzz,” visit the CVB website:
https://www.awesomealpharetta.com/

P20: Driving Change

Focus: Atlanta partners with the P20 Conference to help drive change in the payment industry

By staff writer
October 2018 – 2 min. read

Focus: Atlanta is proud to be a media partner for the P20 Conference, a two-day global payment initiative set to take place in the heart of Atlanta on October 9, 2018. P20 is a direct response to the great need for collaborative innovation, cybersecurity and, simply put, clarity in the payment industry. The initiative alternates annually between London, the world’s financial capital (where the inaugural conference was held in 2017), and Atlanta, which has recently come to be known as “Transaction Alley” for being the hub of the future of payment processing. Currently, 70 percent of all North American payments are processed in the Atlanta area.

The event cannot come at a more opportune moment, with the future of fintech and cybersecurity being of paramount importance among America’s financial institutions and the general public. The majority of financial transactions — from paychecks to groceries — now happen electronically, which means the slightest glitch in our tenuous payment-processing infrastructure could throw the entire country out of whack. As a nonprofit organization formed last year, P20 promotes the development of the global payment industry and fosters thought leadership in four key areas: cybersecurity, regulation, innovation and financial inclusion.

SHUTTERSTOCK/JOHN D. WHITE

“Right now in Europe, there is one regulator. In the U.S., there are 19 regulators, and the penalties for violating the regulations are severe,” Allen Maines, managing partner at Holland & Knight, told Focus: when he sat down with our team earlier this year. “Holland & Knight is the leader in the electronic payments and transaction industry, both in regards to government relations and in trying to moderate the multiple, overlapping regulations that apply to the industry.”

Maines explained that the world follows the example set by the UK and the U.S., thus the reason for the coalition of P20. “We’re so passionate about this,” he said. “We try to help our clients innovate and engage in best practices for cybersecurity and best practices for inclusiveness.”

Atlanta has a long history of supporting startups and fintech startups in particular, going back to the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“There is just a tremendous amount of talent around the financial services space here,” Bruce Lowthers, chief operating officer at FIS, told Focus:. “It’s a great place from the perspective of available talent, innovation and real estate and as a commercial hub through Hartsfield-Jackson. There are a lot of positives about the city.”

The P20 conference is about driving home the idea that the regulatory officials and business people all need to be in the same room, Lowthers explains. “We wanted people in the room who could make the decision to change and have an impact,” he said. “Until we did that last year, there was never an event in the payments world where this had been accomplished. Our initial thought when organizing the P20 was to get two countries that get along: the UK and America. We first tried this idea with DAVOS, but when you are dealing with regulatory issues with 100-plus countries, the differences were far too vast to make changes appropriately. However, the UK — and ultimately Atlanta because of the amount of transactions going through here — made the most sense. We wanted to demonstrate that it could work, and then the followers would come. We have seen a tremendous amount of attention and momentum since our first conference, which is exciting.”

Above all, the goal of P20 is to drive change, and everyone here at Focus: Atlanta is excited to see what the future holds for the payment-processing industry in Atlanta and beyond.

To register for the 2018 P20 Conference, click here.

To pre-order Focus: Atlanta 2019, click here.

For more information on our interviewees, visit their websites:
Holland & Knight, https://www.hklaw.com/offices/atlanta/
FIS,
https://www.fisglobal.com/

 

The Fight for Fresh Food

By contributing writer Sean O’Toole
September 2018 – 2 min. read

Urban agriculture is an integral part of human civilization. The ability to cultivate food consistently in one place was the impetus for the founding of the first human cities, and the need for a reliable supply of food has been one of the most critical concerns of every city since. This was no less true for early America. However, over time, our ability to factory farm massive quantities of food on faraway farms and then ship it to urban destinations reduced the need to keep farms and gardens close to home. The victory gardens of World War II — necessitated by the need to conserve for the war effort — were an oasis of urban agriculture that quickly dried up when postwar prosperity made them obsolete yet again.

In 21st-century America, there is no shortage of food. But there is a shortage of good food. Our cities are food deserts — areas lacking fresh, healthy whole foods. Instead, we subsist on the processed, the fast and the fattening. We are always fed but never nourished. In response to the epidemic of bad food, urban agriculture is making a resurgence in cities across the country, including Atlanta.

 

 

Atlanta residents were extremely vocal about the need to improve the quality of locally available food, and the city listened by making food part of the Resilient Atlanta Strategy, among other local initiatives. This led to the rise of the AgLanta Grows-A-Lot program, which makes vacant, city-owned land available to residents and nonprofits for the cultivation of fresh fruits and vegetables. The program represents a positive step toward Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ goal of putting 75 percent of Atlanta residents within a 10-minute walk of fresh food by 2020 and developing a resilient food system by 2025.

MARTA is also bolstering this effort. In 2015, the organization launched its Fresh MARTA Market as a pilot program with the goal of both helping farmers sell their produce and providing healthy, fresh food to the city’s residents in a convenient location. What could be more convenient than a MARTA station? The program currently operates at five stations following the recent opening of the Bankhead Market on September 19, 2018.

Leading construction company Skanska also understands the importance of resilience and urban farming. “Our Atlanta office was the first Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Gold-certified office space in 2007,” Scott Cannon, Skanska’s executive vice president, told our Focus: Atlanta team. “We have two unique and sustainable projects underway in Atlanta: the Georgia Tech Living Building Challenge and an urban farm shed along the BeltLine. The shed is a 500-square-foot off-grid storage and workshed featuring a photovoltaic energy and storage system, composting toilet and the use of salvaged and locally milled wood products.”

Atlanta’s renewed commitment to urban agriculture in recent years is already beginning to have an impact. The total area of the city’s food deserts shrunk by 17 percent between 2010 and 2016 alone. Like other successful programs in the city, this is thanks in part to the enthusiastic creation of public-private partnerships intent on furthering the expansion of urban agriculture. AgLanta Grows-A-Lot is receiving assistance from groups such as the Fulton County Soil and Water Conservation District, NewFields, the Atlanta Community Food Bank and many more. Thanks to these efforts, Atlanta will not just grow in the future; it will also grow healthier.  

For more information on the City of Atlanta’s resiliency efforts, visit the Office of Resilience website: https://www.atlantaga.gov/government/mayor-s-office/executive-offices/office-of-resilience

For more information on our interviewee, visit Skanska’s website: https://www.usa.skanska.com/who-we-are/contact-us/skanska-offices/atlanta-ga/