Atlanta City Council Taps Students for Urban Design Solutions

Ideas inform master plan for 'the neighborhood that raised a Nobel laureate'

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Ideas will inform Old Fourth Ward master plan.


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The Atlanta City Council recently issued a proclamation to recognize students and faculty at the Georgia Tech College of Architecture for assistance in the master planning process for Atlanta's historic Old Fourth Ward.

David Green, architecture instructor and principal at the firm of Lord, Aeck & Sargent Architecture, says a city's zoning ordinance is arguably the single most important factor in how cities today emerge and change. Having worked with City of Atlanta councilman Kwanza Hall on projects to revive the Old Fourth Ward district just southeast of Georgia Tech campus, Green's senior urban design studio aimed to inform the execution of actual projects as well as help shape policy regarding zoning issues in the district. 

Many of Atlanta's nearly 100 zoning categories are outdated or written in such a way that prohibits logical urban development. The students worked closely with College of Architecture alumnus Steve Cover, Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Community Development the City of Atlanta Bureau of Planning, to better understand the master planning process and the specific needs of the Old Fourth Ward district.

Hall attended the final jury, where students demonstrated ordinance elements that may be a more appropriate way to inform the built environment at an urban scale. Research frameworks were presented in three parts: development controls, urban design and design of the public right-of-way. 

"The most exciting feature of the students' work for me," said Hall, "is knowing that the solutions they proposed will impact the City's planning efforts for the neighborhood. Thanks to professor Green's leadership, the students have gained an authentic experience contributing to an urban planning process."

"We will be providing the city with this information, including a presentation to the zoning task force, in the hopes that this will be used as a foundation for the re-writing of the ordinance," said Green. "We also hope this information will be incorporated into the Old Fourth Ward's master plan, which is currently being prepared by the City of Atlanta Bureau of Planning."

The master planning process concludes in September with an official vote by the Atlanta City Council incorporating the proposed changes into the city's comprehensive development plan. So, within just a few months of the end of spring semester, student work and recommendations will likely find a home in the official City master plan for the neighborhood. 

The fast turnaround and successful collaboration can be attributed to strong relationships between Georgia Tech and the City of Atlanta, and the effort will likely lead to future collaborative projects. Currently, Hall and Green are in talks about next steps and possible projects that would involve the Old Fourth Ward district. 

The College of Architecture at Georgia Tech champions advancements in the arts and the built environment through academic programs in architecture, building construction, city and regional planning, doctoral studies, industrial design and music. It is a leading producer of research in each of its disciplines, and among the top three in the area of architecture.

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College of Design

Institute and Campus, Architecture, Economic Development and Policy, Research
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atlanta university center, City of Atlanta, College of Architecture, David Green, Georgia Tech, kwanza hall, old fourth ward, School of Architecture, urban design
  • Created By: Teri Nagel
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Jul 6, 2008 - 8:00pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:06pm