Benjamin Harrison (Harry) West, 1941 - 2014

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Benjamin Harry West, College of Architecture Professor of Practice and former director of the Atlanta Regional Commission, passed away on July 14, 2014. West led the ARC for 28 years, during which he created a series of regional programs to support relationships among leaders and citizens in the Atlanta area, as Maria Saporta notes in her recent reflection on West’s vast number of accomplishments and influences throughout his career. Among those accomplishments, Saporta writes, are his launch of the annual LINK (Leadership, Involvement, Knowledge and Networking) trips; West’s creation of, with the cooperation of the YMCA of Georgia, the first regional youth leadership program; and his participation in the largest collaboration visioning and planning effort in the US at the time, VISION 2020. Catherine Ross, who currently holds the Harry West chair at the Georgia Tech Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development, elaborated on West’s extensive work for the ARC, stating, “He was responsible for the preparation and update of three Regional Development Plans, three Regional Transportation Plans, numerous sub-area and corridor plans, alternatives analysis and major investment studies. Plans for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, local bus service, Regional Airport Systems Plans and in most cases programming the capital investments necessary for implementation were also accomplished under his direction.”

The Georgia Tech community was greatly affected by West’s vision and his years of service to Atlanta. “Harry could have chosen to pursue a comfortable retirement, but he instead decided to share his wisdom and experience by coming to work with the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development as a Professor of Practice,” Dean Steve French says. “He made valuable contributions to our research and teaching missions over the past decade. But above all else, Harry was a kind and gentle soul, who really wanted to make a difference in this world.”

Services will be held on Thursday, July 17th at 11:00 am at H.M. Patterson & Son-Oglethorpe Hill Chapel, 4550 Peachtree Road Ne, Atlanta, GA 30319. to read the H.M. Patterson obituary and for more information, please click here

Visitation will be Wednesday, July 16th from 6pm to 8pm.

In 2008, Mr. West was interviewed by Dan Reuter of the Atlanta Regional Commission as part of the Georgia Planning Association's History of GPA video series. That interview is available online at this link.

Read the AJC Obituary here.

Read the ARC's press release here. 


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