How a SCaRP master’s thesis became the BeltLine

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Most of us know the Atlanta BeltLine. It’s where we walk, bike, run a 5K, watch the lantern parade, access parks and other neighborhoods. We’re hungry for this type of sustainable connectivity and community, which started fifteen years ago as an idea from then Georgia Tech graduate student, Ryan Gravel. After spending his senior year in Paris, where he walked everywhere, ate fresh foods, and lost 15 pounds Gravel thought deeply about the role of city infrastructure in how we live our lives. Sidewalks versus highways, for example, encourage different lifestyles.

“Atlanta is a railroad town,” Gravel explained, “with compact mixed-use intown neighborhoods built around streetcars.” Gravel was fascinated by trains as a child growing up in Chamblee. So, when he needed a city-scale design project for his master’s thesis, Gravel knew what infrastructure was missing to revitalize Atlanta – transit. His master’s thesis became the kernel of a vision that would transform a 22-mile loop of old railroads with transit, trails, and green space to promote economic growth and quality-of-life in 45 neighborhoods.

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School of City & Regional Planning

Alumni, Community, Student Research
Atlanta BeltLine, community, ryan gravel, sustainability
  • Created By: Jessie Brandon
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Nov 10, 2014 - 6:00am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 10:27pm