Schools of Architecture & City and Regional Planning to host Ryan Gravel Talk and Book Signing

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Academia is full of dreams. The power of imagination and the ability to conceptualize what could be permeates the air of university classrooms. Students dream, faculty encourage and challenge, and a series of checks and balances begins to form around an idea. Does it solve a problem? Has it been done before? Will it work? 

In 1999, Ryan Gravel’s master’s thesis inspired faculty around the Georgia Tech College of Architecture to share his dream for the City of Atlanta. 

"While Ryan was working on his thesis, all of us professors at Georgia Tech believed in the transformative power of the idea and the brilliant planning and design of the project itself. But we were only academics, dreaming dreams, and having dreamt so often of transformative projects, Ryan’s thesis soon became another memory,” say architecture professor Richard Dagenhart, Gravel’s mentor. "Until it was not.”

Gravel’s thesis eventually served as the basis for the Atlanta Beltline. Now, after fifteen years of progress, the BeltLine is changing both the physical form of Atlanta and the decisions people make about living there. 

"Ryan Gravel has a love for our city, an audacity to dream, and a designer’s sense of the possible,” says Bruce Stiftel, chair of the School of City and Regional Planning. "His dream has given new vitality to Atlanta and serves as an inspiration to planning and architecture students everywhere, nowhere more than in the same studios where he dreamed - at Georgia Tech on Fourth Street in Atlanta.” 

With the Beltline project under his belt and new professional adventures on the horizon, Gravel has taken what he has learned since graduation and written a book called Where We Want to Live – Reclaiming Infrastructure for a New Generation of Cities. This fresh take on the future of cities investigates the cultural side of infrastructure, describing how a more thoughtful design for the construction of our lives can illuminate a brighter path forward. By invoking examples as wide-ranging as the small and elegant High Line in New York City to the revitalization of the vast and unruly Los Angeles River, Gravel describes how people everywhere are already reclaiming obsolete infrastructure as renewed conduits of urban life. More than individual projects, he argues, they represent an emerging cultural momentum that allows us to forget tired old arguments about traffic, pollution, blight, and sprawl, and instead leverage those conditions as assets in the creation of something far more interesting than anything we’ve seen so far.

Talk will take place in the Reinsch-Pierce Family Auditorium followed by book signing next door in the Architecture West Building, 1st floor atrium.

Parking options: http://www.arch.gatech.edu/newsletter/CoAParkingOptions

Learn more about the Atlanta BeltLine's impact on Atlanta.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Tia Jewell
  • Created:03/08/2016
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:04/13/2017