Date of Submission
Bachelor of Architecture
Mine Hashas-Degertekin, Phd.
The demographics and density of Atlanta is changing due to a migration of people back into the urban core of the city. The ideal location for new, private urban redevelopments has been low-income, African-American neighborhoods in Atlanta for the new inflow of people. These urban redevelopments are gentrifying low-income neighborhoods and displacing many residents who can no longer afford to live there; shifting local and cultural identities overnight. This type of shift has been visible in Atlanta over the last few years with the introduction of the Atlanta Beltline. Land use opportunities for local businesses are relying on policies to prioritize economic developments over community developments. As a result of redevelopments targeting higher income populations, affordable living has become an issue for local residents who were displaced because of higher costs of living and retail, most common in revitalized neighborhoods adjacent to the Beltline. The West End is one of Atlanta’s oldest suburbs and a community of history that showcases remnants of art, monuments, and a variety of architectural styles. Today, the West End is a low-income neighborhood of civic and cultural pride; that is in jeopardy of being gentrified due to the completion of the Beltline’s Westside trail in that neighborhood. Even with close social ties between the community’s restaurants, shops, and major corridors; the community can encounter raised property taxes and new economic infrastructure that could cause a mass displacement of the current residents and change the diverse cultural landscape of their community; into one that is a contemporary replica to today’s newly redeveloped in-town neighborhoods, drained of cultural activity and community substance. A different type of urban redevelopment proposal will focus on the sustenance of the existing community in the West End neighborhood, and address gentrification. It will prioritize community development instead of economic development, by first identifying the cultural characteristics of the community from the resident’s memories, sensory observations, and daily routines. The economic development opportunities, for the local community, will be explored to be embedded in the physical environment. And lastly, land use will be diversified with opportunities for various income levels, community services, and the daily needs of various life styles that will satisfy both current and new residents. By applying this strategy to the context of the blocks surrounding the West End Mall, it will help develop an equitable design solution to avoid gentrification in the West End.
Williams, Roderick, "Gentrification No More! Preserving the Character of Atlanta's West End" (2018). Bachelor of Architecture Theses - 5th Year. 47.