Paget-Seekins, Laurel. “Atlanta: Unsafe at any Speed: Transit Fatality Raises Issues of Race, Poverty and Transportation Justice.” Race, Poverty & the Environment, no. 1, 2012, p. 22. EBSCOhost, ezproxy.gsu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsjsr&AN=edsjsr.41762530&site=eds-live. Laurel Paget-Seekins, a woman who has lived in Atlanta without a car for seven years and holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, recounts the 2011 conviction of Raquel Nelson after her four-year-old son was killed by a hit-and-run driver in this 2012 scholarly research article. Paget-Seekins reveals that Nelson, an African American single mother with three young children and no car, was attempting to cross a busy Cobb County highway with her children to reach the first of two busses, that took them to and from the grocery store, when the drunk driver struck them. Before being granted a retrial, Nelson was sentenced to serve three years in prison. Once he was caught, the driver only received six-months jail time, although he confessed to being under the influence and had been convicted twice in the past for hit-and-runs. Paget-Seekins includes Raquel Nelson’s tragic story in this article to paint a picture of problems that exist in Atlanta such as inadequate public transportation available to the poor in suburban areas, underfunding of transit, scarce transportation infrastructure in car dominated areas, and a continuation of the long history of race and class divisions. Laurel Paget-Seekins’ status as a highly educated, prosperous member of the community, that relies solely on public transportation to get around, gives her the ability to see the community from the perspectives of the affluent and the impoverished simultaneously. In my opinion, her capacity to empathize with groups of people that are incognizant of each other’s lives, along with her expertise in civil engineering, substantiates her criticisms and suggestions because it supports the assumption that the peer reviewed article should be predominately unbiased. This source explains that Atlanta’s suburbs originated during the civil rights movement as a response to the desegregation of Atlanta. Racism was the foundation of these suburbs when they were born. As they grew, racial discrimination was a significant factor in the shaping of the built environment and continues to impact the built environment today. Most significantly, the suburbs of Cobb County declined the offer to be connected to Atlanta by the MARTA rail line because they did not want to give poor African Americans access to their white only communities. The prevalence of racial discrimination has decreased considerably. Cobb County was only 56% white in 2010 when Raquel Nelson’s son was killed, however public transportation remains scarce and unsafe to access without a car. It is apparent that racial discrimination still affects the built environment of the Cobb County suburbs to some degree. Cobb County and other metro Atlanta suburbs plan to expand their public transportation services, but the plans seem to be aimed at benefiting middle-class white collar workers by giving the option to take public transit into Atlanta for work instead of driving. The low-income residents of Cobb County without cars, like Raquel Nelson, will likely not benefit from the transit expansions as a result of insufficient pedestrian infrastructure and unreliable bus services. I selected this source to be part of my research because it is very closely related to my research’s overarching theme of analyzing the impact of Atlanta’s large economic gap on transportation and the shaping of the built environment.
Khoeini, Sara and Randall Guensler. “Using Vehicle Value as a Proxy for Income: A Case Study on Atlanta’s I-85 HOT Lane.” Research in Transportation Economics, vol. 44, no. Road Pricing in the United States, 01 June 2014, pp. 33-42. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.retrec.2014.04.003. High-occupancy toll lanes (HOTs) are commonly referred to as “Lexus Lanes,” to suggest that a Lexus owner would pay the fee to use the lane. In their article, Sara Khoeini and Randall Guensler record the Georgia Institute of Technology experiment, investigating the socioeconomic impact of Atlanta’s HOTs, explaining their methodology for collecting data and sharing their findings. This experiment on the I-85 HOT lanes differs from previous experiments on the socioeconomic impacts of HOT because vehicle value is used as a substitute for income. Using vehicle value to obtain results instead of income is less expensive and takes less time, therefore the researchers used the evaluation of the socioeconomic impact of HOT lanes to test the accuracy of using vehicle value for the calculations. The final results revealed that high-income commuters use the HOT lanes twice as much as the lowest-income commuters, but the lowest-income commuters are still using the HOT lane commonly, undermining the validity of the term “Lexus Lane”. The statement, “one of the reasons behind converting the HOV lane into an HOT lane was that the existing carpool lane was becoming congested like its general purpose lane counterparts,” suggests that congestion during commuting peak periods is increasing. The congestion caused by suburban commuters is influencing the shape of the built environment of Atlanta by demanding congestion relief projects, such as the implementation of HOT lanes. I chose this source because it provides evidence that suggests that the creation of HOT lanes is one of very few congestions relief options currently executable. The absence of many viable traffic relief solutions shines light on the possibility that public transportation will have an increased impact on the built environment by expanding to lighten commuting traffic. The article is written in such exceptional detail that the experiment could very likely be replicated using only the article. The meticulous, objective writing, present throughout most of the article, along with article’s status as peer reviewed gives me no reason to question the credibility of Khoeini and Guensler.
Ross, Catherine L., et al. “Health Impact Assessment of the Atlanta Beltline.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, vol. 42, no. 3, Mar. 2012, pp. 62-213. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2011.10.019. Catherine L. Ross’ in depth analysis of the Atlanta BeltLine is separated by theme into eleven sections, but I limited my research down to the fifth section titled “Access and Social Equity.” Ross begins by explaining the BeltLine as a redevelopment of underused land, through the creation of paved trails, increasing pedestrian accessibility and connecting people to destinations such as health clinics and public schools. She then evaluates data related to the parks, trails, transit, and redevelopment placing the results, in the form of calculated indicators of the project’s results in different areas, into tables. The products of her evaluations, displayed in the tables, revealed that improvements in accessibility and other benefits of the project are distributed unequally geographically and demographically. In all cases, the percentages of the populations from the Southeast, Southwest, and Westside planning areas that will have access to the benefits of the BeltLine are significantly less than the percentages of populations of the Northside and Northeast planning areas. It is extremely improbable that the Northside and Northeast planning areas, comprised almost entirely of people with the highest median income, will accidentally feature superior accessibility for a much higher percentage of residents than the other planning areas with majority low-income residents. A comparison of maps included in this study clearly illustrates unequal access to the readers, one map showing Beltline access to grocery stores and the other showing average median household income. In Laurel Paget-Seekins’ article cited above, it is shown that insufficient pedestrian infrastructure providing access to grocery stores is a huge problem for low-income families without cars. The issues discussed in this article are related to the findings of the study, “The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility Since 1940” because it demonstrates the impact of income inequality on the changes to the build environment as high-income areas are provided with higher quality infrastructure than low-income areas. In turn, the lack of quality infrastructure in low-income areas, where pedestrian infrastructure makes a greater impact, enforces the income inequality gap in Atlanta. Ross’ work is highly credible, seeing as she is an internationally recognized expert on the topics discussed in this study and has received high honors, including being selected to advise the Obama Administration in the subject of urban affairs.
Chetty, Raj and Nathaniel Hendren. “The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility Since 1940,” NBER Working Paper Series, Working Paper 23002, Apr. 2015, http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org/assets/documents/nbhds_exec_summary.pdf. Accessed 21 Mar. 2017. The version of this study referenced for my investigation is the executive summary of the full-length paper, written by the same authors, condensing the eighty-seven-page account into six pages. The summary familiarizes readers with the researchers’ methodologies and findings. In this study, Chetty and Hendren analyze the tax records of over five million children who, at some point, relocated to a different county to examine the impact that the neighborhood a child grows up in has on their income as an adult. The data, available for the public to download, is used to verify the claim that hometowns significantly affect children’s future chances for upward economic mobility and calculate the estimated effect of each county in America on a child’s probable economic mobility. Analysis of the findings of the study reveals that many of qualities found to decrease rates of upward economical mobility are present in Atlanta. Atlanta has a lot of segregation by class and race, the highest level of income inequality in the county, high rates of violent crime, and more African American residents than residents of any other race. Therefore, the information in this article helps explain what caused Atlanta’s income inequality ratio to rank the highest in the country. In connection to the article “Atlanta: Unsafe at any Speed: Transit Fatality Raises Issues of Race, Poverty and Transportation Justice,” public transportation’s shortcomings in Atlanta seem to have been caused by the presence of factors Chetty and Hendren show to hurt economic mobility. These shortcomings also appear to be perpetuating income inequality, by causing increases in factors such as segregation by race and class. The highly awarded authors both hold Ph.D.’s in economics from prestigious universities, Chetty from Harvard University and Hendren from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition to this, the study receives credibility because it has been widely cited. The study seems to be primarily objective, due to its heavy involvement with numerical records. Their suggestions for improving rates of economic mobility are not necessarily without flaw, but the research their study is comprised of could help policymakers enact plans to improve the rates. This source is valuable to my research because it shows how aspects of the built environment can contribute to economic success.
Berube, Alan, “All Cities Are Not Created Unequal.” Brookings. Brookings Institution, 20 Feb. 2014, https://www.brookings.edu/research/all-cities-are-not-created-unequal/. Accessed 21 Mar. 2017. Alan Berube, senior fellow and deputy director at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, discusses the issue of income inequality throughout large United States cities in this article. The raw data complied from the U.S. Census Bureau, ranking the cities by an inequality ratio, is given in the attached appendix and is used by Berube as a basis for comparing inequality across the cities. Although this data is from 2012, it is the newest compilation of U.S. Census Bureau data ranking cities by inequality that I could find. It is not proof that Atlanta currently holds the title of number one in terms of income inequality, but it does show that Atlanta has a very large gap between the highest incomes and the lowest. The Brookings Institute is a non-profit organization formed over one-hundred years ago with a reputation for having a central to slightly left-leaning political stance. However, an academic study ranked Brookings at a fifty-three on a scale from one to one-hundred, with one begin most conservative and one-hundred most liberal, giving the impression that they try to prevent political bias. The article seems to take a somewhat liberal stance on the issue of income inequality, referencing the prominence of income inequality in Barrack Obama’s list of campaign issues. Therefore, I will reference the U.S. Census Bureau data complied by Berube, as opposed to referencing his analysis of the data. Statistical data proving Atlanta has a high income inequality ratio is useful as it relates to the academic study, “The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility Since 1940.” The data presented in this article allows me to accurately establish economic inequality a problem for the city of Atlanta and analyze the causes using evidence found in The Fading American Dream.
Turner, Melissa. “CHANGING BOHEMIA Little Five Points, a Haven of Counterculture, Faces Gentrification and Dissension.” The Atlanta Journal the Atlanta Constitution, Jun 29, 1998, pp. E;01, Atlanta Journal & Constitution, http://ezproxy.gsu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gsu.edu/docview/247585702?accountid=11226. Melissa Turner’s article discusses gentrification plans for Little Five Points, made by the president of the Little Five Points Business Association, that were causing conflict in the community almost twenty years ago when it was written. She writes about a decline in tolerance among the community as she goes through the proposed attempts at revitalization and quotes members of the community on the topic. This article is problematic because it is dated and discusses plans that were not yet enacted at the time the article was published. It is possible that the policies discussed could have been only rumors or were rejected. However, it is a useful source when utilized to compare plans for Little Five Points from twenty years ago to what you can observe visiting the space today. The mini-precinct, business association president Shapiro was pushing for by Turner’s account, was successfully installed in the neighborhood and is present among the commercial stores on the strip. This article provides evidence that the Little Five Points police precinct was created to “clean-up” the neighborhood and solve the homeless problem. Turner cites business owners and other people with positions of power in the neighborhood wanting to drive out, “people just sitting around and taking up so much more space than their bodies take up.”
Schindler, Sarah. “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment.” The Yale Law Journal, vol. 124, 01 Apr. 2015, p. 1934. EBSCOhost, ezproxy.gsu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edslex&AN=edslex375D9927&site=eds-live. Sarah Schindler discusses how the built environment has been intentionally and unintentionally crafted to exclude the poor and people of color in most American cities in her academic study. She explains how the built environment influences our behavior, discusses the practice of architectural exclusion, considers instances in which the courts analyzed exclusion in the built environment, tells about the current legal restraints on exclusion, and describes how exclusionary aspects of the built environment created in the past are difficult to change. For the purposes of my study, I am only using information from the second part of Schindler’s study titled, “Architectural Exclusion: Practice.” In this section, the author goes into detail explaining the ways in which the built environment can restrict “undesirable people’s” access to specific places or areas. First, she gives examples of physical barriers that intentionally restrict poor people and African-American people from accessing places. A specific example of this occurring in America is with Robert Moses’ bridges in Long Island, New York. Moses designed all of the bridges of Long Island to be low so that busses could not pass underneath. At the time, most lower-income people took public busses to get everywhere, making it very difficult for them to reach Long Island’s famous Jones Beach. She also provides examples of highways put in place to separate rich areas from poor areas and walls put in place to separate rich neighborhoods from poor neighborhoods. Next, Schindler explains that the layout of public transportation routes is also commonly taken advantage of in making the built environment restrict access to some members of the community. Transit routes usually pass over wealthy communities without having a stop or do not go into wealthy communities at all. Schindler more specifically mentions that public transportation routes rarely exist in wealthy suburban areas. She states that employers in the suburbs of Atlanta, in some cases, have had to pay higher than minimum wage to attract workers, as low-income workers in the city cannot access the suburbs. Schindler’s study relates to the article written by Laurel Paget-Seekins because she explains that in some cases transit will get people close to their destination without actually reaching it, and then leaves them having to cross dangerous routes to actually reach the destination. Schindler uses a mall moving their bus stop across the highway without having any cross walks as an example, but this is similar to Paget-Seekins’ story about the Atlanta woman whose son died while they were crossing a dangerous intersection to reach the grocery store. I chose to include this article in my research as a source of specific kinds of ways the built environment separates and excludes people. Schindler’s given examples help me to look at Atlanta and analyze how the built environment excludes people and perpetuates segregation. Sarah Schindler appears to be a very credible source of authority who has done her research on the topic of architectural exclusion. The section of her study I am using as a source is free of bias or personal opinion and consists of mostly real world examples. Schindler’s study is published in the prestigious Yale Law Journal, and she cites a large number of sources.
Rosenberger, Robert, “How Cities Use Design to Drive Homeless People Away.” The Atlantic. The Atlantic, 19 June 2014, https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/06/how-cities-use-design-to-drive-homeless-people-away/373067/. Accessed 25 Mar. 2017. Rosenberger’s article describes the methods different cities have used to prevent homeless people from sleeping in public spaces. He shows images of many examples of “homeless deterrence technologies” in different cities around the United States to explain to the reader that many instances of homeless deterrence commonly go unnoticed. This is relevant to my research because a photo of a bench in a Salt Lake City park Rosenberger includes in his article, illustrating how bench design can discourage sleeping, looks almost identical to the benches in Little Five Point’s Findley Plaza. Benches that discourage the homeless from sleeping in Little Five Points relate to Melissa Turner’s article, as she quoted the president of the business association wanting to gentrify Little Five Points almost twenty years ago. The presence of these benches is evidence that those gentrification plans were, at least in some part, enacted. I chose to include this article in my research because it is evidence of the perpetuation of economic inequality in Atlanta. Instead of providing the homeless with a better place to sleep, such as a homeless shelter, Little Five Points put large armrests in the center of their public benches to solve the problem of homelessness. Rosenberger’s claims, regarding homeless deterrence, are credible because he provides photo evidence showing many instances of it occurring in many different cities. He is a professor for the Georgia Institute of Technology’s school of public policy, therefore he should be a reliable source for information regarding anti-homeless public policy.
Turner, Kimberly. “How Segregated is Atlanta? This Race Map Reveals the Truth.” Curbed Atlanta, Jun 2, 2014, http://atlanta.curbed.com/2014/6/2/10092862/how-segregated-is-atlanta, Accessed 18 Apr. 2017. Kimberly Turner’s article for Curbed Atlanta about racial segregation in the city of Atlanta does not include much commentary. The purpose of article is to share images from an interactive map created by the University of Virginia that shows a dot for each resident in the spot and is colored based on that person’s race. Curbed Atlanta is a popular source without any sort of peer review, and I could not find any information on the author besides other articles she has written for Curbed Atlanta. However, just looking at the images included in the article from the University of Virginia map, the source is credible. The image of the map included in the article matches the interactive map zoomed in on Atlanta. I did not use the University of Virginia as my source for the map because the interactive map has no labels and Turner added the names of Atlanta neighborhoods on their locations. The map is useful to substantiate the claim made in my paper, that Atlanta remains racially segregated today. It relates to the study by Chetty and Hendren, as they say that racial segregation is a factor that negatively affects economic mobility, and the map proves that Atlanta is racially segregated. Therefore, I can evaluate the high level of income inequality in Atlanta with racial segregation as a factor perpetuating the problem.
The Human Scale. Dir. Andreas Mol Dalsgaard. 2012. Andreas Mol Dalsgaard, Film. Revolutionary architect Jan Gehl, featured in the documentary the Human Scale, argues that as the percentage of the world population living in urban environments increases, cities need to be designed for people instead cars. The documentary supports Gehl’s argument by consulting other experts to compare the general quality of life in cities from different parts of the world, some car dominated and others pedestrian dominated. Dalsgaard’s purpose is to challenge the traditional idea of what a city should look like in order to persuade viewers that cities that cater to the needs of pedestrians, as opposed to cars, are more sustainable and livable. The documentary’s visualization of the differences between cities designed with people in mind and cities designed with traffic efficiency in mind provides evidence that car dominated cities have higher levels of inequality than pedestrian dominated cities. In all of the cities designed for cars that are covered in the film, low-income accessibility difficulties are discussed by the experts who are featured. While Dalsgaard also shows that in cities designed for people, accessibility is universal and benefits all of the residents. Footage and discussion covering universal design for crosswalks that take priority over traffic relates to Catherine Ross’ assessment of the Atlanta BeltLine because it highlights the BeltLine’s shortcomings. While in some cities universal accessibility is a goal, the BeltLine was shown by Ross to be much less accessible in low-income communities than in high-income communities. Although the Human Scale offers great visual representations of the problems characteristic of car dominated cities, most of the experts interviewed throughout the film seem to be biased. While people were interviewed criticizing pedestrian focused development, the experts quoted throughout the film are very complimentary. In addition to this bias, the writer/director and primary expert are from Denmark, and Copenhagen is used as the ideal city model throughout the documentary.
Carlson, Adam. “Study: Black Atlantans prefer suburbs, whites moving to city ‘core’” The Atlanta Journal the Atlanta Constitution, Jan 8, 2015, Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Accessed 18 Apr. 2017. Carlson analyzes and responds to a study about migration to and from Atlanta by race, and he cites this study by Lyman Stone as his source in the article. Carlson quotes Stone stating that, “Among migrants within the Atlanta region, whites were far more likely to prefer the urban core, while blacks were more likely to prefer the suburbs.” The article and information Carlson provides from the study are useful to my own research in substantiating the claim that migration trends in Atlanta are changing, more blacks are moving to the suburbs and more whites to the cities. However, there are problems with the article as it says that “black Atlantans prefer suburbs”. Although the statistics the study is based on support the claim that blacks are increasingly moving to the suburbs, the study does not go into reasons for moving to the suburbs or the city. This relates to the article previously cited that discusses the impacts of the Atlanta BeltLine because that article explains that poor blacks have been forced to move towards the suburbs because of increased prices of apartments in the city core. Therefore, it is likely that although blacks have been moving to the suburbs more commonly, they do not necessarily prefer to live in the suburbs. Carlson identifies issues with the study in his article explaining that, “he atypically includes Cobb County as part of the city’s ‘core,’ along with DeKalb and Fulton, because of its access to public transit, according to the service maps he referenced.” The problems with the article and the study make it difficult for me to use much information from the article, but I believe that the information about the statistics of migration of blacks to the suburbs and whites closer to the city is still useful to me.