Neighborhood Diversity and Middle Housing in an Atlanta Context

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Dodson, Christy S.
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Over the past couple of decades, the City of Atlanta has experienced an urban revival. Population trends upward and redevelopment is rapidly occurring in the older, denser, more walkable neighborhoods of the city core—the same areas that experienced white flight, depopulation, and disinvestment for the previous half a century. As the city looks toward its future, now is a crucial time to define policies and practices shaping this growth into the city that Atlanta will evolve to become. A primary argument of this paper is for the advantages to supporting neighborhood diversity as a fundamental goal and policy-focus for the City of Atlanta. This includes a review of literature defining and delineating various types of neighborhood diversity, determining the factors that influence neighborhood diversity, and supporting the necessity of neighborhood diversity for building resiliency and social capital. It is through the context of resiliency that the argument for neighborhood diversity goes beyond what is morally right for a city, to what is essential for the longterm viability of a city. While the first section focuses on neighborhood diversity more broadly, the second portion of the paper explores the link between housing and neighborhood diversity—more specifically, the potential role of middle housing to introduce housing diversity in an effort to bolster neighborhood diversity. These issues are primarily considered through the context of the City of Atlanta, its history, and its shifting demographic trends moving forward. Discussion includes the opportunities and barriers to implementation of middle housing as a piece of the broader policy framework supporting the Atlanta City Design goals of equity, progress, ambition, access, and nature.
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