The Atlanta Beltline has received a splash of national spotlight, alongside a sculpture-filled park in Seattle, one born from a Birmingham railroad yard and micro parks in Los Angeles. An exhibit called FitNation — organized by The American Institute of Architects — calls attention to projects across the country that prove architecture can keep people moving and help quell obesity. FitNation spotlights 33 projects (18 of them are excerpted here, including the Beltline) that range from massive medical research complexes to tiny, open-source urban amenities.
FitNation is on display at AIA National Headquarters in Washington, D.C., through Jan. 31. The organizers remind folks that the Beltline — designed by Simon Martin-Vegue Winkelstein Moris and Perkins + Will — began as a graduate study, examining the conversion of a ring of abandoned railroads into an assortment of public transportation modes (not to mention a pretty sweet hub of urban art). To quote the FitNation assessment: "What began as a student Master's thesis in 1999, the Atlanta Beltline is now one of the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment and transportation projects currently underway in the United States."