[Historic Fourth Ward Park site, 2007 vs. 2012. Images: Google Street View timeline.]
In a swiftly evolving city, it's easy to lose perspective on where you came from and take the myriad changes for granted. Luckily, Google Street View's new timeline feature is an antidote for all of that. Local planner/engineer/photographer Sinan Sinharoy points us to a Before/After compilation on his website that pits Atlanta of 2007 against more recent images. In places like the Old Fourth Ward and the Memorial Drive corridor, the contrast is stark. But in some ways, the circa-2007 optimism of Atlanta — when the skies swung with condo cranes — feels similar to today, although many current projects have the potential to truly enrich the city.
The timeline feature allows users to peer back to 2007 and see how their surroundings are different. Sinharoy has gathered more juxtapositions from around downtown, the Westside and Castleberry Hill. (Changes would be dramatic in many parts of Buckhead, too. And how about Highland Avenue in Inman Park, when Usher's Grape wine bar stood where Pure Taqueria is). Not everyone would applaud this sort of gentrification/evolution/repurposing of the city, but it's worthwhile to keep perspective. "It can be tough to remember what things looked like five, six, or seven years ago," Sinharoy writes. "We adapt to our surroundings quickly, and the once-ubiquitous abandoned buildings and lots fade away into the back of our minds …
"As the construction cranes once again dot our landscape, it's great to look back every once in a while and see what our built environment used to look like," he continues. "Love it or hate it, I look at this as a sign that Atlanta is progressing into a denser, more walkable, and economically vibrant city."
Memorial Drive in Grant Park, facing Oakland Cemetery:
Decatur Street, just east of downtown Atlanta:
Historic Fourth Ward Park, Rankin Street: