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ATL Brainstorming: Creative Uses for Underused City Spaces

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Frank Gehry might not have crumpled up a piece of paper to design the white-hot Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, but Creative Loafing has asked three local architect-y folks to take on some Atlanta design challenges using only a napkin. The results — small interventions within the larger context of the city — prove that with a bit of creativity, minor design changes could dramatically alter the character of a place. With an urban designer, a planner and an architect in the mix, the titillating proposals include a new plaza on the Jackson Street Bridge at Freedom Parkway, an outdoor "living room" on Decatur Street at the Boulevard Tunnel and an arts plaza across Peachtree Street from the High Museum. Hopefully, the napkins are the first step toward fruition.

Jackson Street Bridge

Fans of The Walking Dead and cliched cityscape photos should be familiar with the Jackson Street Bridge. With a sweet view of the downtown Atlanta skyline, the location is a favorite among amateur and professional photographers. Local urban designer Ross Wallace proposes reducing the traffic lanes on the bridge to provide for a tiered plaza for people to relax and soak in the views. Sunsets aren't too shabby from this spot, either. Yes, please.

Boulevard Tunnel

The walls of the Boulevard Tunnel are painted in bright stripes, and planner Deanna Murphy proposes that we take the party a little higher. Her drawing shows a pocket park filled with bright flowers in a small space above the tunnel, adjacent to the viaduct that carries Decatur Avenue over Boulevard. The "living room" could enliven the neighborhood and provide some visual appeal to the space bounded by roads and rail lines.

Arts Park
One of MARTA's architects, Shaun Martin, proposes a large art park in a long-vacant lot that sits prominently in the arts district of Midtown. While the site is destined to become One Museum Place, the proposal nonetheless offers a glimpse at what a new arts space could do for an area boasting the Museum of Design, High Museum, the Alliance Theater and Symphony Hall. By bringing art to the street, Martin's goal was to activate the space and provide a new plane of engagement between the public and art.

· 3 visionaries, 3 cocktail napkins, 3 ideas [Creative Loafing]