Has the paradigm shifted for good when Atlanta’s sprawling suburbs not only want to visit the city again — but become like the city, in certain respects?
Maybe so. For better or worse.
Cities around the world have been watching the Beltline for years as a guinea-pig example of ambitious urban redevelopment. (Chicago, which is gussying up its riverfront, is the latest example this week).
But now, closer to home, Atlanta’s outlying communities seem to be looking inwardly (as in ITP) for inspiration more often as they aim to reinvent themselves in the age of millennials.
The latest and perhaps most blatant example comes from Snellville, whose leaders hope to capitalize on a commercial boom to create their very own city-market complex like Krog Street Market for an eight-acre parcel near the Gwinnett city’s core, the AJC reports.
One city official says the mix of pedestrian space, bistros, and retail would aim to capture “the next generation” in the pipeline.
On the flipside of the metro, Fayetteville leaders are looking to borrow from the Atlanta Beltline template to connect and enhance the city’s walking paths — and possibly reinvigorate the area around Old Courthouse Square, as Fayette News reported last week.
For some outlying cities, resemblance to thriving urban centers (or lack thereof) like Atlanta can be of major consequence.
Census data show that Fayette County lost 31 percent of its millennial population between 2007 and 2014, which RealtyTrac called the nation’s highest rate of decline. Those figures spurred county leaders to gather for a summit earlier this year and brainstorm about how to stem the millennial bleeding.
More nightlife is imperative, they concluded. Along with smaller rentals.
"One of the things we're hearing is [millennials] like one-bedroom apartments,” Peachtree City Mayor Vanessa Fleisch told WSB-TV at the time. “We don't have any of those."
The ATL hath no such problem.