According to the initial vision for the Atlanta Beltline, the immense, multi-use network of trees, trails, and transit is far from complete.
That doesn’t mean the project hasn’t already changed the face and functionality of the city forever. Myriad questions remain, of course, regarding the loop’s future and the impact it will have on neighborhoods:
Will the 22-mile circuit ever be paired up with a full loop of light rail transit—or perhaps something else entirely? Will the Westside Trail one day mimic its Eastside elder sibling, further driving up the cost of living? What will survive of the historic, less-than-affluent neighborhoods dotting the trail arcs that have yet to be paved?
If Atlanta-based musician Michaelsoft has anything to say about it, Atlanta is doomed—largely thanks to the Beltline, which was always meant to connect neighbors and resuscitated areas suffering from disinvestment.
It’s not the only example of pushback against the acclaimed urban redevelopment project. In July, hundreds of protestors picketed downtown, decrying rising housing costs in Beltline neighborhoods. And on a national level, the Beltline played a starring role in a Wall Street Journal piece this past weekend titled, “Atlanta’s Growing Pains Are Getting Worse.”
Michaelsoft’s ditty lends some not-so-optimistic perspective to the project’s past and potential future through the lens of trance-y, techno, vaporwave something-or-other.
Take a listen:
Murder Kroger killed by the Beltline,
The Masquerade Park killed by the Beltline,
Thunderbox was killed by the Beltline,
My hopes and dreams were killed by the Beltline,
There is, of course, some truth to Michaelsoft’s depressing lyrics—at least as far as those three local stalwarts were concerned: Each has been, or is being, replaced by major mixed-use development projects.
It’s tough to speak for the artist’s hopes and dreams, but we can attest to his claim that the Beltline is having—and will continue to have—a transformative impact on places like Edgewood Avenue, which gets a mention, and Moreland Avenue.
Where has my city gone?
What has become of it?
Everything’s out of wack,
I feel like a quack,
That last line, some might argue, is spot-on.