It’s still a relatively new year, this 2020 presidential election year, with talk of potential change and the future at the forefront of Atlantans’ consciousnesses. But let’s pause for a minute and take stock of where we stand right now.
Let’s think for a minute about this city—where it is and where it’s going.
Why now? It dawns on us that five years ago this month, we put together a project called New Voices Atlanta. We polled 45 people who’d recently uprooted their lives and came to Atlanta, moving from disparate American places large and small, from Los Angeles and Miami, Connecticut and Minneapolis, Cincinnati and San Francisco.
Freshly minted Atlantans shared their views on everything from crime and education and the city’s traffic mess to the truth behind Atlanta’s famed, relative affordability and their outlook on its future.
On average, they were 31 years old and had lived here for about a year. Overall, they gave the city an 8 out of 10 rating, though some said Atlanta’s shortfalls would eventually force them to move.
Particularly interesting was the range of first-impressions the transplants had experienced upon relocating.
Like this from a consultant who hailed from Massachusetts: “Amazing. I could see myself growing old in this city.”
Or the church evangelist from Alabama: “Underdeveloped, sprawling, neglected, fun, diverse, big. I loved Atlanta from the first moment, but [my impression] was definitely more negative.”
And the Dallas expat: “Large and segregated, and increasingly gentrified.”
But thousands of today’s Atlantans didn’t live here in February 2015, and probably didn’t care.
So as part of our occasional “Open Thread” installments, we’d like to open the floor in the comments section to those same, former ATL newbies who chimed in way back when. Or transplants who’ve called this city home for eons. Or Grady babies who’ve lived nowhere else. Anybody.
The simple question: “Has Atlanta met your expectations?”