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Photos: 15 years later, Glenwood Park remains a sustainable intown gem

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A photographic ode to a smart yet unsung Atlanta neighborhood designed with people in mind

A photo of single-family homes along Glenwood Park Drive and the neighborhood’s functional green space.
Single-family homes along Glenwood Park Drive and the neighborhood’s functional green space.
Photos: Jonathan Phillips, Curbed Atlanta

Maybe it’s hard to envision, but back in the late 1990s and early aughts, the leafy eastside New Urban utopia that is Glenwood Park was a decidedly nasty place.

Twenty-eight contaminated acres of abandoned brownfield, nestled against Interstate 20 about two miles east of downtown, the site was almost totally covered with impervious concrete, which was triggering rampant stormwater run-off problems.

Then, in 2003, Glenwood Park was founded as one of the original EarthCraft Community Pilot Projects.

This image via Wikipedia Commons

Within two years, the mixed-use district was declared the EarthCraft House Development of the Year, for its “progressive site design, high-performance homes, residents’ involvement in community life, and [prowess in] connecting the development to transportation and business districts,” per Glenwood Park’s community site.

Beyond the homes, green spaces, and public bocce, the post-industrial blight was replaced with more than a thousand trees and a rainwater harvesting system that collects nearly two million gallons annually, supplying the neighborhood’s parks and street trees.

Fifteen years since it began, Glenwood Park is coming into its own amid rapid changes, including a comparatively embarrassing development next door, a large apartment venture under construction nearby, and the glistening promise of the Beltline’s Southside Trail.

It’s where contemporary design meets Old South and even European vernacular, all with the compressed functionality of northeastern towns. With the pleasant grime of inimitable age, some streets are beginning to echo Savannah, in a way, minus the oaks and moss. Smaller condos in the district have blipped the radar in recent years for as cheap as $169,000.

The nearly 50,000-square-foot retail component is home to city-wide attractions such as Gunshow and The Shed, alongside Vickery’s, Drip Coffee Shop, and a jerk chicken joint, among others.

Call it too urban-plany, too idyllic, or just too new, but this installment of Visual Journeys could help make the case that Glenwood Park is too important to forget.

Townhomes line Bill Kennedy Way in Glenwood Park on one side of the street.
Photos: Jonathan Phillips, Curbed Atlanta
A classical approach to semi-detached entryways. The ironwork and aging brick lend soul.
The newer Enso offers apartment living on the other side of the street. Collectively, this section of Ormewood Park is a conflux of single-family homes, townhomes, apartments, retail, restaurants, and greenspace.
Although missing its water feature during a recent visit, the actual park at Glenwood Park provides a green respite through a section of single-family homes along Faith Avenue and Glenwood Park Drive.
One of the numerous entrances to the actual park along Faith Avenue. The walls were built of granite salvaged from the industrial site. Almost 300 million pounds of concrete were salvaged and reused across Glenwood Park, too.
The Cake Hag is just one of many retail spaces open in Glenwood Park.
The beating heart of Glenwood Park is the commercial district.