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Cityscape

But as many rushed to get out during the mid-20th century, others stayed and focused on making Atlanta, the heart of the sprawling region, better. They pushed for transit to create MARTA, supported affordable housing to make sure people of all incomes could live here, and pushed for justice. They invested in their communities and fought off projects that could have destroyed their homes. They knew that Atlanta had value and it could be better. So they worked toward that goal.

Today, the visionaries in our ranks include a City Hall official who is trying to retrofit the mess previous generations made to cater to commuters. There is a neighborhood activist in West End who is reaching out to young people to give guidance and structure. There is a group of historic preservationists who refuse to allow another beautiful building — in this case, a library — to be forgotten. And there is an annual gathering of people who flock to a truly visionary project to look at lanterns and be around other people.

Atlanta has too often focused on short-term fixes to solve problems. It’s been blind to the long-term problems those fixes can create. But pushing back, and sometimes leading us, are people who can see past the next year or election. To the people who are committed to making the city a better place, we say thanks.

— THOMAS WHEATLEY

Best (and most unlikely) comeback

Jeff Francoeur’s call up from the minor leagues
Many people had thought Atlanta Braves outfielder JEFF FRANCOEUR’S CALL-UP FROM THE MINOR LEAGUES was either a publicity stunt or a really expensive act of kindness by the down-on-its-luck Bravos. But the Parkview High School graduate surprised fans by matching his career batting average and othermore...
Many people had thought Atlanta Braves outfielder JEFF FRANCOEUR’S CALL-UP FROM THE MINOR LEAGUES was either a publicity stunt or a really expensive act of kindness by the down-on-its-luck Bravos. But the Parkview High School graduate surprised fans by matching his career batting average and other impressive stats (at one point, the former SI cover boy had a team-high batting average). The summer before he was considering retirement after enduring a stint at a triple-A club in El Paso. But he had a good run — until the Braves, being the Braves, traded him. atlanta.braves.mlb.com. less...

Best bizarro news story

Young Thug rode a horse around
Young Thug has proudly embodied many entities. The rapper has masqueraded as a therapist, a Martian, a fashion icon. All those facets of Thugga’s identity may be true, yet the entire city of Atlanta (and the whole Twitterscape) scratched their proverbial heads when he added equestrian to that list.more...
Young Thug has proudly embodied many entities. The rapper has masqueraded as a therapist, a Martian, a fashion icon. All those facets of Thugga’s identity may be true, yet the entire city of Atlanta (and the whole Twitterscape) scratched their proverbial heads when he added equestrian to that list. In March, YOUNG THUG RODE A HORSE AROUND to announce the tour supporting his album Hy!£UN35. The mini equine-based tour to announce the larger one cruised around Poncey-Highland before stopping to mug beneath Plaza Theatre’s marquee, which displayed the tour details. The resulting photograph featured Young Thug, clad in tight white pants, beaming like a kid on a sugar high. Was the curious publicity tactic inspired by cosmic sway? A lean-fueled fever dream? We’ll likely never know, but then again, some mysteries are better left unsolved, and perhaps Thugga’s horsing around should be counted among them. twitter.com/youngthug. less...

Best free thing to do

Atlanta Streets Alive
Every couple months, men, women, and children reclaim the streets with bicycles, in-line skates, unicycles, or just their feet, and enjoy the freedom of the open road without any cars during ATLANTA STREETS ALIVE. A brainchild of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, visitors bike, skate, sprint, dance, skip,more...
Every couple months, men, women, and children reclaim the streets with bicycles, in-line skates, unicycles, or just their feet, and enjoy the freedom of the open road without any cars during ATLANTA STREETS ALIVE. A brainchild of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, visitors bike, skate, sprint, dance, skip, spin, hula-hoop, cartwheel, lag, or move in any shape, way, or form they please for exercise or just to reconnect with their communities. Businesses set up things like hula-hoop contests or field day events; restaurants adorn the streets with outdoor seating areas. The April event showed how easy it is to get around the city when you don’t have steel beasts breathing down your neck. With a vibrantly colored sea of bodies, helmets, high-fives, and bouncy music, the event celebrated cultures — free of traffic and free of price. www.atlantastreetsalive.com. less...

Best light show

Atlanta Beltline Lantern Parade
In a few short years, the ATLANTA BELTLINE LANTERN PARADE went from a small idea by local artist Chantelle Rytter to the city’s brightest and most beautiful gathering of residents. On one evening in September, artists cobble together 20-foot-tall illuminated skeletons and children piece together makeshiftmore...
In a few short years, the ATLANTA BELTLINE LANTERN PARADE went from a small idea by local artist Chantelle Rytter to the city’s brightest and most beautiful gathering of residents. On one evening in September, artists cobble together 20-foot-tall illuminated skeletons and children piece together makeshift glowing boxes. The crowd lines up, starts to walk, and takes ownership of the Eastside Trail for roughly two miles. Atlantans and visitors, along with some teens on hallucinogens, stand alongside or post up on porches and take in the parade that proceeds to the soundtrack of the Seed and Feed Marching Abominable. In a city that tends to overplan and commercialize its events, the lantern parade is a nice reprieve. www.atlantabeltline.org. less...

Best secret stash of Victorian architecture

West End
Yes, WEST END has won awards from Curbed and Redfin proclaiming it Atlanta’s coolest community. But it’s not the first time the neighborhood has been fashionable. The neighborhood that began in the 1830s as a small village and pub called the White Hall Tavern became its own city in the 1860s. Developersmore...
Yes, WEST END has won awards from Curbed and Redfin proclaiming it Atlanta’s coolest community. But it’s not the first time the neighborhood has been fashionable. The neighborhood that began in the 1830s as a small village and pub called the White Hall Tavern became its own city in the 1860s. Developers over the years built housing ranging from bungalows to gorgeous Victorian mansions — grand homes that, thanks to dedicated longtime residents and new arrivals unafraid to swing a hammer, can be seen in their gabled glory along Peeples Street, Oglethorpe Avenue, and other thoroughfares. Every year, a few well-preserved survivals from those days open up for the neighborhood’s tour of homes. Wren’s Nest is the most famous but it’s got plenty of lovely companions well worth a visit. www.atlantawestend.com. less...

Best workaround to injustice

Freedom University
In 2011, the Georgia Board of Regents approved a policy that prohibits undocumented immigrants from receiving in-state tuition and from attending the state’s top universities. The move shut out thousands of young Georgians from receiving a higher education, despite President Barack Obama’s executivemore...
In 2011, the Georgia Board of Regents approved a policy that prohibits undocumented immigrants from receiving in-state tuition and from attending the state’s top universities. The move shut out thousands of young Georgians from receiving a higher education, despite President Barack Obama’s executive order that protected from deportation people who were brought to the U.S. as children. Enter FREEDOM UNIVERSITY. Founded by four Georgia professors and run entirely on donations, the school aims to provide the same quality education the students would receive at state schools — free. The nonprofit also tries to help the young people apply for college located in states that allow undocumented students and advocates to change policies. In a perfect world, says Executive Director Laura Emiko Soltis, there would be no need to have “underground schools.” Until Georgia gets there, Freedom U continues. www.freedomuniversitygeorgia.com. less...

Best youth mentor

Shawn Deangelo Walton
Sometimes the best thing someone can do for young people is be present in their lives. In West End, SHAWN DEANGELO WALTON is filling that role. After graduating from Morehouse College with a degree in childhood development, the metro Atlanta native settled in Atlanta’s westside and founded WeCyclemore...
Sometimes the best thing someone can do for young people is be present in their lives. In West End, SHAWN DEANGELO WALTON is filling that role. After graduating from Morehouse College with a degree in childhood development, the metro Atlanta native settled in Atlanta’s westside and founded WeCycle Atlanta, a nonprofit that teaches young children about sustainability through urban agriculture and bicycling. He has taught them how to build small businesses, stay active, and, occasionally, stay straight when he’s found them avoiding school. Much like Bearings Bike Shop in Adair Park, Walton helps kids earn bicycles through doing good deeds. This past summer he started mentoring children, teaching them how to start lawn-mowing services, and sell items such as incense. Walton placed a $1 bounty on real-estate investors’ numerous (and illegal) signs on utility poles aimed at hoodwinking desperate people to sell their houses for less than they’re worth. And when a child expressed interest in learning about the police department, Walton was able to secure a sit-down with a local officer, who also donated tennis racquets for the youth, helping to build ties between community and law enforcement. www.wecycleatlanta.org. less...

Best corner store success story

Carver Neighborhood Market Carver Neighborhood Market
Along McDonough Boulevard and Jonesboro Road in south Atlanta, businesses tend to be fenced-off industrial operations and shops pushing lottery tickets or cigarettes. That’s why the year-old CARVER NEIGHBORHOOD MARKET is right when it calls itself an “oasis.” In a neighborhood that lacks placesmore...
Along McDonough Boulevard and Jonesboro Road in south Atlanta, businesses tend to be fenced-off industrial operations and shops pushing lottery tickets or cigarettes. That’s why the year-old CARVER NEIGHBORHOOD MARKET is right when it calls itself an “oasis.” In a neighborhood that lacks places to buy good food, the former thrift shop is an asparagus-to-zucchini grocery store that shares space with the Community Grounds Coffee Shop. Some of the groceries are local, and that’s as intentional as the healthy fresh inventory, the site’s inviting sunlit design, and the store’s new bike-delivery option for nearby residents. It’s the kind of place that would bring any neighborhood together, and that many places like south Atlanta sorely need. www.carvermarket.com. less...

Best critique on the urban bourgeois

“Honey, now we’re urban”
If Rip Van Winkle passed out 30 years ago behind the Clermont Hotel and woke up this week, he’d likely have a heart attack upon seeing Ponce de Leon Avenue. He might find comfort in artist Chris Veal’s “HONEY, NOW WE’RE URBAN” mural along the wall of the former Marco’s Pita (and previousmore...
If Rip Van Winkle passed out 30 years ago behind the Clermont Hotel and woke up this week, he’d likely have a heart attack upon seeing Ponce de Leon Avenue. He might find comfort in artist Chris Veal’s “HONEY, NOW WE’RE URBAN” mural along the wall of the former Marco’s Pita (and previous home to the legendary Tortillas). Veal says the idea of the wealthy couple in the mural came to him with the “changing of faces in the area.” He said images such as “people leaving Ponce City Market then get upset they have to walk by the day laborers on Ponce” served as his inspiration for the project. We talk all the time about how the city is changing, and what is gained and lost. Sometimes we need a multicolored hit in the face. www.instagram.com/caveal. less...

Best neighborhood for the arts

Downtown
Old Fourth Ward has murals. Midtown has the High Museum’s ever-changing interactive pieces, including the popular Trompos, the quirky spinning rock/booger on the corner of Peachtree and 10th streets, and the often-overlooked Noguchi Playscape at Piedmont Park. But DOWNTOWN has South Broad Street’smore...
Old Fourth Ward has murals. Midtown has the High Museum’s ever-changing interactive pieces, including the popular Trompos, the quirky spinning rock/booger on the corner of Peachtree and 10th streets, and the often-overlooked Noguchi Playscape at Piedmont Park. But DOWNTOWN has South Broad Street’s vibrant upstart arts scene, the orphaned sculptures from the 1996 Summer Olympics, Elevate, Eyedrum, the Rialto, and some of Living Walls’ more daring murals. www.downtownatlanta.com. less...

Best next big development opportunity

Murphy Triangle
To live up to Ryan Gravel’s vision, the Atlanta Beltline’s Westside Trail between Washington Park and Adair Park will need to have retail, restaurants, and offices — places where southwest Atlanta residents can go. Underused warehouses along White Street can provide some of that space, but nothingmore...
To live up to Ryan Gravel’s vision, the Atlanta Beltline’s Westside Trail between Washington Park and Adair Park will need to have retail, restaurants, and offices — places where southwest Atlanta residents can go. Underused warehouses along White Street can provide some of that space, but nothing quite compares to the potential of MURPHY TRIANGLE, a sprawling collection of industrial properties, most of which still have that lived-in quality that’s become increasingly rare in Atlanta. From the nearly 17-acre former State Farmers Market to the humdrum box factory and other warehouses, this area could one day become a smartly adapted mini-city unto itself. Throw in the so-big-you’ll-get-lost Lifecycle Building Center and you get a sizable helping of a green business in intown Atlanta. Just hope planners chart out the best path and developers have the foresight to make the most of existing buildings. less...

Best eco advocate to take a bow

Dennis Creech
DENNIS CREECH has been an evangelist for being smart about energy since the ’70s, when he had to explain to people what he meant when he said he was studying “ecology.” He’s retiring this year from the helm of Southface, a nonprofit that finds and promotes ways to save money and protect the environmentmore...
DENNIS CREECH has been an evangelist for being smart about energy since the ’70s, when he had to explain to people what he meant when he said he was studying “ecology.” He’s retiring this year from the helm of Southface, a nonprofit that finds and promotes ways to save money and protect the environment through better building. So when Atlantans take it for granted that they can buy sustainable building materials, find a solar electrician, or get help planning an efficient building, it’s in large part due to years of efforts from Creech and Southface to make energy efficiency mainstream. www.southface.org. less...

Best housing hero

Dan Immergluck
For all the ATLiens grumbling that the rent is too damn high or that blight is dragging down their neighborhoods, DAN IMMERGLUCK will make for some affirmative reading. The Georgia Tech professor, who noted the Atlanta Beltline was driving up land costs in 2007 before it was cool, has found that in moremore...
For all the ATLiens grumbling that the rent is too damn high or that blight is dragging down their neighborhoods, DAN IMMERGLUCK will make for some affirmative reading. The Georgia Tech professor, who noted the Atlanta Beltline was driving up land costs in 2007 before it was cool, has found that in more than half of Atlanta’s census tracts, low-cost housing choices have declined measurably. He’s estimated the cost of blight: somewhere between $2.6 million and $6 million annually in city services alone, and more in lost value to neighboring houses. Activists read his work, and he’s got the ear of some in City Hall, too. His past work on the national foreclosure crisis caught the eye of the Federal Reserve, and his research has helped put Atlanta’s increasing unaffordability in the spotlight. You can’t solve the problem if you don’t have good data. Thank God we’ve got Immergluck running numbers. www.planning.gatech.edu/people/dan-immergluck. less...

Best new publicly accessible rooftop

New Ponce City Market rooftop Roof @ Ponce City Market
If you’re hankering for a new angle on Atlanta’s skyline, the NEW PONCE CITY MARKET ROOFTOP has finally arrived. Should you decide to peel your eyes away from the quirky narrow stretch of buildings, turn around and find yourself in Skyline Park, the 1.7-acre-rooftop boardwalk-inspired amusement parkmore...
If you’re hankering for a new angle on Atlanta’s skyline, the NEW PONCE CITY MARKET ROOFTOP has finally arrived. Should you decide to peel your eyes away from the quirky narrow stretch of buildings, turn around and find yourself in Skyline Park, the 1.7-acre-rooftop boardwalk-inspired amusement park decked out with a dunking booth, mini golf, skeeball, and a free-fall Heege ride. Jamestown Properties plans to use the roof’s remaining 4.3 acres for restaurants, events, and private space for building tenants. Yes, it will cost you $10 to access, and extra money if you want to enjoy the attractions. But just think: The rooftop gives visitors a one-stop shop to dunk someone in a tub of water while taking in the picturesque skyline of Atlanta. That’s what we call good architecture. less...

Best place to rent

West End
Movie stars are renting homes in Inman Park. Parents looking for top-notch schools pay top dollar in Decatur. Apartments along the Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail are priced for Silicon Valley émigrés. Buckhead is Buckhead. If you’re looking for a place that won’t drain you and your roommates’more...
Movie stars are renting homes in Inman Park. Parents looking for top-notch schools pay top dollar in Decatur. Apartments along the Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail are priced for Silicon Valley émigrés. Buckhead is Buckhead. If you’re looking for a place that won’t drain you and your roommates’ bank accounts, search WEST END. You will be close to MARTA, Downtown, and the interstate, plus food options ranging from Truly Living Well’s urban farm in neighboring Ashview Heights, Big Bear’s smaller grocery store, and a Kroger down the under-construction Westside Trail. www.atlantawestend.com. less...

Best show of bipartisanship

Passage of the rape-kit bill
In the Georgia Capitol, even the brightest of ideas can die a humiliating death simply because it’s sponsored by a Democrat. But the PASSAGE OF THE RAPE-KIT BILL proves that’s not always the case. Early in this legislative session, state Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, introduced a bill that wouldmore...
In the Georgia Capitol, even the brightest of ideas can die a humiliating death simply because it’s sponsored by a Democrat. But the PASSAGE OF THE RAPE-KIT BILL proves that’s not always the case. Early in this legislative session, state Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, introduced a bill that would require law enforcement to pick up rape kits from hospitals within 96 hours. No-brainer, right? State Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, who chairs the upper chamber’s Health and Human Services Committee, blocked the bill, saying the system to process rape kits wasn’t broken (it was — an AJC investigation found more than 1,400 kits at Grady Memorial Hospital had been left on the shelf). Republican and Democratic lawmakers and advocates added the language to another bill and navigated the measure past Untermann. In the final minutes of the session, House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, brought the new bill up for a final vote. Standing at the lectern was an exhausted and exasperated Holcomb, who bluntly told lawmakers they knew what was up for consideration. It passed. Holcomb earned a standing ovation for his hard work. less...

Best thorn in the mayor’s side

Bill Torpy
We smiled when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tapped longtime reporter BILL TORPY to fill its much-needed metro columnist position a few years ago. And we giggled with delight when, after finding his rhythm, Torpy pointed his prose toward Mayor Kasim Reed. Since picking up the pen, he’s delved intomore...
We smiled when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tapped longtime reporter BILL TORPY to fill its much-needed metro columnist position a few years ago. And we giggled with delight when, after finding his rhythm, Torpy pointed his prose toward Mayor Kasim Reed. Since picking up the pen, he’s delved into the city shortchanging firefighters of deserved pay raises, the dysfunctional Downtown streetcar, the abrupt and quizzical firing of the airport’s general manager, and the potential closing of the city’s largest homeless shelter, among other topics. Nearly each column has been met with a blistering press release from the office of the charismatic yet thin-skinned politician. Torpy, who in his past life was a Chicago boxer, has not backed down, opting to continue the jousting on Twitter. It’s worth noting that Hizzoner, himself a boxing fan, has not yet blocked the columnist on Twitter. Maybe he likes the sparring partner. www.ajc.com/staff/bill-torpy. less...

Best warrior in fight against HIV/AIDS

Dr. David Holland
Fulton County has HIV and AIDS infection rates of epidemic proportions, especially among young black men. The reasons for this crisis are rooted in stigma, lack of access to health care, and poverty, among other factors. In a Downtown clinic, DR. DAVID HOLLAND, one of Fulton’s top public health officers,more...
Fulton County has HIV and AIDS infection rates of epidemic proportions, especially among young black men. The reasons for this crisis are rooted in stigma, lack of access to health care, and poverty, among other factors. In a Downtown clinic, DR. DAVID HOLLAND, one of Fulton’s top public health officers, is taking steps to address the crisis by putting up a defense against the virus’ spread. The clinic across the street from Grady Memorial Hospital, part of Fulton County’s forward-looking HIV/AIDS Task Force, offers pre-exposure prophylaxis, aka PrEP, in the form of Truvada, a pill that can drastically reduce the chance of HIV infection when taken properly. The clinic is aimed at high-risk individuals, particularly young men who have sex with men. The drug is available free — helpful in a place where many lack health insurance. www.fultoncountyga.gov/hivaids. less...

Best 30-ish-mile bike ride for novice pedalers in metro Atlanta

The Silver Comet between Dallas and Rockmart
If you love biking long distances but have yet to channel your inner road warrior, sometimes a flat paved path is a gift from heaven. You can find that on THE SILVER COMET BETWEEN DALLAS AND ROCKMART. The 15-mile route follows an old railroad corridor along a ridge and through blasted rock and is relativelymore...
If you love biking long distances but have yet to channel your inner road warrior, sometimes a flat paved path is a gift from heaven. You can find that on THE SILVER COMET BETWEEN DALLAS AND ROCKMART. The 15-mile route follows an old railroad corridor along a ridge and through blasted rock and is relatively flat, straight, and completely rustic. Strap your bikes to your car, pack your gear (there are no water fountains along the route), and head 45 minutes to Dallas, Georgia. Park at the Rambo Road Trailhead (or at the Tara Drummond Trailhead lot, if you want bathrooms and water fountains), hop on the trail heading west, and keep pedaling. Along the way, you’ll travel over the 126-foot-high Pumpkinvine Trestle, wind through woods filled with turkeys, turtles, and deer, and pass through an 800-foot-long old railroad tunnel. Pedal past Coot’s Lake to Rockmart, where you can grab some ice cream, or walk around the small city’s Downtown. Stretch, fill up your water, and then pedal back. www.silvercometga.com. less...

Best biblio-building boosters

Friends of the Central Atlanta Library
It’s no mystery that Downtown’s Central Atlanta Library is long overdue for a renovation. The boxy Brutalist building that opened in 1980 has broken elevators, dysfunctional doors, and spotty cell service. Some elected officials had proposed bulldozing the Marcel Breuer-designed building and startingmore...
It’s no mystery that Downtown’s Central Atlanta Library is long overdue for a renovation. The boxy Brutalist building that opened in 1980 has broken elevators, dysfunctional doors, and spotty cell service. Some elected officials had proposed bulldozing the Marcel Breuer-designed building and starting from scratch. But to FRIENDS OF THE CENTRAL ATLANTA LIBRARY, the architecturally significant building is not outdated, just unloved. The group turned discussion away from spending tens of millions of dollars on building a subpar replacement and argued why the library needs a makeover. (If only FOCAL were around when the original Carnegie library, which once stood where Central is located today, was torn down.) Despite pressure from heavy-hitters, FOCAL won the hearts and minds of elected officials and  reminded residents of the asset. The victory sent a signal to the powers that be: Don’t keep knocking down things we can’t replace. www.facebook.com/focalpage. less...

Best place to buy a starter home and contribute to a community

Capitol View
If you want to stick around the City of Atlanta for a while, crave the house and picket fence, and don’t want to pay an ungodly mortgage, consider CAPITOL VIEW. Located along the Atlanta Beltline’s Westside Trail, some sections of the neighborhood offer historic bungalows — some of which won’tmore...
If you want to stick around the City of Atlanta for a while, crave the house and picket fence, and don’t want to pay an ungodly mortgage, consider CAPITOL VIEW. Located along the Atlanta Beltline’s Westside Trail, some sections of the neighborhood offer historic bungalows — some of which won’t need extensive renovations — in the mid-$100,000 range. The community is bordered by Metropolitan Parkway and Murphy Avenue with easy access to Highway 166 and I-85 and is near MARTA rail. Homes that sat boarded up are being renovated — or are available for a DIY renovation — and being marketed at relatively affordable prices (for now). www.capitolview.org. less...

Best sloppy wet kiss from the state

Sales tax to pay for transit expansion
Atlanta’s biggest obstacle is arguably the state of Georgia. If the city wants to try something progressive — say, levying a SALES TAX TO PAY FOR TRANSIT EXPANSION — oftentimes it must first ask permission from the GOP-controlled Gold Dome. It appeared this year that Fulton and DeKalb counties,more...
Atlanta’s biggest obstacle is arguably the state of Georgia. If the city wants to try something progressive — say, levying a SALES TAX TO PAY FOR TRANSIT EXPANSION — oftentimes it must first ask permission from the GOP-controlled Gold Dome. It appeared this year that Fulton and DeKalb counties, plus the city, would get a chance to ask voters to tax themselves to build more transit options. North Fulton mayors started bellyaching about needing more cash for roads than rail and the measure died. Thanks to House Majority Leader Jan Jones, a Milton Republican (!), a compromise was brokered allowing Atlanta to seek a half-percent sales tax to fund at least $2.5 billion for new rail and buses inside the city — and just the city. Sure, there still isn’t any meaningful statewide transit funding. And asking residents to carry the burden — like we’ve done for the sewer system overhaul, which the state was also expected to assist — can be a bittersweet gift. But we can’t get out of our car-oriented hellscape without the Gold Dome. less...

Best urban evangelist

Eric Kronberg
To make Atlanta the walkable transit-connected city everyone says they want, it’s gonna take more than just new buildings here and a bike lane there. True change will require tweaking policies that have helped make Atlanta a disconnected mess. From a gorgeously rehabbed church in Reynoldstown, a bushymore...
To make Atlanta the walkable transit-connected city everyone says they want, it’s gonna take more than just new buildings here and a bike lane there. True change will require tweaking policies that have helped make Atlanta a disconnected mess. From a gorgeously rehabbed church in Reynoldstown, a bushy bearded architect is spreading the gospel. Sought-after architect and urban thinker ERIC KRONBERG takes the warm fuzzy platitudes you hear about urbanism and, using his skills and words, brings them to life — or just eloquently states where Atlanta’s falling behind. High on Kronberg’s list of enemies is Atlanta’s glut of parking, which goes hand in hand with walkability, affordability, and transit ridership. Through public meetings, blog posts, and community sit-downs, Kronberg and his allies show people how parking really works, as well as its negative impacts. He and his firm Kronberg Wall have produced stellar buildings, including rebuilding homes in New Orleans, mixed-use properties, and the design of Inman Park restaurant Folk Art. They brainstorm ways warehouses and old industrial properties along the Atlanta Beltline’s Westside Trail could come to life. To the architect who thinks bigger than the space he is designing, we salute you. www.kronbergwall.com. less...

Best decision by a sports team that hasn’t played single game

Atlanta United FC’s youth academy
Earlier this year, some metro Atlanta teenagers who had participated in tryouts for ATLANTA UNITED FC’S YOUTH ACADEMY heard a knock on their doors. When they opened they discovered a small package on their doorstep. Inside was a jersey and an invitation to join the Major League Soccer team’s leaguemore...
Earlier this year, some metro Atlanta teenagers who had participated in tryouts for ATLANTA UNITED FC’S YOUTH ACADEMY heard a knock on their doors. When they opened they discovered a small package on their doorstep. Inside was a jersey and an invitation to join the Major League Soccer team’s league aimed at growing and grooming talented players at its under-construction Marietta facility on Franklin Road. For the young men, it was a fitting welcome to an incredible opportunity to improve their skills at a facility that will benefit the metro region’s soccer community. The academy is no after-school clinic for kids with good dribbling skills. It’s a multimillion-dollar training ground led by former Liverpool director Richard Money that could groom hometown talent for future spots on the pro team — they will sometimes train alongside the pros — and create stars that will always have a link to the city. www.atlutd.com. less...

Best foe of the death penalty

Stephen Bright
For lawyer STEPHEN BRIGHT, May 23, 2016, was a sound victory in a long career spent fighting for the legal defense of people on death row. Bright had argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that his client, Timothy Tyrone Foster, a black intellectually limited man convicted of the 1987 killing of a 79-year-oldmore...
For lawyer STEPHEN BRIGHT, May 23, 2016, was a sound victory in a long career spent fighting for the legal defense of people on death row. Bright had argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that his client, Timothy Tyrone Foster, a black intellectually limited man convicted of the 1987 killing of a 79-year-old white woman and sentenced to death, didn’t get a fair trial. Bright was armed with newly discovered notes showing the local prosecutor kicked black people out of the potential jury pool because of their race. It was the quintessential unfair trail. Justices agreed and Foster was granted a new trial — and Bright’s record before the highest court in the land became 3-0. His influence is large as an attorney, an author, a professor — he’s taught at Yale University for decades — and a longtime leader of the Southern Center for Human Rights. Because of Bright, and the attorneys he’s helped lead, arguments against racial bias in prosecutions and for fair indigent defense are louder across the South. Not bad for a former trial lawyer who, concerned over the lack of legal resources available to people facing state-sponsored execution, moved to Atlanta decades ago with nothing to his name but a car donated by a homeless shelter. www.schr.org. less...

Best guide to a more livable Atlanta

Tim Keane
It can take years to see the fruits of city planning. But in the year-plus since TIM KEANE came on as Atlanta Planning Commissioner, he’s not only been saying the right things, he’s starting to do them as well. Keane has brought planning to the people with a pop-up studio at Ponce City Market (itmore...
It can take years to see the fruits of city planning. But in the year-plus since TIM KEANE came on as Atlanta Planning Commissioner, he’s not only been saying the right things, he’s starting to do them as well. Keane has brought planning to the people with a pop-up studio at Ponce City Market (it will launch in other locations after several months) and started cracking open the zoning code for some long-overdue review and repair. The North Carolina native is aiming high, envisioning an Atlanta with 1 million additional people that’s denser, with more well-designed buildings, and public spaces where people can gather — all while protecting historic neighborhoods and a lush tree canopy. At the same time, he’s started reforming a vital city department that goes largely unnoticed by people who have never walked through its doors: the Office of Buildings. The City Hall department that issues building permits — affecting everything from putting up a fence to constructing a high-rise on time — has long been the poster child for dysfunction and, in some instances, corruption. Keane has injected some much-needed urgency and customer service in the office and created an express division. And he’s shown residents that someone at City Hall cares about Atlanta becoming a better city. www.atlantaga.gov. less...

Best neighborhood to have it all

Little Five Points
Pharmacy? Yep. Grocery store? Yes, and an organic one at that. Bars. Lots. A psychologist to talk about your feelings? Yeah, and in the same building as a dentist. Good neighborhoods have life’s daily needs in close proximity and are easy to walk around. LITTLE FIVE POINTS has all that, plus a strongmore...
Pharmacy? Yep. Grocery store? Yes, and an organic one at that. Bars. Lots. A psychologist to talk about your feelings? Yeah, and in the same building as a dentist. Good neighborhoods have life’s daily needs in close proximity and are easy to walk around. LITTLE FIVE POINTS has all that, plus a strong dose of genuine Atlanta grit. Thanks to a grant from ArtPlace America, there’s now performance art in the streets. MARTA’s a 10-minute walk away, bumping it even higher in the rankings for a well-rounded neighborhood. www.littlefivepoints.net. less...

Best speed demon

Candace Hill
Last year CANDACE HILL, then a rising senior at Rockdale County High School, broke the world record to become the world’s fastest girl, running a 100-meter sprint in 10.98 seconds. And while most teenagers are still learning how to drive, Hill is deciding which shoe company would be her best sponsor.more...
Last year CANDACE HILL, then a rising senior at Rockdale County High School, broke the world record to become the world’s fastest girl, running a 100-meter sprint in 10.98 seconds. And while most teenagers are still learning how to drive, Hill is deciding which shoe company would be her best sponsor. (She inked a 10-year deal with ASICS, turning pro and skipping college athletics.) The scholar athlete failed to place for the Summer Olympics in Brazil. But she took defeat and found a lesson, telling FloTrack: “You’re 17. You don’t have to compare yourself to others, because you’re a different age from them and even though you didn’t get the results you wanted, just keep your head held high.” www.twitter.com/candacedasav. less...

Best sports executive hire

Lisa Borders
When the WNBA needed to find a new president for the 20-year-old pro-basketball league, it made sense to tap LISA BORDERS. If the WNBA was looking for a leader with a contact list long enough to help boost its profile, they found her in the former Atlanta development executive, Atlanta City Council president,more...
When the WNBA needed to find a new president for the 20-year-old pro-basketball league, it made sense to tap LISA BORDERS. If the WNBA was looking for a leader with a contact list long enough to help boost its profile, they found her in the former Atlanta development executive, Atlanta City Council president, and philanthropic leader. The Atlanta native is a die-hard superfan who not only attends nearly every Dream game, but who also helped bring the WNBA team to the city. dream.wnba.com. less...

Best college

Georgia Institute of Technology Georgia Institute of Technology

Best local sports radio show

“Dukes & Bell” 92.9 (WZGC-FM)
atlanta.cbslocal.com/show/dukes-bell

Best OTP park

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Best rock radio station

105.7 (WRDA-FM)
radio1057.iheart.com

Best street

Peachtree Street

Best street character

Baton Bob
batonbob.weebly.com

Best place to work remotely

Octane Coffee Octane Coffee
And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best child care center

Primrose School Primrose School of Midtown
And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best city view

Jackson Street Bridge

Best high school

Henry W. Grady High School Henry W. Grady High School

Best MARTA station

Decatur MARTA Station

Best new local startup

TIE: Vesta Movement AND Urban Tree Cidery

Vesta Movement, 744 Ponce de Leon Ave. N.E. 404-281-1121. www.vastaatl.com.

Urban Tree Cidery, 1465 Howell Mill Road N.W. 404-855-5546. www.urbantreecidery.com.

Best country radio station

94.9 the Bull (WUBL-FM)
949thebull.iheart.com

Best free annual event

Atlanta Dogwood Festival

Best local celebrity

Baton Bob
batonbob.weebly.com

Best local hero

John Lewis
johnlewis.house.gov

Best person you hate to love

TIE: Kasim Reed AND Nathan Deal

www.kasimreed.com[http://www.kasimreed.com|]

AND

gov.georgia.gov

Best playground

Historic Fourth Ward Park Historic Fourth Ward Park

Best bike lane

10th Street

Best bus route

Route: 110 Peachtree St./”The Peach”
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Best (and most unlikely) comeback

Jeff Francoeur’s call up from the minor leagues
Many people had thought Atlanta Braves outfielder JEFF FRANCOEUR’S CALL-UP FROM THE MINOR LEAGUES was either a publicity stunt or a really expensive act of kindness by the down-on-its-luck Bravos. But the Parkview High School graduate surprised fans by matching his career batting average and othermore...
Many people had thought Atlanta Braves outfielder JEFF FRANCOEUR’S CALL-UP FROM THE MINOR LEAGUES was either a publicity stunt or a really expensive act of kindness by the down-on-its-luck Bravos. But the Parkview High School graduate surprised fans by matching his career batting average and other impressive stats (at one point, the former SI cover boy had a team-high batting average). The summer before he was considering retirement after enduring a stint at a triple-A club in El Paso. But he had a good run — until the Braves, being the Braves, traded him. atlanta.braves.mlb.com. less...

Best bizarro news story

Young Thug rode a horse around
Young Thug has proudly embodied many entities. The rapper has masqueraded as a therapist, a Martian, a fashion icon. All those facets of Thugga’s identity may be true, yet the entire city of Atlanta (and the whole Twitterscape) scratched their proverbial heads when he added equestrian to that list.more...
Young Thug has proudly embodied many entities. The rapper has masqueraded as a therapist, a Martian, a fashion icon. All those facets of Thugga’s identity may be true, yet the entire city of Atlanta (and the whole Twitterscape) scratched their proverbial heads when he added equestrian to that list. In March, YOUNG THUG RODE A HORSE AROUND to announce the tour supporting his album Hy!£UN35. The mini equine-based tour to announce the larger one cruised around Poncey-Highland before stopping to mug beneath Plaza Theatre’s marquee, which displayed the tour details. The resulting photograph featured Young Thug, clad in tight white pants, beaming like a kid on a sugar high. Was the curious publicity tactic inspired by cosmic sway? A lean-fueled fever dream? We’ll likely never know, but then again, some mysteries are better left unsolved, and perhaps Thugga’s horsing around should be counted among them. twitter.com/youngthug. less...

Best college

Georgia Institute of Technology Georgia Institute of Technology

Best free thing to do

Atlanta Streets Alive
Every couple months, men, women, and children reclaim the streets with bicycles, in-line skates, unicycles, or just their feet, and enjoy the freedom of the open road without any cars during ATLANTA STREETS ALIVE. A brainchild of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, visitors bike, skate, sprint, dance, skip,more...
Every couple months, men, women, and children reclaim the streets with bicycles, in-line skates, unicycles, or just their feet, and enjoy the freedom of the open road without any cars during ATLANTA STREETS ALIVE. A brainchild of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, visitors bike, skate, sprint, dance, skip, spin, hula-hoop, cartwheel, lag, or move in any shape, way, or form they please for exercise or just to reconnect with their communities. Businesses set up things like hula-hoop contests or field day events; restaurants adorn the streets with outdoor seating areas. The April event showed how easy it is to get around the city when you don’t have steel beasts breathing down your neck. With a vibrantly colored sea of bodies, helmets, high-fives, and bouncy music, the event celebrated cultures — free of traffic and free of price. www.atlantastreetsalive.com. less...

Best light show

Atlanta Beltline Lantern Parade
In a few short years, the ATLANTA BELTLINE LANTERN PARADE went from a small idea by local artist Chantelle Rytter to the city’s brightest and most beautiful gathering of residents. On one evening in September, artists cobble together 20-foot-tall illuminated skeletons and children piece together makeshiftmore...
In a few short years, the ATLANTA BELTLINE LANTERN PARADE went from a small idea by local artist Chantelle Rytter to the city’s brightest and most beautiful gathering of residents. On one evening in September, artists cobble together 20-foot-tall illuminated skeletons and children piece together makeshift glowing boxes. The crowd lines up, starts to walk, and takes ownership of the Eastside Trail for roughly two miles. Atlantans and visitors, along with some teens on hallucinogens, stand alongside or post up on porches and take in the parade that proceeds to the soundtrack of the Seed and Feed Marching Abominable. In a city that tends to overplan and commercialize its events, the lantern parade is a nice reprieve. www.atlantabeltline.org. less...

Best local sports radio show

“Dukes & Bell” 92.9 (WZGC-FM)
atlanta.cbslocal.com/show/dukes-bell

Best OTP park

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Best rock radio station

105.7 (WRDA-FM)
radio1057.iheart.com

Best secret stash of Victorian architecture

West End
Yes, WEST END has won awards from Curbed and Redfin proclaiming it Atlanta’s coolest community. But it’s not the first time the neighborhood has been fashionable. The neighborhood that began in the 1830s as a small village and pub called the White Hall Tavern became its own city in the 1860s. Developersmore...
Yes, WEST END has won awards from Curbed and Redfin proclaiming it Atlanta’s coolest community. But it’s not the first time the neighborhood has been fashionable. The neighborhood that began in the 1830s as a small village and pub called the White Hall Tavern became its own city in the 1860s. Developers over the years built housing ranging from bungalows to gorgeous Victorian mansions — grand homes that, thanks to dedicated longtime residents and new arrivals unafraid to swing a hammer, can be seen in their gabled glory along Peeples Street, Oglethorpe Avenue, and other thoroughfares. Every year, a few well-preserved survivals from those days open up for the neighborhood’s tour of homes. Wren’s Nest is the most famous but it’s got plenty of lovely companions well worth a visit. www.atlantawestend.com. less...

Best street

Peachtree Street

Best street character

Baton Bob
batonbob.weebly.com

Best place to work remotely

Octane Coffee Octane Coffee
And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best workaround to injustice

Freedom University
In 2011, the Georgia Board of Regents approved a policy that prohibits undocumented immigrants from receiving in-state tuition and from attending the state’s top universities. The move shut out thousands of young Georgians from receiving a higher education, despite President Barack Obama’s executivemore...
In 2011, the Georgia Board of Regents approved a policy that prohibits undocumented immigrants from receiving in-state tuition and from attending the state’s top universities. The move shut out thousands of young Georgians from receiving a higher education, despite President Barack Obama’s executive order that protected from deportation people who were brought to the U.S. as children. Enter FREEDOM UNIVERSITY. Founded by four Georgia professors and run entirely on donations, the school aims to provide the same quality education the students would receive at state schools — free. The nonprofit also tries to help the young people apply for college located in states that allow undocumented students and advocates to change policies. In a perfect world, says Executive Director Laura Emiko Soltis, there would be no need to have “underground schools.” Until Georgia gets there, Freedom U continues. www.freedomuniversitygeorgia.com. less...

Best youth mentor

Shawn Deangelo Walton
Sometimes the best thing someone can do for young people is be present in their lives. In West End, SHAWN DEANGELO WALTON is filling that role. After graduating from Morehouse College with a degree in childhood development, the metro Atlanta native settled in Atlanta’s westside and founded WeCyclemore...
Sometimes the best thing someone can do for young people is be present in their lives. In West End, SHAWN DEANGELO WALTON is filling that role. After graduating from Morehouse College with a degree in childhood development, the metro Atlanta native settled in Atlanta’s westside and founded WeCycle Atlanta, a nonprofit that teaches young children about sustainability through urban agriculture and bicycling. He has taught them how to build small businesses, stay active, and, occasionally, stay straight when he’s found them avoiding school. Much like Bearings Bike Shop in Adair Park, Walton helps kids earn bicycles through doing good deeds. This past summer he started mentoring children, teaching them how to start lawn-mowing services, and sell items such as incense. Walton placed a $1 bounty on real-estate investors’ numerous (and illegal) signs on utility poles aimed at hoodwinking desperate people to sell their houses for less than they’re worth. And when a child expressed interest in learning about the police department, Walton was able to secure a sit-down with a local officer, who also donated tennis racquets for the youth, helping to build ties between community and law enforcement. www.wecycleatlanta.org. less...

Best child care center

Primrose School Primrose School of Midtown
And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best city view

Jackson Street Bridge

Best corner store success story

Carver Neighborhood Market Carver Neighborhood Market
Along McDonough Boulevard and Jonesboro Road in south Atlanta, businesses tend to be fenced-off industrial operations and shops pushing lottery tickets or cigarettes. That’s why the year-old CARVER NEIGHBORHOOD MARKET is right when it calls itself an “oasis.” In a neighborhood that lacks placesmore...
Along McDonough Boulevard and Jonesboro Road in south Atlanta, businesses tend to be fenced-off industrial operations and shops pushing lottery tickets or cigarettes. That’s why the year-old CARVER NEIGHBORHOOD MARKET is right when it calls itself an “oasis.” In a neighborhood that lacks places to buy good food, the former thrift shop is an asparagus-to-zucchini grocery store that shares space with the Community Grounds Coffee Shop. Some of the groceries are local, and that’s as intentional as the healthy fresh inventory, the site’s inviting sunlit design, and the store’s new bike-delivery option for nearby residents. It’s the kind of place that would bring any neighborhood together, and that many places like south Atlanta sorely need. www.carvermarket.com. less...

Best critique on the urban bourgeois

“Honey, now we’re urban”
If Rip Van Winkle passed out 30 years ago behind the Clermont Hotel and woke up this week, he’d likely have a heart attack upon seeing Ponce de Leon Avenue. He might find comfort in artist Chris Veal’s “HONEY, NOW WE’RE URBAN” mural along the wall of the former Marco’s Pita (and previousmore...
If Rip Van Winkle passed out 30 years ago behind the Clermont Hotel and woke up this week, he’d likely have a heart attack upon seeing Ponce de Leon Avenue. He might find comfort in artist Chris Veal’s “HONEY, NOW WE’RE URBAN” mural along the wall of the former Marco’s Pita (and previous home to the legendary Tortillas). Veal says the idea of the wealthy couple in the mural came to him with the “changing of faces in the area.” He said images such as “people leaving Ponce City Market then get upset they have to walk by the day laborers on Ponce” served as his inspiration for the project. We talk all the time about how the city is changing, and what is gained and lost. Sometimes we need a multicolored hit in the face. www.instagram.com/caveal. less...

Best high school

Henry W. Grady High School Henry W. Grady High School

Best MARTA station

Decatur MARTA Station

Best neighborhood for the arts

Downtown
Old Fourth Ward has murals. Midtown has the High Museum’s ever-changing interactive pieces, including the popular Trompos, the quirky spinning rock/booger on the corner of Peachtree and 10th streets, and the often-overlooked Noguchi Playscape at Piedmont Park. But DOWNTOWN has South Broad Street’smore...
Old Fourth Ward has murals. Midtown has the High Museum’s ever-changing interactive pieces, including the popular Trompos, the quirky spinning rock/booger on the corner of Peachtree and 10th streets, and the often-overlooked Noguchi Playscape at Piedmont Park. But DOWNTOWN has South Broad Street’s vibrant upstart arts scene, the orphaned sculptures from the 1996 Summer Olympics, Elevate, Eyedrum, the Rialto, and some of Living Walls’ more daring murals. www.downtownatlanta.com. less...

Best new local startup

TIE: Vesta Movement AND Urban Tree Cidery

Vesta Movement, 744 Ponce de Leon Ave. N.E. 404-281-1121. www.vastaatl.com.

Urban Tree Cidery, 1465 Howell Mill Road N.W. 404-855-5546. www.urbantreecidery.com.

Best next big development opportunity

Murphy Triangle
To live up to Ryan Gravel’s vision, the Atlanta Beltline’s Westside Trail between Washington Park and Adair Park will need to have retail, restaurants, and offices — places where southwest Atlanta residents can go. Underused warehouses along White Street can provide some of that space, but nothingmore...
To live up to Ryan Gravel’s vision, the Atlanta Beltline’s Westside Trail between Washington Park and Adair Park will need to have retail, restaurants, and offices — places where southwest Atlanta residents can go. Underused warehouses along White Street can provide some of that space, but nothing quite compares to the potential of MURPHY TRIANGLE, a sprawling collection of industrial properties, most of which still have that lived-in quality that’s become increasingly rare in Atlanta. From the nearly 17-acre former State Farmers Market to the humdrum box factory and other warehouses, this area could one day become a smartly adapted mini-city unto itself. Throw in the so-big-you’ll-get-lost Lifecycle Building Center and you get a sizable helping of a green business in intown Atlanta. Just hope planners chart out the best path and developers have the foresight to make the most of existing buildings. less...

Best country radio station

94.9 the Bull (WUBL-FM)
949thebull.iheart.com

Best eco advocate to take a bow

Dennis Creech
DENNIS CREECH has been an evangelist for being smart about energy since the ’70s, when he had to explain to people what he meant when he said he was studying “ecology.” He’s retiring this year from the helm of Southface, a nonprofit that finds and promotes ways to save money and protect the environmentmore...
DENNIS CREECH has been an evangelist for being smart about energy since the ’70s, when he had to explain to people what he meant when he said he was studying “ecology.” He’s retiring this year from the helm of Southface, a nonprofit that finds and promotes ways to save money and protect the environment through better building. So when Atlantans take it for granted that they can buy sustainable building materials, find a solar electrician, or get help planning an efficient building, it’s in large part due to years of efforts from Creech and Southface to make energy efficiency mainstream. www.southface.org. less...

Best free annual event

Atlanta Dogwood Festival

Best housing hero

Dan Immergluck
For all the ATLiens grumbling that the rent is too damn high or that blight is dragging down their neighborhoods, DAN IMMERGLUCK will make for some affirmative reading. The Georgia Tech professor, who noted the Atlanta Beltline was driving up land costs in 2007 before it was cool, has found that in moremore...
For all the ATLiens grumbling that the rent is too damn high or that blight is dragging down their neighborhoods, DAN IMMERGLUCK will make for some affirmative reading. The Georgia Tech professor, who noted the Atlanta Beltline was driving up land costs in 2007 before it was cool, has found that in more than half of Atlanta’s census tracts, low-cost housing choices have declined measurably. He’s estimated the cost of blight: somewhere between $2.6 million and $6 million annually in city services alone, and more in lost value to neighboring houses. Activists read his work, and he’s got the ear of some in City Hall, too. His past work on the national foreclosure crisis caught the eye of the Federal Reserve, and his research has helped put Atlanta’s increasing unaffordability in the spotlight. You can’t solve the problem if you don’t have good data. Thank God we’ve got Immergluck running numbers. www.planning.gatech.edu/people/dan-immergluck. less...

Best local celebrity

Baton Bob
batonbob.weebly.com

Best local hero

John Lewis
johnlewis.house.gov

Trophy Case

Manuel’s Tavern Manuel's Tavern
The news that MANUEL’S TAVERN would shut its doors to undergo an overhaul didn’t just scare regulars who feared losing that familiar smoky smell. It also meant enduring the 2016 presidential primaries somewhere other than the Poncey-Highland haunt. But when the pub reopened its doors in early August,more...
The news that MANUEL’S TAVERN would shut its doors to undergo an overhaul didn’t just scare regulars who feared losing that familiar smoky smell. It also meant enduring the 2016 presidential primaries somewhere other than the Poncey-Highland haunt. But when the pub reopened its doors in early August, the crowds made clear that old habits die hard. The familiar political operatives, journalists, and politicians can once again be found with beer glasses in hand. The TVs are back up on the walls. Come November, the screens will broadcast election returns to (mostly) Democrats sitting at the same sticky tables surrounded by the same political memorabilia. You can’t renovate the spirit out of the place. less...

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