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    Best Contribution to Atlanta's Urban Design

    BestofWinnerMast
    Creative Loafing has been presenting Atlanta's Best People, Places and Events since 1972. These are some of the past winners for this category:

    Best critique on the urban bourgeois BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2016
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    "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 next big development opportunity BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2016
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    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 BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2016
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    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 BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2016
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    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 way to give gentrification the finger BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2016
    Type of Award » After Dark
    Picked By » Critics
    Wrecking Bar Brewpub (Featured)
    New development continued displacing Atlanta’s cherished cultural institutions in 2016. None, however, received such a raucous send-off as the Masquerade thanks to WRECKING BALL ATL. The venue’s decades-long tenure as a staple for Atlanta nightlife came to a close with a two-day punk, hardcore, andmore...
    New development continued displacing Atlanta’s cherished cultural institutions in 2016. None, however, received such a raucous send-off as the Masquerade thanks to WRECKING BALL ATL. The venue’s decades-long tenure as a staple for Atlanta nightlife came to a close with a two-day punk, hardcore, and emo blowout that brought everyone from Gorilla Biscuits to the Julie Ruin to the Masquerade and Historic Fourth Ward Park. Music lovers young and old bonded over the role the Masquerade’s Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory rooms have played in their lives. The vibe was warm, the sun was hot, and the music was loud. But the festival symbolized the closing of one chapter and the opening of another for Atlanta music, with Atlantans coming out in full force to raise a drink to the Masquerade’s legacy and a middle finger at the looming luxury apartments moving in. www.masq.com. www.wreckingballatl.com. less...

    Best guide to a more livable Atlanta BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2016
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    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 purchase near the Beltline BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2015
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    Adair Park

    Best Old Thing in Atlanta BOA Award Winner

    Fox Theatre (Featured)
    More than 40 years ago we almost lost the Fox Theatre. But the community rallied with the"Save the Fox" campaign. That experience showed that Atlantans have the capacity to support the institutions they've grown up with and love. Today the Midtown theater is host to more than 250 shows and a half-millionmore...
    More than 40 years ago we almost lost the Fox Theatre. But the community rallied with the"Save the Fox" campaign. That experience showed that Atlantans have the capacity to support the institutions they've grown up with and love. Today the Midtown theater is host to more than 250 shows and a half-million visitors a year who enjoy original programming such as the Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival. The Fox's success is unsurprising when you stop to think about the diversity of talent that's performed under that twinkling ceiling and in front of those 4,000-plus seats. There's also the Fox Theatre Institute, which has a mission to restore and rebuild historic theaters across the state. From Broadway stars and OutKast to local families and city employees, everyone has a Fox Theatre story. less...

    Best use of billboards BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2015
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    MailChimp

    Best creative use of a future food hall BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2015
    Type of Award » Poets, Artists & Madmen
    Picked By » Critics
    Up Right: Atlanta

    Best vision for Atlanta's west side BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2013
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    Northside Drive Corridor Study
    Walk along Northside Drive and you'll pass auto shops, stores set far back from the street, and traffic congestion. Try to cross the busy north-south thoroughfare and you better have a will. Georgia Tech professor Mike Dobbins and a group of his students have set out to overhaul what's essentially anmore...
    Walk along Northside Drive and you'll pass auto shops, stores set far back from the street, and traffic congestion. Try to cross the busy north-south thoroughfare and you better have a will. Georgia Tech professor Mike Dobbins and a group of his students have set out to overhaul what's essentially an intown highway. Over the course of a year, the former Atlanta planning commissioner and his pupils brainstormed and created the Northside Drive Corridor Study, a beautiful vision of transit, mixed-use development, and walkable environments that could improve Northside Drive. Among the proposals: starting bus rapid transit, turning the reservoir along Howell Mill Road into a park, and promoting dense, mixed-income developments. The analysis was timely - both a new Atlanta Falcons stadium and possible Amtrak and Greyhound stations are being considered along the road, which could mean major changes in the years to come. Heavy-hitters such as Central Atlanta Progress, the Midtown Alliance, City Hall, and Georgia Department of Transportation sponsored the study, so it's likely it will have some strong advocates when upgrades are considered. www.northsidedrvision.gatech.edu. less...

    Best step to becoming a smarter city BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2013
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    Govathon
    In February, City Hall officials brainstormed with programmers, data junkies, and other tech-minded geeks during Govathon, the first-ever citywide hackathon. Held inside City Hall's Old Council Chambers, city officials pitched citizens eager to improve Atlanta on projects and programs their underfundedmore...
    In February, City Hall officials brainstormed with programmers, data junkies, and other tech-minded geeks during Govathon, the first-ever citywide hackathon. Held inside City Hall's Old Council Chambers, city officials pitched citizens eager to improve Atlanta on projects and programs their underfunded departments need. After working together for the better part of 24 hours, consuming countless pizza slices and cups of coffee, teams emerged with proposals for a series of promising Web programs and apps, many of which the city hopes to develop. The highlights include programs that generate online police reports, can search city park amenities or report vacant homes in blighted areas, and allow residents to rate Atlanta's customer service. Who said civic collaboration couldn't be fun? www.govathon.com. less...

    Best crime-fighting superhero BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2013
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    Crimson Fist
    It takes more than police officers to fight crime. That's where the Crimson Fist enters the picture. For the last seven years, the crimson-masked crusader dressed in spandex, cargo pants, and combat boots has patrolled and picked up litter in Castleberry Hill. Armed with a medical kit, plastic ties,more...
    It takes more than police officers to fight crime. That's where the Crimson Fist enters the picture. For the last seven years, the crimson-masked crusader dressed in spandex, cargo pants, and combat boots has patrolled and picked up litter in Castleberry Hill. Armed with a medical kit, plastic ties, and a device that sends electric shocks through his gloves, the Decatur native (who's occasionally joined by his wife, "Metadata") keeps watch over the historic neighborhood. Over the years, he's developed a fan base and even attracted a documentary crew. In addition to his crime-fighting work, he also works to gather clothing for the homeless and has even helped find tools for an English Avenue community garden. The enigmatic superhero has managed to keep his identity private - he says his parents don't know about his extracurricular activities - not to mention stay alive. Unlike the typical vigilante, he's quick to call police for backup. www.facebook.com/heroatl. less...

    Best step to make Atlanta more bikeable BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2013
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    $2.5 million to bicycle projects
    The Atlanta City Council made a wise move back in February when it dedicated $2.5 million to bicycle projects. The cash comes from unspent bond funding and the infrastructure upgrades, including bike lanes, are planned for Midtown, Old Fourth Ward, Castleberry Hill, and portions of southwest Atlanta.more...
    The Atlanta City Council made a wise move back in February when it dedicated $2.5 million to bicycle projects. The cash comes from unspent bond funding and the infrastructure upgrades, including bike lanes, are planned for Midtown, Old Fourth Ward, Castleberry Hill, and portions of southwest Atlanta. The funding would also create the city's first-ever "bike boulevard" along James P. Brawley Drive, connecting Atlanta University Center to nearby neighborhoods. Some projects, including a two-way "cycle track" on 10th Street, have already been built. Others, including bike lanes along Ponce de Leon Avenue and Juniper Street, are underway or scheduled to begin soon. Once complete, they'll be a major boon to the city's bicycling community. www.atlantabike.org/comingup. less...

    Best political move BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2012
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    Building Marta
    Yeah, yeah, we can hear the complaints. It doesn't go anywhere. It's dirty. It doesn't work. But before you bemoan life with MARTA, first imagine life without it. In the late 1960s, metro Atlanta snagged federal funding left on the table by Seattle voters after they decided not to create a transit system.more...
    Yeah, yeah, we can hear the complaints. It doesn't go anywhere. It's dirty. It doesn't work. But before you bemoan life with MARTA, first imagine life without it. In the late 1960s, metro Atlanta snagged federal funding left on the table by Seattle voters after they decided not to create a transit system. Racism and myopia caused the suburbs to say "No thanks" to the regional transit agency. And state lawmakers never showed much interest - but plenty of hostility. More than 40 years later, we have a system that connects the heart of the city to the world's busiest airport - a luxury that not all aviation hubs can claim - and a bus network that tries to link people in between its rail routes. Sadly, MARTA's a shell of what it could be and, should the state not step up and invest or give metro residents control of the system, will further atrophy. That's a shame. Were it not for MARTA, according to recent statistics, an estimated 185,000 additional cars would clog the region's roads. More than 60 percent of the city's hospitality employees, its largest industry, wouldn't make it to work. Nearly 50 percent of its straphangers have no other way to move around their world. Looking forward, which is something the state neglected to do when it thumbed its nose at what's considered one of the country's most efficient transit systems, we should be thankful for the foundation it's provided. Better yet, MARTA's helped Atlanta lay the groundwork to become more dense and the kind of walkable city that everyone - young and old - wants to call home. Not to mention provide us another way to move around when the next gas spike happens. It's a damn fine service, and the local leaders who fought hard to bring MARTA to life deserve a round of thanks. www.itsmarta.com. less...

    Best affordable housing news BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2012
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    Imperial Hotel
    Atlanta Beltline Inc. purchased and converted a Reynoldstown loft into affordable housing. And a developer plans to renovate a Section 8 tower located at Ponce de Leon and Highland avenues. But none compare to the Imperial Hotel. Since 1997, the majestic eight-story building located along Peachtree Streetmore...
    Atlanta Beltline Inc. purchased and converted a Reynoldstown loft into affordable housing. And a developer plans to renovate a Section 8 tower located at Ponce de Leon and Highland avenues. But none compare to the Imperial Hotel. Since 1997, the majestic eight-story building located along Peachtree Street in the heart of downtown Atlanta has provided an affordable place for low-income Atlantans and formerly homeless men and women to live. But in 2010, the historic building - Little Richard reportedly performed in the hotel's lounge - went into receivership and appeared to be in jeopardy. Rather than be converted into pricey condos by developers eager to charge a premium for the picturesque views, two affordable housing developers, working with the city and state, moved in to renovate the building and keep it affordable. Columbia Residential and National Church Residences plan to spend the next year - and millions of dollars - renovating the building's interior and exterior. Once complete, the overhauled building will feature larger units, space for care providers, and, if they wish to return, affordable homes for residents who were relocated during renovations. Thank God the building, which is located near transit and medical facilities, didn't turn into yet another expensive condo tower. less...

    Best effort to boost a community BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2012
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    Year of Boulevard
    For decades, the four-lane stretch of Boulevard between Ponce de Leon Avenue and Freedom Parkway has been synonymous with poverty and crime. Home to the highest concentration of Section 8 housing in the Southeast, the single-name street and its residents have missed out on the prosperity that's poppedmore...
    For decades, the four-lane stretch of Boulevard between Ponce de Leon Avenue and Freedom Parkway has been synonymous with poverty and crime. Home to the highest concentration of Section 8 housing in the Southeast, the single-name street and its residents have missed out on the prosperity that's popped up in neighboring communities. Rather than holding a ho-hum trash pick-up and letting the problems fester, this past January, Councilman Kwanza Hall and community members proclaimed 2012 the "Year of Boulevard." With the help of the city, neighbors, and local businesses, Boulevard welcomed a new police precinct and community events featuring health and social services, plus internships for young residents. TedX Atlanta, a forum for "ideas worth spreading," donated $50,000 to send area kids to summer camps. Think of it, as CL columnist Scott Henry did, as "urban renewal without the bulldozers" - with the community as a catalyst. The year's not over and fingers remain crossed that the owners of Bedford-Pines, one of the Section 8 complexes, might consider redeveloping the property. less...

    Best sign the Beltline is ready for movement BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2012
    Type of Award » Poets, Artists & Madmen
    Picked By » Critics
    Dance on the Beltline
    The streetcar isn't quite here yet, but dance on the Beltline certainly sparked our imagination about the potential for new movement in the city. In the last year, dancer/choreographer Helen Hale, with local arts organization Dashboard Co-op, hosted the abundant dance feast Anti-Manners; gloATL exploredmore...
    The streetcar isn't quite here yet, but dance on the Beltline certainly sparked our imagination about the potential for new movement in the city. In the last year, dancer/choreographer Helen Hale, with local arts organization Dashboard Co-op, hosted the abundant dance feast Anti-Manners; gloATL explored a sewer overflow facility in Float; the dancers of Crossover Movement Arts dressed as steampunk time-travelers and grooved to the improvisational jazz of the Zentropy ensemble; and Beacon Dance explored the element of earth as part of its Elemental Project. All of them got us ready to get moving, too. www.beltline.org. less...

    Best sign Atlanta's intown revival still has a pulse BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2012
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    A crane or two
    Scan the Midtown skyline and you'll see a crane or two. And if developers actually follow through on what they've pitched to neighborhood groups and journalists, they'll start popping up along Juniper Street. And on Ponce de Leon Avenue. And then who knows where else. These towering beasts, which formore...
    Scan the Midtown skyline and you'll see a crane or two. And if developers actually follow through on what they've pitched to neighborhood groups and journalists, they'll start popping up along Juniper Street. And on Ponce de Leon Avenue. And then who knows where else. These towering beasts, which for the last four years have been a rare sight in a metro region that for decades was about nothing but construction, have slowly been flowing back to Atlanta, into the dense urban core, where they should have been years ago. Unlike developers' previous fascination with condos, this go-round they're erecting apartments, where young people and empty nesters can snag a home high above Atlanta, overlooking a city that, one hopes, keeps growing steadily. If there wasn't a feeling that's the case, we wouldn't be seeing them. less...

    Best reuse of a demolished housing project BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2011
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    Wheat Street Gardens

    Best hope for Atlanta gridlock BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2010
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    Regional transportation tax

    Best answer to Atlanta's problems that's still decades away BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2009
    Picked By » Critics
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Beltline
    Regular CL readers know that we love us some BELTLINE. It's always Beltline this, Beltline that, Beltline cure for cancer, etc. There's just one hitch: It doesn't exactly exist yet - and won't for years to come. The city recently inked some land deals in the southwest quadrant, but half the Beltlinemore...
    Regular CL readers know that we love us some BELTLINE. It's always Beltline this, Beltline that, Beltline cure for cancer, etc. There's just one hitch: It doesn't exactly exist yet - and won't for years to come. The city recently inked some land deals in the southwest quadrant, but half the Beltline property has yet to be acquired and some of it is still being used for freight traffic. City poobahs say the Beltline will have full-on light-rail transit, but many skeptics believe it simply will be a greenway and bike path. And the financing proposals are more than a little shaky. So, what’s the Beltline ever done for us? Well, it gives us something to hope for and dream about - it gives us a reason to believe that, someday, Atlanta will be a better place.www.beltline.org. less...

    Best Old Thing About Atlanta Made New Again BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2007
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    Atlanta Beltline Inc (Featured)
    Just when it seemed Atlanta was as likely to issue free personal jet packs to every resident as it was to make progress on THE BELTLINE, the city worked behind the scenes to team with a group of private investors to buy the proposed 22-mile loop’s northeast quadrant from Gwinnett developer Waynemore...

    Just when it seemed Atlanta was as likely to issue free personal jet packs to every resident as it was to make progress on THE BELTLINE, the city worked behind the scenes to team with a group of private investors to buy the proposed 22-mile loop’s northeast quadrant from Gwinnett developer Wayne Mason, who tried but failed to get approval for two huge condo towers on the Beltline overlooking Piedmont Park. Few details are known, but it appears Atlanta will get its transit right-of-way and parks, developers will get to put swank homes and retail on some of the city’s most desirable land, and Mason will make an eight-figure profit just for sitting on the land for three years.


    www.beltline.org

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    Best Compromise With a Big Box BOA Award Winner

    Year » 2005
    Type of Award » Cityscape
    Picked By » Critics
    Underwood Hills Neighborhood Association
    It takes a tenacious neighborhood group to get Wal-Mart to listen. But UNDERWOOD HILLS NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION did just that, making sure the store’s developers heard residents’ concerns about the Wal-Mart superstore that will anchor a mixed-use project off Howell Mill Road near I-75more...

    It takes a tenacious neighborhood group to get Wal-Mart to listen. But UNDERWOOD HILLS NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION did just that, making sure the store’s developers heard residents’ concerns about the Wal-Mart superstore that will anchor a mixed-use project off Howell Mill Road near I-75 (formerly the site of the Tudor-style Castlegate Hotel). The association played an active role in the decision to build the store — and most of its parking — underground, reducing the big box eyesore. And although the association did run off a Home Depot, its treaty with Wal-Mart represents a compromise other neighborhood groups have been unwilling to make.
    www.underwoodhills.org.

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