Who Feels the Squeeze of Atlanta’s New Belt?

Authors: Chris Roskilly Valdosta State University, Kristina LaPlant Georgia State University



Delivered at the Annual Meeting of the Georgia Political Science Association, Savannah, GA 2016



The purpose of this study is to examine the socioeconomic impacts that brownfield revitalization initiatives have on surrounding communities and neighborhoods. This study specifically analyzes the unique BeltLine greenspace and transportation initiative in Atlanta, Georgia’s sustainable redevelopment project that encompasses multiple brownfielding projects along a historic 22-mile railroad. We employ multivariate time-series analyses from 2010-2014 to explore the impact of the BeltLine on four key predictors of gentrification: median property values, percentage of homeowners, percentage of new movers, and percentage of persons whose rent is 35 percent or more of their income. Contrary to conventional wisdom, our findings suggest that the BeltLine has not necessarily squeezed out low-income demographics, rather, the BeltLine appears to have altered migration into the city. Our data has significant implications for policymakers concerned with promoting equitable growth at a sustainable pace in the metropolitan Atlanta area.

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