News Release: December 22, 2014

Atlanta's Aspirations Explored in New Book

CHICAGO — Atlanta is a city that continually redefines and reshapes itself. Planning Atlanta, a new book from the American Planning Association's Planners Press, explores the city's complicated and ever-changing appearance and organization.

Planning Atlanta coverExploring its past ambitions and assessing where the city and region are headed, editors Harley F. Etienne and Barbara Faga recruited 34 contributors to reflect upon the city's planning efforts. Contributors include former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin; Brian Leary, former president and CEO of Atlanta Beltline, Inc.; and Randal Roark, former director of planning and design for the Corporation for Olympic Development in Atlanta.

Planning Atlanta is divided into five themes representing Atlanta's planning history and development:

  • Terminus to International City — Explore how a small settlement at the crossroads of four rail lines evolved into an international city. This section looks at the dichotomy in regard to location and form and characterizes the planning process in Atlanta as "a local way of doing things."
  • Diversity and Development — Atlanta's civic and political leadership has differed from its counterparts in other cities striving to grow beyond the city's past and legacy of racial tensions. This section explores Atlanta's approach to public housing, a highly litigated roadway and efforts to gather community input through the Neighborhood Planning Unit.
  • Travel, Traffic, and Transit Define a City – Atlanta has been labeled as the post child of sprawl and congestion. Opinions differ about whether the region needs to build fewer roads or more transit. But Atlantans do agree about their love of the Beltline.
  • Boom and Bust – Beverages, broadcasting and an international airport. Just a few of the economic drivers in Atlanta. Explore the highs and lows of regional accomplishments including the 1996 Olympic Games and creation of an innovative land bank.
  • Innovation and Challenges Shape the Future – Economic, housing, social justice, transportation and quality of life are all issues facing the region today. Change is necessary, but can it happen? Challenges remain including tree canopy loss and potential water shortages, but there have been major success stories like the Atlantic Station.

Planning Atlanta (ISBN: 978-1-61190-126-9) is part of the Planners Press series exploring the development of a major American city. Read an excerpt. Planning Atlanta is available from for $34.95 ($24.95 for APA members).

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning — physical, economic, and social — so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, with almost 40,000 members worldwide in nearly 100 countries.


Roberta Rewers, American Planning Association; 312-786-6395;