TransForming the Atlanta Region Through Sustainable, Equitable Transit-Oriented Development
By Robert Reed, Assoc. AIA, Director, Residential and Community Sustainability Services, Southface
Southface promotes sustainable homes, workplaces and communities through education, research, advocacy and technical assistance. Since 1978, our organization’s regional impact has often been strengthened when we partner with like-minded organizations to broaden the knowledge base and scope of our work. Our EarthCraft partnership with the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association is one example, as is our Sustainable Atlanta Roundtable, a monthly forum organized by a steering committee of leaders from Atlanta’s environmental, academic and public agency sectors.
So it made a lot of sense to partner with the Urban Land Institute Atlanta District Council and Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership on the Sustainable Communities Thought Leaders column for SaportaReport. It is my pleasure to devote our inaugural message to the TransFormation Alliance, since each of our organizations is a member and excited to serve alongside the outstanding community groups in the TransFormation Alliance (listed below). On behalf of Southface, I am proud to foster the Alliance’s efforts to help link communities around transit with the opportunities they need to thrive.
In mid-November of last year, the members participated in a retreat organized by what was then known as the Equitable TOD Collaborative. Through a strategic planning process and the expansion of stakeholders, the Collaborative members developed common values and strategies for moving Equitable Transit Oriented Development (ETOD) forward, an approach that ensures the value that TOD creates is made accessible to all communities.
With assistance from the global public relations firm Porter Novelli, the Collaborative is newly re-branded as the TransFormation Alliance. Five key issues drive the Alliance’s work:
- People: We provide a platform and tools for community residents to engage in dialogue about their neighborhoods.
- Transit: We advocate for funding to maintain, access and responsibly expand our transit infrastructure.
- Finance: We coordinate resources to get ETOD projects off the ground.
- Job Access: We strive to ensure workers of all wage levels can access high quality jobs and employers can access qualified workers.
- Housing Choice: We fight for policies and resources that create and preserve affordable living options near transit.
The partnership of nonprofits, developers, banks, transit providers and government agencies is committed to forging innovative solutions that address issues of economic vitality, job creation, equity and opportunity within a framework of well-planned TOD.
Along with Alliance members, Southface is creating a tool that will evaluate proposed developments based on a scoring system to measure the value a development contributes to a community. Alliance members continue to partner with MARTA, an executive committee member, to identify stations based on greatest need and opportunity for authentic community engagement within the development process. Project financing to build quality mixed-income communities continues to be a barrier to ETOD, so the Alliance works to leverage innovative funding sources to help integrate these projects into transit.
The Alliance acknowledges its success in advancing ETOD as a driver of economic prosperity in Metro Atlanta hinges on working together, sharing resources and leveraging expertise. Alliance members are working on next steps, which include identifying other supportive organizations to support and offer partnership in achieving their objectives and enabling their success.
The TransFormation Alliance has come a long way since its inception as the Atlanta Equitable TOD Collaborative. I am honored to have been a part of this impressive group working toward achieving the Alliance’s goals. Stay tuned for more on this important work to transform the Atlanta region by changing its traditional growth practices, targeting under-utilized transit infrastructure and educating leaders and the public on the merits of transit as a competitive advantage, environmental imperative and foundation for future prosperity. I invite you to learn more about Equitable TOD and how the TransFormation Alliance can work with you to make communities in Metro Atlanta more prosperous and resilient.
To learn more about the TransFormation Alliance please visit this website.
TransFormation Alliance Partners:
Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC); Enterprise Community Partners; Georgia STAND-UP; Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE); Urban Land Institute (ULI) Atlanta District Council; SUMMECH Community Development Corporation (SCDC); Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA); Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative (ALTC); Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Inc. (ANDP); Fulton County/Atlanta Land Bank Authority (FCALBA); APD Solutions; Southface; Tapestry Development Group; and Wells Fargo Bank.