The Lovable City
by Jenn Graham Stokell, ULI Atlanta Awards Committee with Amanda Rhein, ULI Atlanta Awards Dinner Chair
What makes a city lovable? As Atlanta enters a period of transformation, it’s important for city leaders, developers, planners and everyday citizens to take a moment and reflect on what we love most about where we live. That’s why this year’s theme for the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Atlanta Awards of Excellence is “The Lovable City” – an invitation to celebrate the people, projects and places we love in Atlanta.
Taking time out to celebrate what we love about our city and its built environment keeps us honest about creating, designing and developing more of what we want to see. Because let’s face it, we are at a critical point in time and the decisions we make today will affect us generations to come. So now is the time to be intentional and mindful of what makes Atlanta special, and to seek to preserve, protect and nurture what makes Atlanta lovable.
The ULI Atlanta Awards program has a 22-year history of celebrating excellence in our industry – the people, projects and initiatives that demonstrate leadership in responsible land use. We celebrate and elevate those that contribute to a more sustainable Atlanta. At the core of that excellence, is working toward a more livable and lovable Atlanta.
Making Atlanta more livable is no small task. Most ULI members will tell you a more livable Atlanta is one that is more connected, more walkable, provides high quality green spaces and has quality homes that people can afford. But what makes Atlanta lovable? Perhaps it is like a good user experience. Whether it’s the vast tree canopy, the eccentric neighborhoods, the pleasing aesthetic of tall glassy skyline or the community park full of happy young faces, what makes Atlanta lovable comes down to how it makes us feel. Yes. I said it. And yes. It’s ok for urban designers, developers, investors, and planners to talk about feelings. In fact, how cities are designed and developed has an enormous impact on the emotional wellbeing of citizens and visitors. Anyone who commutes understands the cost of stress induced by traffic.
Great cities are designed first for people. How we care for our land, our historic buildings, and our streets speaks volumes about how we care for our own people. We must ask ourselves, for whom is our city designed and what brings the most joy to the most people?
Join us in celebrating those people, projects and places that make Atlanta unique, competitive, vibrant, livable, and, yes, lovable. Share what you love about Atlanta by using the hashtag #thelovablecity and we’ll pick the best photos to share during the program on September 14.