Inside the Perimeter: Urban Development in Atlanta since the 1996 Olympic Games Open Access

Varner, Robert Stewart (2010)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/mg74qm24s?locale=en
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Abstract

Inside the Perimeter: Urban Development in Atlanta since the 1996 Olympic Games
By Robert Stewart Varner

In the 1990s the population of the city of Atlanta grew for the first time since the early 1970s. Many of the newly arrived residents were white and middle class and this contrasted with the city's recent history which had been marked by decades of white flight and extreme class bifurcation. Far from a spontaneous reversal, Atlanta's business and political leaders had been working together for years to counteract the pull of the suburbs and attract middle class residents to the city. This partnership has been called a governing regime and it worked to take advantage of increasingly global networks of capital and people to create the thriving cosmopolitan city Atlanta's leaders have dreamed of since the Civil War.

This dissertation examines the changes that have taken place in Atlanta's physical and social landscape since the city hosted the Olympic Games in 1996 and places these changes within their local, national and global historical context. In addition to examining the global economic situation within which these changes took place and the governing regime that steered the city through these networks, this dissertation analyses the development of a tourist infrastructure in Downtown, the phenomenon of Intown gentrification and the creation of a consumer driven "live, work and play" neighborhood called Atlantic Station.

The governing regime is characterized as pro-Third Way because it defines the role of local government as facilitator for private business. This relationship has been arguably successful in recreating parts of the city but it has often done so at the expense of those who are least able to take advantage of the market. Whether it be from the destruction of public housing, displacement due to gentrification or increased antagonism toward the homeless, the city's most vulnerable residents are unlikely to see the changes to the city as positive.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS
Chapter

1. INTRODUCTION: GLOBALIZATION AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT...1

Globalization...3
Keynesianism and Neoliberal Economics...4
Neoliberalism and the "Third Way"...8
The Third Way, Neoliberalism and Globalization...12
Critics of Globalization...15
Globalization and the Global City...17
Global Atlanta...20

2. GLOBAL ATLANTA...24

Regional Trends: The Rise of Sunbelt Cities and the (New) New South...29
Local Trends: The Atlanta Way...32
Maynard Jackson to Andy Young...34
Andynomics...35
The Presidential Parkway...38
Underground...39
The Absentee Mayor and Citizen Young...41
The 1996 Olympics and Municipal Debt...41
Conclusion...45

3. PRODUCING AND ENFORCING DOWNTOWN ATLANTA...47

Central Area Study I and II...49
Tourism, Themed Spaces and the New American City...54
Underground Atlanta and the World of Coca-Cola...59
The 1996 Olympics...65
The Effect of the Olympics on Intown Neighborhoods...67
Summerhill...70
The Olympic Village and Olympic Park...71
The Georgia Aquarium...73
Security: Panhandling Ban...77
Civil Rights Museum?...81
Conclusion...87

4. THE POLITICS OF GENTRIFICATION IN POST-OLYMPICS ATLANTA...92

Gentrification: Global Trend...97
Neil Smith and Gentrification as a Critical Rhetoric...99
Atlanta's Intown Neighborhoods in the 1990s...101
HUD Empowerment Zone...103
Renaissance Atlanta...105
Urban Revitalization...106
The Gentrification Task Force...108
The Limits of Gentrification as a Critical Rhetoric...110
Places, Spaces and Networks...112
A Brief History of East Atlanta...117
The East Atlanta "Renaissance"...120
East Atlanta: Themed Space and Themed History...123
The Death and Life of a Place...132
Conclusion...137

5. ATLANTIC STATION: COMMUNITY, CONSUMERISM AND ATLANTA'S NEW URBANISM...141

Against Suburbia: Riverside and the Birth of Atlanta's New Urbanism...141
A Brief Overview of New Urbanism...145
Questioning and Critiquing New Urbanism...151
Atlantic Station...158
Atlantic Station in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution...161
Atlantic Station and Public Private Partnerships...165
Analysis...169
Conclusion...175

6. CONCLUSION: SPACE AND POWER INSIDE THE PERIMETER...177

Works Cited...183

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