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lagom
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I myself do not reside in Atlanta. However I am curious as to why the metro population is in the millions while the city of Atlanta is in the 400,000's. Why do millions choose to reside in the suburbs and not in within the city of Atlanta? I like the city of Atlanta but I wonder what drives more people to reside outside of Atlanta rather than within. What are the reasons for this?
 

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Entire books have been written on the subject. All this is going to turn into is a big ol' flame war. I'm sure you don't want it to, but it will.
 

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^ Agree with Aubie, but for your sake - here is a general explanation: the last major annexation was in the 1950's, the city peaked in population in the 1960's then plummeted for the next 30 years. Since then the city has steadily grown in population despite gentrification which typically lowers the population density. So - the city is growing as well, but due to it's size & the continuing national attitude, not as fast as suburbia.
 

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Megalomaniac
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1. it's america; the american dream's in the suburbs.
2. it's in the south; the southern dream's in the 'burbs.
3. it's cheaper in the burbs.
4. people in 'merica are 'fraid of big city living.
5. people want "good public schools." what best qualifies as this is in the 'burbs.

-
 

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I often wondered the same thing. I thought the prices were pretty low in Atlanta for real estate. If I lived there I'd live by that beautiful Piedmont Park.
 

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LSyd said:
1. it's america; the american dream's in the suburbs.
The American dream use to be the ability to work hard and move up in life. Somewhere along the way it became to have a McMansion, large SUV for every family member, and to be surrounded by people who look just like you.
LSyd said:
2. it's in the south; the southern dream's in the 'burbs.
It is part of Southern culture to not like the big city. That's where scalawags and carpetbaggers live.
LSyd said:
3. it's cheaper in the burbs.
Of course only because it receives heavy subsidies from the government.
LSyd said:
4. people in 'merica are 'fraid of big city living.
For the most part true. Americans in general are scared of just about everything. People who are scared are easy to manipulate.

LSyd said:
5. people want "good public schools." what best qualifies as this is in the 'burbs.
I've always found this to be a funny argument in the South. There are of course exceptions but in general public schools in the South are underfunded and don't take academics very seriously. I still laugh at the fact that test scores at Montgomery's "magnet" schools are below the national average for all public schools. So while schools in the 'burbs may be better than ones in the city (at least as far as public schools goes), getting straight Ds and saying at least I didn't get straight Fs isn't much of an argument.
 

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2. it's in the south; the southern dream's in the 'burbs.
Hate to break it to you but it's every bit as much the american dream in the north as it is in the south. Just because northern cities are more dense doesn't mean that's the preferred way of life for those city residents. Most of them would flee to the sprawling 'burbs if they could.

4. people in 'merica are 'fraid of big city living.
I guess you could say scared, or intimidated. It's not the preferred way of life in America. It's too noisy, too dirty, too hectic. The average american might tolerate these things for the sake of employment, but at the end of the day they want their quiet home on a suburban cul-de-sac.

Now, knowing that this is how the average american feels, shouldn't cities do more to make themselves more inviting and less 'scary'?

The American dream use to be the ability to work hard and move up in life. Somewhere along the way it became to have a McMansion, large SUV for every family member, and to be surrounded by people who look just like you.
Americans have always had a desire for more independence and privacy. Things like Mcmansions and SUVs are just supplying the demand. And as for wanting to be surrounded by people who look just like you, american cities have ALWAYS been segregated by neighborhood. This isn't a new thing, and it certainly isn't a suburban thing.
 

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There is so much talk about burbs being built in the south & not as much in the north - it is only because it is more pronounced in the south. I'm willing to call most southern cities more sprawling than northern cities, but in terms of raw size - Chicago & NYC have more 'sprawl' than southern cities, only difference is they have a sizable urban core compared to most southern city's small urban core.

But some arguements aren't worth arguing over when it is very obvious that the southeast is dominated by suburban development.
 

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I personally live inside the perimeter on the outskirts of decatur. If I were to have a child tomorrow I would move to the suburbs, and I love the city. For me I think it is a part of the way I was raised. When I was young we lived in the city, but as soon as I got to schooling age we moved out to the suburbs. I def feel like i received a better education for it. I would have either wound up going to stone mountain high school or clarkston both of which are not the safest places to go much less learn. Overwhelmingly the city does NOT feel safe. Sure you can shopping in buckhead, or eat dinner in midtown, but as soon as the sunsets no matter what part of town you are in your looking over your shoulder. In the suburbs (at least where i lived) its not the case. We could have left our doors unlocked and nothing would have happened. Intown theres 7 junkies within a mile that have radar that tells them when your doors are unlocked. I apologize if any of the above doesnt make since as it was straight off the cuff.....
 

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lagom
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have been to Atlanta numerous times at night and round piedmont park and other parts of midtown I felt safe after dark. Back to the subject at hand the population difference. How many residential projects does Atlanta currently have under construction? Could another factor for the population of Atlanta be the number of single family homes in already well established neighbourhoods within city limits?
 

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Atlien
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I thought it was common knowledge as to why Atlanta has grown so much in the suburbs as opposed to the inner-city... most of it has to do with 1950-60's era desegregation and "white flight" (one ugly mark in the cities past). Now, its no longer so much a race issue (as even the burbs are now integrated), but cheaper land, better schools, and a percieved feeling of safeness as compared to the "inner-city". Currently the trend, at least for younger people, is to move back into the city, and Atlanta is in fact experiencing a renaissance of sorts. However, I don't think that Atlanta will ever fully realize its potential to be great until it can figure out how to fix its public skrewl problem, and percieved/real crime problem. As for me, kids are a long way down the road, and I'm movin to the city! :)
 

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Megalomaniac
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dear styles,

i'll make it a little clearer to y'all; #2 is the same as #1, just re-iterated b/c "southern pride/tradition" and whatnot definitely values non-city over city living, based on the geography here. nostyle, i realize it's "the dream" in the north as well, and that's encompassed by sarcastic but true statement #1, as "the north" is part of "america."

cities already have places that'd fit for "average americans." they're called neighborhoods.

everyone else,

add one more; 6. people don't want to pay city taxes but want to enjoy city services.

public schools are pretty much crap wherever you go...that's why, if i ever have kids, they're going to private school, just like me (plus they'll learn to distrust the lazy wealthy there.) so it won't matter where i live in that matter.

just read some of the comments here..."oh no...it's dark!!! gotta watch your back." i mean, just watch the news...Atlanta's so crime-ridden that one guy on trial got a gun, killed people and carjacked some others.

i'll try my damndest to avoid going back to the suburbs.

and i agree; i miss the old american dream of working hard to do better than your parents, instead of "me, me, me."

-
 

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I believe that the City of Atlanta's population high point was around 500,000, but I don't know when. Most likely in the '30s and '40s. Back then the City was probably greater than 50% of the population of metro Atlanta. The City lost over 100,000 people to about 390,000 by 1990, just like most core cities did all over the nation. Meanwhile, the suburbs where growing like crazy, especially after the 60's. Now the City has climbed back up to about 430,000, mainly due to the resurgence of intown neighborhoods, but the suburbs have grown much faster, to where the City is less than 10% of the metro population.

So you have a real tale of two cities. One is about the City of Atlanta which has partially struggled back from its 20% population loss, while the city of metro Atlanta has boomed, chiefly because of the suburbs and has brought the City of Atlanta to a place of national prominence because it is the core of the metro area.

Don't forget that a large chunk of the City of Atlanta is made up by Buckhead, which is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the nation. It is predominantly large houses on large pieces of land. The houses are very expensive and have attracted much of Atlanta's supposed "elite" to want to live there. It's one of the few areas in the nation where the wealthy can live very close to the key business centers (Downtown, Midtown & Buckhead CBD) in the metro area. It is true intown living without density.

If Buckhead was as densely populated as most other areas of the City of Atlanta then the population would probably be over 600,000, if not more.
 

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Nick in Atlanta said:
I believe that the City of Atlanta's population high point was around 500,000, but I don't know when. Most likely in the '30s and '40s. Back then the City was probably greater than 50% of the population of metro Atlanta. The City lost over 100,000 people to about 390,000 by 1990, just like most core cities did all over the nation. Meanwhile, the suburbs where growing like crazy, especially after the 60's. Now the City has climbed back up to about 430,000, mainly due to the resurgence of intown neighborhoods, but the suburbs have grown much faster, to where the City is less than 10% of the metro population.

So you have a real tale of two cities. One is about the City of Atlanta which has partially struggled back from its 20% population loss, while the city of metro Atlanta has boomed, chiefly because of the suburbs and has brought the City of Atlanta to a place of national prominence because it is the core of the metro area.

Don't forget that a large chunk of the City of Atlanta is made up by Buckhead, which is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the nation. It is predominantly large houses on large pieces of land. The houses are very expensive and have attracted much of Atlanta's supposed "elite" to want to live there. It's one of the few areas in the nation where the wealthy can live very close to the key business centers (Downtown, Midtown & Buckhead CBD) in the metro area. It is true intown living without density.

If Buckhead was as densely populated as most other areas of the City of Atlanta then the population would probably be over 600,000, if not more.
How much area does Buckhead cover?
 

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jupiter
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this whole issue is really what the Sandy springs wanting to incorporate comes from. A very large area of what you think of as Buckhead is actually not in the city of Atlanta-----and it should be----it will end up being in Sandy Springs. If I had a house inside I-285 in the area that is not currently incorporated into Atlanta, I would be very concerned. They would be better off being a part of the city.

this is what irks me about suburbs and their relationship with the city that give them a reason to exist.
 

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I've been to Atlanta a few times and it is a very pleasant city. It unquestionably a draw for big business and has promoted itself very well.

I'm hardly an expert on Atlanta on any level, but from appearances there is one thing that I think Atlanta lacks: urban fabric. To me, outside of downtown, it didn't project an urban texture the way many other cities do.

Do others feel the same way about Atlanta's urban character and, if you do, would that partially explain why the city has such a small percentage of the metropolitan population since the urban draw is not there?

*******

a note: metro areas are just structured differently. some of the reasons are historic, such as how much annexation took place in early years. So the results are all over the place: in Texas, Houston is such a huge city because it incorporates the vast majority of the metro area where in DFW, an area with a similiar population, Dallas, Ft Worth, and other cities divide the population. The StL, Boston, and Bay areas are similiar to Atlanta in that the central city is a relatively small percentage of the population.
 
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