ULI Atlanta Blog

In Atlanta, Suburbs Continue to Evolve to Meet Market Demand

Originally posted in Saporta Report 2/21/2017

by Sarah Funderburk Weston, Director of PR/ Partner at SPR

In sprawling metro areas such as Atlanta, the very notion of a “suburb” is in flux. No longer is the delineation between urban and suburban housing types and community attributes crystal clear as certain types of suburbs are evolving to include higher densities, walkability, and other urban characteristics. This idea was among several discussed at a recent panel and forum held by ULI Atlanta on new suburban paradigms identified in Housing in the Evolving American Suburb, a report produced by the ULI Center for Housing and RCLCO.

Whether developing in traditionally “suburban” areas or in densifying in-town neighborhoods, Atlanta’s renters and buyers are both looking for increased walkability, amenities and smarter buildings and that may come in the form of single-family detached homes, mid- to high-rise multifamily development, or perhaps somewhere in the middle, the panel said.

The panelists included Stockton Williams, executive director of the Terwilliger Center, Adam Ducker, managing director, RCLCO, and local developers and experts who are witnessing the changes in suburban development in Atlanta first-hand.

The panel asked attendees to look past the typical “city vs. suburbs” debate and into the unique challenges and opportunities of the suburbs.

Ducker described a new, housing-focused classification system that was developed for the Terwilliger report. The system is based on census tract-level data, proximity to a city center, and categories across the urban-suburban spectrum: high-density urban, urban, low-density urban, high-density suburban, suburban, and low-density suburban. Within the three suburban categories, the report puts forth five typologies to categorize suburban development: “established high-end,” “stable middle-income,” “economically challenged,” “greenfield lifestyle,” and “greenfield value.”  Read more

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