The Atlanta region is expected to grow by more than 2 million people over the next 25 years. Almost half of this will come from the children of current residents. The additional growth will come from new residents attracted by the region’s mild climate and strong economic opportunities.
Population growth is not a bad thing. It generates jobs and incomes, property values rise and tax revenues increase. But we must make good decisions about how we grow.
The region’s growth and development involve many choices: where people will live, how the transportation system will work best, how to balance economic and environmental needs, and how to create communities where all citizens can attain the highest quality of life.
Currently, Atlanta is the least densely developed region in the top 15 U.S. metro areas. Many current zoning regulations restrict the development of diverse and affordable housing near jobs, forcing “spread out” growth. This pattern is detrimental to our quality of life. It creates a lack of affordable housing near job centers, increases traffic congestion, and creates the need to build new infrastructure - straining our air, water and financial resources.
Growth doesn’t have to be something that just happens to us. We can harness the vitality of our region’s growth, and choose to create the highest quality of living for all of us and strengthen our business environment by accommodating growth in different and better ways.
By embracing smart growth for the region, we can create more housing choices closer to jobs, reduce traffic, increase our tax base and preserve green space.