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University Avenue Design Charrette

The target area of this charrette, Atlanta’s Neighborhood Planning Unit V (NPU-V), is made up of five neighborhoods and encompasses 3.5 square miles

Friday, May 17, 2:00 – 5:00 pm

Room B 314, Georgia World Congress Center

Registration for this event has reached capacity. If you'd like to be added to the waitlist please email Wesley Brooks at


The design charrette for the Brownfields 2013 conference will be focused on the short-term development of University Avenue in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of the City of Atlanta.  The design area will consist of the approximately ¾ mile stretch of road from Metropolitan Parkway on the west to Pryor Road on the east.  Key design landmarks will include a 31.3 acre brownfield site, the planned Atlanta BeltLine, and the intersections of University Avenue with Metropolitan Parkway, McDaniel Street, and the Downtown Connector. 

University Avenue is the seam where two uses meet in the historic Pittsburgh neighborhood: on one side of the street lies industrial land, including the brownfield site owned by the Annie E. Casey Foundation; on the other are small businesses, homes, and minor streets that lead into the neighborhood.  By tackling University Avenue first, there is an opportunity to connect the two sides of the street in anticipation of future development efforts. 

The focus of the charrette will be to provide the planners, administrators, business owners, and particularly residents of the community immediate and short-term solutions to pressing issues surrounding University Avenue.  Pedestrian safety, traffic calming, neighborhood connectivity, and revitalization are chief among their concerns.  The question asked of charrette participants is, “How do we provide the neighborhood short-term, effective, and relatively inexpensive measures to alleviate their primary anxieties in anticipation of the pending area redevelopment?”

The charrette will start with a multi-media display that explores Pittsburgh residents’ experience of University Avenue and design ideas.  The emphasis will be on using this input to design creative, short-term solutions to the transportation and pedestrian issues on this stretch of University Avenue.  

Participants will:

  1. Identify gateway improvements along University Avenue and the key nodes identified in figure #2.  Special attention should be paid to those issues identified in the community pre-design charrette. 
  2. Develop interim uses for the AECF site and an implementation strategy that addresses the critical needs of the community.  These uses should have an implementation period of less than two years and could potentially operate congruently with permanent development projects.
  3. Utilize the project area as a catalyst to influence a positive change addressing critical neighborhood topics: unemployment, foreclosures, healthcare, food access, safety, amongst others.

design 2


Neighborhood Profile:

The target area of this charrette, Atlanta’s Neighborhood Planning Unit V (NPU-V), is made up of five neighborhoods and encompasses 3.5 square miles (Figure 2). NPU-V is also a key entrance to the NPUs X and Y, and connects the neighborhoods of Capitol View and Capitol View Manor to their Pittsburgh and Adair Park neighbors. The families and children that live in this neighbor are poor; the poverty rates, unemployment rates, single-parent household rates, dwarf the national averages.  Encompassing 3.5 square miles, NPU-V includes five neighborhoods: Adair Park, Mechanicsville, Peoplestown, Pittsburgh and Summerhill/Capitol Homes. These neighborhoods are among Atlanta’s oldest residential areas. NPU-V has long suffered from disinvestment and economic isolation and the recession further decimated the economic opportunities available to residents.

Poverty. The poverty rate in NPU-V is 35%. This is much higher than the rest of Atlanta (21%), Georgia (14.5%) and the nation as a whole (13.2%) (U.S. Census, 2010).

Minority populations. Among the 15,825 people living in NPU-V, 92% are African American, 3% Caucasian and 4% other races. The percentage of African Americans living in NPU-V is significantly higher than Georgia (30% African American) and Atlanta (61% African American) (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000).

Sensitive populations. Of NPU-V’s total population, 32% are under the age of 18 and 11% are less than five years old (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). Additionally, 52.9% of children under the age of six in NPU-V live in a single-parent household.  Georgia ranks first nationally for the number of people on probation or parole (Pew Center on the States, March 2009). In the Atlanta metro area, 23/1,000 adults are on probation, and the rate in NPU-V is about twice as high (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000).

Foreclosures. Although foreclosures in NPU-V have always been common, the level of foreclosures in recent years has reached new highs. Between 2008 and 2009, 40% of the homes in the Pittsburgh community alone were foreclosed. In January 2011, one out of every 274 homes in Fulton County was in foreclosure, which is higher than Georgia’s rate (1/315) and nearly twice as high as the national rate 1/494 (RealtyTrac, 2011).

Unemployment. NPU-V already had an alarming 18.3% unemployment rate in 2008 at the beginning of the recession. Georgia and the city of Atlanta’s unemployment rate is now 10.2% (Georgia Department of Labor, February 2011)—placing the state higher than the national average of 9.4%.

Click here to register for the Charrette.