By Savannah Durban, Communications Specialist
The three things never to be discussed at cocktail parties or early in the morning are politics, religion and zoning, according to Kevin Green, President & CEO of Midtown Alliance. However, breaking his own rule, the impact of Midtown’s new zoning and how it will shift the future of Midtown was at the forefront of this year’s Midtown Alliance Annual Meeting.
At the end of last year, the Midtown Alliance and the City of Atlanta Office of Zoning and Development passed a series of new zoning ordinances aimed at making the submarket more walkable and pedestrian friendly. The new policies impact things like parking ratios and street designations for future development – but at the heart of it, they are all about creating a safer, better experience. Or, as Green put it, “If you get walkability right, everything else will fall into place.”
He implored real estate developers to bring high-quality, creatively designed projects to the city, and challenged them to engage the best teams to add value to the street and the community. “We are thinking creatively about our streets and sidewalks and public spaces and layering in activations to create a critical mass,” he said.
Keynote speaker Janette Sadik-Khan, principal of Bloomberg Associates, shared her story of helping New York City Mayor Bloomberg to transform some of the city’s busiest streets into a safer, easier to use and more enjoyable experience. “It’s not a question of engineering, it’s a question of imagination,” she said. “When you change the street, you change the world.”
Savannah Durban is a Communications Specialist based in Cushman & Wakefield’s Atlanta office. Ms. Durban leads strategic media relations and thought leadership efforts for the Atlanta office, and oversees the firm’s online presence including managing the blog and social media efforts.