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Retrofitting "Edge City": Lessons From Perimeter Center, Georgia

Perry, Nicholas

The growth of metropolitan areas in the American Southeast has placed additional strain on the aging auto-oriented infrastructure of edge cities, the suburban pseudo-downtowns of the late 20th century. Area stakeholders in Perimeter Center outside Atlanta (namely, the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts) cite a housing shortage, crippling traffic congestion, and changing consumer preferences among their reasons to embrace suburban retrofitting strategies under the Atlanta Regional Council’s Livable Centers Initiative – in theory molding the edge city into a form of traditional urban downtown.

This thesis determines the effectiveness and legacy of such strategies by employing a two-part methodology – first, by engaging in a discussion of the evolution of notable recent plans through the lens of characteristics of urban downtowns, and secondly, through a field study of completed improvements and developments. Ultimately, the plans succeeded in providing a skeletal civic realm for Perimeter Center’s urban future. Yet, what has emerged atop it is a sort of extreme “hybrid urbanism”, pitting asynchronous architectures, densities, and development types against one another in an arrangement that is nearly as disjointed in practice as its sparse, automobile-scaled past.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Wu, Weiping
Degree
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
July 12, 2021