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Stop Sprawl
Fall 2000 Sprawl Report

States at a Glance: Georgia

East Lake Commons
Open Space and Privacy Close to Town
Super Wal-Mart
New Wal-Mart Adds to Sprawl Woes

East Lake Commons
Open Space and Privacy Close to Town

Atlanta's ferocious traffic and serious sprawl have caused endless problems. But a small, innovative development close to the central city shows that, with a little creativity, a community can preserve open space while giving residents privacy, convenience and freedom.

Gardens Amongst Growth: By safeguarding open space within a mix of energy-efficient housing and businesses, East Lake Commons is a smart development.

East Lake Commons is most notable for its lack of cars. Parking and access to the development are provided along one side of the 10-acre project, and walking and biking are encouraged. Lease-on-demand vehicles and good access to local public transportation help connect the residents of this suburban-style development to the central city.

Less than five miles from Atlanta, over half of East Lake Commons is protected as open space. At the request of the residents-to-be, key habitat was set aside as a wildlife corridor and an on-site spring was protected with a buffer zone. The remaining green space is dedicated to a small orchard, a working organic garden and a village green.

Environmentally friendly design extends to the housing itself -- it is designed and constructed to be energy efficient and environmentally responsible. Storm-water runoff generated from paved surfaces is treated before being released.

The project offers two-, three- and four-bedroom homes and reserves 5 percent of its units as affordable housing. By offering play areas for kids, shared work facilities and other communal resources in a pedestrian-friendly design, East Lake Commons reduces the number of trips residents must make while providing housing that fits the area.

Photo by: Clayton Preston

Super Wal-Mart
New Wal-Mart Adds to Sprawl Woes

Wal-Mart has become an icon of sprawl. And rightly so. In the chain's rush to conquer, it will put up as many stores as an area can handle, and then some. A Super Wal-Mart in Austell shows how big-box retailers -- as these stores are known -- can suck the life out of an area and accelerate sprawl.

But the Wal-Mart in question is actually not new to the community -- it merely moved to a bigger space one-eighth of a mile from its previous site, which is now closed. Just like Wal-Marts around the world, it is a big shoe-box-shaped building in the middle of a massive parking lot. It is built on open space and isolated from public transit.

Austell is being devoured by sprawl. A lot of mature forest land has become increasingly valuable, and the area has undergone a surge of recent development activities.

Area roads are buckling under heavy traffic, and Austell's air is suffering, too. Meanwhile a half-dozen stores have recently closed as poorly planned growth hop-scotches across the countryside.

States at a Glance | Introduction | Resources | Acknowledgments

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