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  1. 1. Will Atlanta ever top it's peak population?

    • No.
      10
    • Yes, within 5 yrs.
      52
    • Yes, within 10 yrs.
      33
    • Yes, within 20 yrs. or longer
      15


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Too high. When you consider all the neighborhoods since 2000 that are experiencing great amounts of gentrification - Cabbagetown, Reynoldstown, Edgewood, East Atlanta, Ormewood Park, Boulevard Heights, Pittsburgh, West End & a few other south side neighborhoods - then imagine the houses there being home to a childless couple rather than a low income family of 5 to 10. The average household size is shrinking in the city - therefore gentrification causes a population loss.

On the other hand of course - the developments causing population gains, we know of several 1000 units having been built in Midtown, Downtown & scattered throughout the city (Glenwood Park, Inman Park Village, etc.) & also a number of single family homes being sandwiched in the few remaining lots in the city as well as a few new housing developments. There obviously will be a population gain - no one is contesting that. But 470k is just too high - yet. I have no doubt the city will hit that mark by 2010. But 450k is probalby a safer number - which still indicates a huge increase.

and very possibly too low... the city's growth is not in gentrifying neighborhoods per se, but in places like Midtown and Buckhead were thousands of new condominiums are being built with thousands more in the pipeline... In an exmaple (actually one from an intown neighborhood) the Mead development in Inman Park has DOUBLED the population of the neighborhood and its the first of several planned or under construction...

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^ And you may very well be right. But my understanding is that many of these condo projects, in particular condo towers are not fully leased. Also - in nearly all of the condo units under construction - the maximum household size is no more than 2, in many cases it is only 1.

So even the largest towers under construction will ultimately only house around 500 people. That would probably be the case of Inman Park Village (as you mentioned as the Mead development & it's one of my favorite infill projects in the city).

But this is one case I will gladly admit I'm wrong, because I would like nothing else for the city's population to hit 500k by 2010. Atlanta's urban core by that time would finally be comparable to similar sized cities & would more than dominate any other central city in the southeast, except for Miami. A population that high - as the vast majority of Atlanta' population growth will be confined to Downtown, Midtown & Buckhead as well as properties along the Beltline will be something everyone should be proud of. Hopefully it will be another reason to regularly visit Atlanta after I leave.

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I just mentioned this new estimate in the Atlanta off topic section when I didn't know it was being discussed here. I was floored by the 470,000 number, but I don't see it is impossible. I have followed the census bureau's numbers for a long time, and generally speaking, the "estimates" are usually too low. They have almost always proved too low for the national figures and city figures I most follow. Back in the 90's, I watched the census estimate plot slow growth for the city of Atlanta. They showed barely 500-1,000 people a year moving into the city. In 1990, they reported 394,000 for the city. By 1998, the census estimate was 403,000. Yet by the time the 2000 count was finished, it was reported to be 416,000. The estimates were way off on Fulton county too. The estimate in 1998 was 730,000 or so. In 2000 it was 816,000. Seems they are usually off significantly. It's not unusual for a city to grow by 50,000 in 6 years, and I hope that turns out to be the case.

Edited by Unifour

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^ And you may very well be right. But my understanding is that many of these condo projects, in particular condo towers are not fully leased. Also - in nearly all of the condo units under construction - the maximum household size is no more than 2, in many cases it is only 1.

I use to think that too but there are lots of children in my building. There are at least a dozen families with children out of 101 condo units. Some of them have more than one child. Friends who live in Museum Tower report the same thing, including one family with five kids that apparently are always getting into minor trouble. I'm really surprised by how this portion of the population is growing. Some of the parents work downtown and walk their children to daycare on their way to work. Given that Centennial Place is an excellent elementary school, there shouldn't be an issue about schools until the children get old enough for middle school. Convential wisdom has been that once the child gets old enough to walk, these parents would move to the suburbs but that doesn't appear to be the case. Of course, you can't judge a whole city by what's going on in two buildings but I doubt we're that much different from the other condos and lofts around town.

There are also a surprising number of one bedroom and effiency units with couples living in them. Singles don't appear to be in the majority... even amongst the gay crowd, many have partners or roommates living with them (though roommates seem to be only an option in two bedroom units).

While I do believe that gentrification of existing neighborhoods is resulting in decreased population density in those existing housing units, we might all be surprised by the density being achived both through infill in the existing neighborhoods and new or expansion of neighborhoods through the construction of totally new housing options in areas that did not have housing before.

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Did anyone read yesterday's AJC paper where residents of the Sandtown community (pop. 17,000+) wanting to be annexed into Atlanta? If the community is annexed into the city before November, Atlanta could reach more than 490,000 or a little over 500,000 by next year!

EDITED: Here is the article.

Edited by Brian

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I use to think that too but there are lots of children in my building. There are at least a dozen families with children out of 101 condo units. Some of them have more than one child. Friends who live in Museum Tower report the same thing, including one family with five kids that apparently are always getting into minor trouble. I'm really surprised by how this portion of the population is growing. Some of the parents work downtown and walk their children to daycare on their way to work. Given that Centennial Place is an excellent elementary school, there shouldn't be an issue about schools until the children get old enough for middle school. Convential wisdom has been that once the child gets old enough to walk, these parents would move to the suburbs but that doesn't appear to be the case. Of course, you can't judge a whole city by what's going on in two buildings but I doubt we're that much different from the other condos and lofts around town.

There are also a surprising number of one bedroom and effiency units with couples living in them. Singles don't appear to be in the majority... even amongst the gay crowd, many have partners or roommates living with them (though roommates seem to be only an option in two bedroom units).

While I do believe that gentrification of existing neighborhoods is resulting in decreased population density in those existing housing units, we might all be surprised by the density being achived both through infill in the existing neighborhoods and new or expansion of neighborhoods through the construction of totally new housing options in areas that did not have housing before.

Yeah... since I haven't run a personal census, the evidence is only anecdotal... but the number of kids in-town seems to have increased exponentially-- In restaurants... on the street... when I first lived in my neighborhood 20+ years ago-- a child of any age was a very rare sight... now there are dozens on my street alone...

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Did anyone read yesterday's AJC paper where residents of the Sandtown community (pop. 17,000+) wanting to be annexed into Atlanta? If the community is annexed into the city before November, Atlanta could reach more than 490,000 or a little over 500,000 by next year!

EDITED: Here is the article.

It'll be interesting to see what becomes of that. It will be the first annexation Atlanta would make in a long time. I saw the article yesterday and wanted to post it myself, but I didn't have time

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The Princeton Lakes residences, which are adjacent to Camp Creek Market Place, are inside Atlanta's city limits. When completed, there will be around 1,000 households. Also in full swing is Cascade Parc, at the old King's Ridge location, which will have about 330 households. When you look at the city as a whole, what I'm seeing looks like a net gain in population. I've always felt that the census bureau has undercounted Atlanta's population.

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@UrbanAtl:

I'm not saying it couldn't happen (as highly unlikely as it is that it will), but 1,000,000 in 12 years is a bit much even by the most optimistic standards. Has any place ever gained proportionately or even numerically that much in such a short period of time under normal conditions? The only possible example of a city gaining that much in such a short period of time is post-Katrina Baton Rouge, and I'd hardly consider the conditions causing its growth "normal".

Because I love playing the devil's advocate, and the fact no else has mentioned it yet, many cities in this country grew by 500,000 people in a single decade, at a time when world population was much smaller, and transportation networks and construction knowledge was less advanced. I'll use Chicago as the poster child here - it grew by around 500,000 every decade from 1880 to 1930. Now yes, growth probably cannot happen like that today and we usually don't cram 20 people into apartments any more, but Pheonix did grow by 340K from 1990 to 2000 and will show at least that for 2000 to 2010, proving high numbers are still possible.

Not sure what the attitude in Atlanta is for infill and high rise living, but there is certainly the space at least to grow the city proper to much higher populations.

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Not sure what the attitude in Atlanta is for infill and high rise living, but there is certainly the space at least to grow the city proper to much higher populations.

No question about it. Atlanta is not even close to filling up.

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Because I love playing the devil's advocate, and the fact no else has mentioned it yet, many cities in this country grew by 500,000 people in a single decade, at a time when world population was much smaller, and transportation networks and construction knowledge was less advanced. I'll use Chicago as the poster child here - it grew by around 500,000 every decade from 1880 to 1930. Now yes, growth probably cannot happen like that today and we usually don't cram 20 people into apartments any more, but Pheonix did grow by 340K from 1990 to 2000 and will show at least that for 2000 to 2010, proving high numbers are still possible.

Not sure what the attitude in Atlanta is for infill and high rise living, but there is certainly the space at least to grow the city proper to much higher populations.

Is that Pheonix or the Pheonix area ?

When I graduated college in 1986 there were just over 2 million people in "Atlanta". Since then, just over 100,000 people/year, have moved to the area each and every year. That's 1,000,000 people every 10 years.

For the first 15 or so of those years, people were obviously not moving into the city limits but there are still 100K people a year coming and intown is a lot more attractive now than it has been in the past.

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Is that Pheonix or the Pheonix area ?

When I graduated college in 1986 there were just over 2 million people in "Atlanta". Since then, just over 100,000 people/year, have moved to the area each and every year. That's 1,000,000 people every 10 years.

For the first 15 or so of those years, people were obviously not moving into the city limits but there are still 100K people a year coming and intown is a lot more attractive now than it has been in the past.

That is Pheonix city by itself, it's regional/MSA numbers are much higher, just as the Atlanta area numbers are quite high, however, Atlanta city proper has been stagnant/very slow growing for years. As Andrea mentioned, it has the potential to be a very large city by itself (metro area not included), but has only recently been enjoying an inner city residential construction boom.

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^ But hasn't Phoenix municipality's high population growth been due to annexing adjacent parcels?

Good point, not sure to what extent that is a mitigating factor (how populous the pieces annexed were). For that matter Chicago did the same in the early part of the century. Is your comment implying that Atlanta cannot annex more land area in a similar fashion?

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Is your comment implying that Atlanta cannot annex more land area in a similar fashion?

I don't know how it's done in other states but no, Atlanta cannot grow by simply annexing additional land. There are a variety of ways of doing it, but basically it's up to the "target" area to decide whether it wants to be annexed into a city.

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I think Phoenix is over 500 sq miles if I'm not mistaken. To have a city that large in area and a population under 2 million indicates nothing but a heap of sprawl.

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we could do that with Atlanta is we added Sandy Springs, more areas of DeKalb, south Cobb, and parts of south Fulton. But what would that really accomplish? A higher population but much less urbanity

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Yes, Pheonix has expanded it's population in large part due to annexation (http://www.umass.edu/economics/publications/2006-01.pdf), and is now over 500 sq. miles and therefore possessing 4 times the foot print of Atlanta and a much greater % of it's metro area popuation than Atlanta. So this probably does disprove the example of a modern US city growing by 500,000 people in a decade, assuming Atlanta cannot/will not annex surrounding areas.

I agree annexation of the suburbs is not the way to go, but there are reasons to annex (within reason). Several cities have certainly abused this, though I usually think of Dallas, Houston & OK City being the culprits in these cases, and also the city/county merger "cities", though Phoenix is now duly noted. I would see a justified case of ATL annexation being medium to dense resendential in the inner ring, though looks like there are a ton of dense construction going on in the outer ring, so nothing there. If dense infill ever does take over Atlanta city itself it will be a southern NYC. And NYC has a little over 300 square miles of land area, so Atlanta would be justified in gobbling up a little more mass at that point in time. :)

Anyone have an idea of Los Angeles' recent (past 75 years) annexation policies and history? That would be an interesting comparison study.

Edited by nowensone

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I think Phoenix is over 500 sq miles if I'm not mistaken. To have a city that large in area and a population under 2 million indicates nothing but a heap of sprawl.

Well, it's still probably more dense than Atlanta. As I recall the population inside the Perimeter is around 770,000, and I think that's roughly 300 square miles.

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Well, it's still probably more dense than Atlanta. As I recall the population inside the Perimeter is around 770,000, and I think that's roughly 300 square miles.

Most desert areas, i.e. Phoenix and Las Vegas, are more densely settled due to the infrastructure being methodically expanded as areas fill to adjoining areas. In the Atlanta area, numerous competing local goverments has build infrastructure to lure growth resulting in the leapfrogging to new areas. It helps that the primarily utility needed is only electricity as septic tanks are often used rather than sewerage systems, and that results in less density. Public water is generally available in most outer metro Atlanta counties, though wells and springs can mitigate the necessity unlike the desert. So while the 500 sq. miles Phoenix covers is sprawling, its still densely settled in the suburban sense of no leapfrog development. Also, Atlanta hasn't made a significant annexation since 1953, and the western side of the city is outside the perimeter.

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