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The Atlanta Beltline: Strengthening Its Community Through Nature

Photo credit: Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.

SITES certification promotes sustainable and resilient landscape development and can be used for development projects located on sites with or without buildings to enhance their sustainability, implement green infrastructure strategies, and improve resilience. One of many SITES projects in process is the Atlanta BeltLine, one of the most comprehensive urban design efforts underway in the United States, aimed at bolstering the local environment and providing outdoor spaces for Atlanta’s citizens. 

Working in accordance with SITES certification criteria, its designers are creating something special. In fact, they recently decided to require all parks within the BeltLine to achieve SITES Silver or Gold certifications—making the Atlanta BeltLine the first municipal agency in the world to require SITES certification. 

The BeltLine incorporates the principles of SITES certification in order to plan for a healthy, sustainable, and community-oriented future. In the words of Kevin Burke, FASLA, Director of Design for the Atlanta BeltLine, when he spoke to ASLA in 2018, “SITES ensures we optimize the parks for the community providing both short and long term benefits.”  

Beltline aerial

Model of BeltLine upon completion. Atlanta BeltLine aerial model | Photo credit: Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.

Upon completion, the Atlanta BeltLine will contain multiple parks and affordable housing units, using abandoned railways to connect 45 in-town neighborhoods through 11 nodes within a 22-mile loop of multi-use trails, light rail transit, and parks. SITES has helped the Atlanta BeltLine plan and begin to execute an extremely beneficial project that will help the surrounding Atlanta community.  

Learn more about the Westside Trail Extension, part of the Atlanta BeltLine, during the ASLA 2021 Conference on Landscape Architecture. On Saturday, November 21 speakers will share how this first SITES-registered multi-use urban trail prioritizes carbon impact reduction, equitable place making, and restorative landscapes during the session: What Makes an Exceptional Urban Multi-use Trail? Stories from the Atlanta BeltLine.

If your organization is passionate about strengthening its community through nature like the Atlanta BeltLine, consider becoming a SITES Community Partner. As a SITES Community Partner, you can publicly commit yourself to these goals for your community and connect with other like-minded organizations. 

Read the full article and learn more about SITES certification

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