CQGRD in the News

  • WABE

    What defines Atlanta, exactly? Do we have a unique identity?" - Professor Catherine Ross was interviewed by WABE reporter Jim Burress about Atlanta’s traffic identity. The story was on air three times on Monday, September 28 on WABE. Here is a link to the entire WABE story: 


  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    In a recent op-ed for the AJC, Harry West Professor of City and Regional Planning Catherine Ross, who directs the Georgia Tech College of Architecture's Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development, discusses the importance of the state in continued regional cooperation to facilitate improved and expanded transit. "The state sets planning requirements, builds and manages many major roads that connect our region, and can change political boundaries," she writes. "The state establishes the rules that either incentivize or dis-incentivize regional cooperation." 

    Ross outlines several milestones that, in part, were initiated because of efforts on the state level. She empasizes the need for continued action within the Legislature and state agencies for biding the region together.

    "Since the political environment at the state and local levels will dictate the viability of regionalism in metro Atlanta, we need to engage with it. Letting your city, county, and state officials know that the strength of the entire region matters can help make it a priority. Otherwise, local and state issues can easily eclipse our regional health."

  • Zócalo Public Square

    "In many cities, transit enters a neighborhood, and housing prices rise," writes Dr. Catherine Ross, Director of the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development and professor of city and regional planning at Gerogia Tech. "These rising prices are encouraging because they demonstrate that transit is providing a service that people want—a service that they’re voting for with their feet and their pocketbooks. But while price increases help property owners and schools, they typically aren’t helpful to renters and low-income residents," she continues. "Living near transit saves on transportation costs so that money can be used for housing."


  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    "That is one great advantage Atlanta has - the airport and the rail line to the airport," says Catherine Ross, professor in the Georgia Tech School of City and Regional Planning. "But a focus on redevelopment in Charlotte is tied to (their) success. We are having to catch up, there is no doubt about that." Charlotte's downtown - which they for some reason, they call Uptown - is emblematic of the city's recipt for success: plan growth and stick to the plan, while focusing on the center cuty to create an inviting, cohesive core. That recipe helped Charlotte weather the recession and recover faster than metro Atlanta, in the process becoming a legitimate contender for regional heavyweight status.


  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed predicts another run at a regional transit effort sometime next year, saying leaders shouldn’t be discouraged by the 2012 failed T-SPLOST referendum. Reed said Atlanta is thriving with an influx of millennials and baby boomers, adding that businesses are following the migration into the heart of the city. He anticipates this growth will lead to what he called mega-regions. He says, “When we look at the country, we’ll be looking at which regions dominate, and how those regions perform, and that’s going to be driven by cities."

  • <p>The Atlanta Journal-Constitution</p>

    Professor Ross on Clayton vote in AJC

    Clayton heads into critical MARTA vote

    Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014


    By Tammy Joyner - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    To allow MARTA in or not?
  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Clayton County is set to vote on Tuesday whether or not MARTA should be extended into their county. Supporters say, if the vote passes, Clayton residents will get not only bus service and eventually rail, but they potentially could change decades of regional economic imbalance and plant the seeds of prosperity. Opponents argue that a yes vote could mean more taxes and crime, without any guarantee that the millions coming from Clayton County will be spent in Clayton. “This is a huge deal,” said Catherine Ross, director of the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development at Georgia Tech. She is also deputy director of the National Center for Transportation Productivity and Management. “Joining MARTA could be a catalyst for development and redevelopment in Clayton County,” Ross said. “It’ll make people want to live there, move businesses there, shop and work there. That’s all economic development. What Clayton is doing is positioning itself to not only connect both north and south metro Atlanta but become a rail conduit for metro Atlanta’s link to Macon.”

  • Atlanta Journal Constitution

    It is impossible to ignore the kaleidoscope growth occurring on the north side of Metropolitan Atlanta in particular between I-75 and Interstate 85 along the Interstate 285 corridor.  Recent additions including the location of the new Braves Stadium, the State Farm development, the redevelopment of the General Motors Doraville plant and even redevelopment for Roswell Road all signal the explosive growth that characterizes the Northside phenomenon.  Included, of course, is the highly congested Interstate 285 corridor with the densest concentration of jobs located at Perimeter Center.  This area makes it abundantly clear that where you choose to live affects how you travel and your travel experience.  Perhaps as importantly the north side demonstrates that we are also choosing a travel experience that is equally important when we decide where we will shop, work and play.  

  • CBS 42

    The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham has been hired to create a framework plan for North Birmingham redevelopment. Before the commission drafts a plan, they are looking to graduate students from Georgia Tech's School City and Regional Planning. Students in associate professor Nisha Botchwey's Health Impact Assessment (HIA) course presented a draft HIA to members of the North Birmingham Coalition, the Regional Planning Commission, and Birmingham City Councilman William Parker. The students recommendations include down-zoning in areas around industrial facilities, community specific shuttles services for better access to health care, workforce development programs, and a free space plan to help separate industry from residential areas. The final version of the HIA is expected to be complete by summer.

  • Listen to what Dr. Ross has to say about infrastructure, mixed modes of transportation and sprawl all in the context of the problems we had on our roads this week.
  • NPR Morning Edition
    Dr. Ross' input on Atlanta Streetcar NPR Morning Edition: To Get Around Town, Some Cities Take A Step Back in Time 08 November 2013 http://www.npr.org/2013/11/07/243518385/to-get-around-town-some-cities-t...
  • Press Release
    By Maria Saporta Back in 2000, then Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough felt like an orphan in Atlanta. The boundaries of Central Atlanta Progress, the downtown business organization, ended at North Avenue and did not include the Georgia Tech campus. And the western boundary of the Midtown Alliance ended at the Downtown Connector. In a videotaped message at a recent Technology Square 10th Anniversary Symposium — “A Decade of Innovation,” Clough said he thought at the time: “Nobody wants to claim Georgia Tech.” That was a problem for the institution, which had been gaining national and international prominence but was not as well-connected in its hometown as it should be. “We had cut ourselves off from those areas of Atlanta,” Clough said. So Georgia Tech made a strategic decision — to jump over the interstate. Georgia Tech and its foundation purchased several blocks of “dilapidated” land along Fifth Street between the Downtown Connector and West Peachtree Street. At one point, a member of the foundation told Clough: “You are thinking too small. Change and transform the neighborhood.” Georgia Tech is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Technology Square — the multi-block, pedestrian-oriented development that opened on Oct. 23, 2003 and has become an award-winning project for the university. It includes the Scheller College of Management, the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, a Starbucks, a Barnes & Noble bookstore, several eating establishments, the Centergy office building — all connected with wide sidewalks, on-street parking, bicycle paths and bus transit. In 2007, Georgia Tech had a grand opening of the Fifth Street Bridge Park that added green space on both sides of the overpass — making the walk from the west side of campus to Tech Square a much more pleasant experience. Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson is amazed that Tech Square was less than six years old when he came to the university in April 2009. During his presentation, he showed what the area looked like at ground-breaking on September, 2001. Only two years later, the area was totally transformed. Catherine Ross, director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Quality Growth and Development (which is located in Tech Square), said that she remembered what Clough said when Georgia Tech won a national Urban Land Institute award in New York City for the development. “Universities have grown to be such large institutions that they have a moral and practical obligation to improve their communities,” Clough said at the time. Brian McGowan, president of Invest Atlanta, said that Tech Square has become a hub. But he added that Atlanta has several nodes — Atlanta Technology Village, Georgia State University, to name just two. “How we connect these other hubs is critical,” McGowan said. “Geography is important. Collaboration is critical.” Everyone on the panel agreed that quality of life and location were to ingredients that were essential to have an innovative environment that attracted creative entrepreneurs. Tech Square has provided the kind of walkable lifestyle that often appeals to innovators. But Georgia Tech did get crosswise with the Midtown and preservation community when it insisted on demolishing two-thirds of the historic Crum & Forster building on Spring Street adjacent to Tech Square. At the recent CoLab event at the Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed referenced the Crum & Forster controversy. “We are pulling Georgia Tech into the city — on both sides of the highway,” Reed said. “They’re going to be building a $100 million super computer building, although I got into a bit of trouble with preservationists in Atlanta. But I will make it up to them.” When the panel was asked about the possible tension between Georgia Tech’s growth and the community, Ross referred back to Clough’s ULI quote. “It’s my hope, and I believe Georgia Tech has very good intentions,” Ross said. “It doesn’t mean we are always on the right side.” She said the solution will be to have more direct conversations with the community, the Midtown Alliance and to explore the integration of technology with the Midtown area. McGowan said he thought saving one-third of the Crum & Forster building was a “good solution” because it would lead to the creation of thousands of jobs. Looking at the before-and-after photographs of Tech Square, it is striking how much of a transformation that has taken place — all of it for the better — with the one sad exception of a crippled Crum & Forster.
  • FREDERICK LAW OLMSTED JR. GETS HIS DAY: INDUSTRY LEADERS GATHER TO EXPLORE LEGACY, CONTEMPORARY LESSONS First of a Two-Part Symposium Focuses on Work of Often-Overlooked Leader In Landscape Architecture, Preservation and Planning WASHINGTON—Oct. 10, 2013—Providing long-overdue recognition of the rich planning and design legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., the National Association for Olmsted Parks (NAOP) and its partners today will present Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.: Inspirations for the 21st Century at the National Building Museum. Today’s event (hashtag: #FLOJr) is the first of a two-part symposium that, together, will be the most comprehensive presentations to date of the full scope of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.’s lasting legacy. NAOP is bringing together leaders in their fields to explore Olmsted Jr.’s work and find inspiration and guidance to address contemporary issues in city, regional and environmental planning, landscape architecture and design. “Olmsted Jr.’s visionary work continues to offer insights and models for solving complex issues, such as more sustainable planning of our cities and regions to improve their infrastructure, use of natural resources, and quality of life; provisioning of parks and open spaces, particularly in urban areas; and addressing the challenges in government and professional practice to confront these issues,” said NAOP Executive Director Iris Gestram. “The two symposia will help us develop the resources to more fully reference Olmsted Jr.’s work and apply his vision and solutions to current-day concerns.” Speakers and panelists at today’s event include renowned experts in their fields: award-winning landscape architect Laurie D. Olin; Thomas J. Campanella, professor of urbanism and city planning at Cornell University; Dr. Catherine Ross, a world expert on “Megaregions”; and private philanthropist Daniel Jones, founder of “21st Century Parks,” a Louisville, Ky., non-profit developing one of the largest new metropolitan parks projects in the country. Thomas J. Campanella, Ph.D., FAAR, Cornell University, College of Architecture, Art and Planning, Department of City and Regional Planning, states: “Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. had the great fortune – but also the heavy burden – of being the son and heir to the greatest placemaker in American history. That pedigree launched him in life, enabling him to reach the summit of two American professions – landscape architecture and city planning – both of which his father is largely credited with establishing. But the price of his birthright was obscurity. The younger Olmsted would always remain in his father’s long shadow, a bittersweet fate exacerbated by their shared name. If Olmsted senior yearned for immortality, he achieved it of a sort through his son. To this day, the younger man’s works are constantly confused with and credited to his father. Yet the extraordinary accomplishments of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. – as a landscape architect, town planner, conservationist and educator – stand on its own. He both preserved and renewed his father’s faith in landscape as a transformative agent in American life.” Catherine Ross, Harry West Professor of City and Regional Planning and Director, Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development, Georgia Tech, states: “Today more than ever, cities including New York, Atlanta, Chicago and Madrid are embracing Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.’s legacy through major redevelopment of their city’s core, focusing on the creation and reconnection of green space to foster economic vitality, healthy communities and places of choice.” Daniel H. Jones, Chairman and CEO,
21st Century Parks, states: “Because the 21st century will be an urban century – as the rest of the world pours into cities – the centrality of urban parks to the creation of great cities, and the specific techniques and philosophies developed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., remain just as relevant today as they did a century ago. For example, the work of Olmsted Jr. in Louisville, Kentucky in the late 19th and early 20th centuries resulted in one of the great urban park systems that integrated our entire city through the creation of a city-shaping parks infrastructure that was developed ahead of growth. Our work today with The Parklands of Floyds Fork, to create a new system of four major parks (combined almost 4,000 acres) developed ahead of the growth of the city, draws directly on Olmsted Jr.’s idea of park system planning. The result has been the creation of one of the largest new metropolitan parks projects in the country, now almost complete, reflecting the continued inspiration and significance of the work of Olmsted Jr.” Peter Pollock, FAICP, Ronald Smith Fellow, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, states: “Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. created his plan of improvements for Boulder in 1908, and his ideas for parks along our city’s creeks and the protection of our mountain backdrop continue to guide the city’s planning and development. Most significantly, Olmsted Jr.’s plan inspired Boulder’s greenway system along Boulder Creek and its tributaries and the development of Boulder’s open space system, now with more than 45,000 acres under permanent protection.” Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.: A Vision for the American West, will take place March 27-28, 2014 at Stanford University. The second event will expand the Washington, D.C. discussion to incorporate issues specific to the American West, including land and water conservation, state and regional parks systems, and protecting the region’s unique environmental resources. # # # About National Association for Olmsted Parks The National Association for Olmsted Parks (NAOP) is dedicated to preserving the Olmsted legacy and to being a resource for all those who wish to preserve and revitalize historic landscapes as well as create new green spaces to build healthier, more livable communities. Established in 1980, NAOP is a coalition of design and preservation professionals, historic property and park managers, scholars, municipal officials, citizen activists, and representatives of numerous Olmsted organizations.
  • Saporta Report
    Atlanta’s response to crime along the Atlanta BeltLine is unfolding almost exactly as recommended in a health impact assessment completed in 2007 by a research team guided by Georgia Tech professor Catherine Ross. The city has formed a police team to patrol BeltLine’s greenspaces; worked with Trees Atlanta to trim vegetation; improved lighting; and installed markers to help users identify their location. All the efforts address this one statement in Ross’ report: “Users might avoid the BeltLine if it is perceived as being ‘unsafe,’ …”
  • GPB - June 5, 2013
    Georgia transportation officials are collecting feedback this month for a study on a high-speed train. It would run between Atlanta and Charlotte. It’s the latest in a string of rail proposals, many of which have been shelved. . . . The Obama administration launched the high-speed rail corridor study, including a Southeastern leg. Significant hurdles remain. And nothing will happen until 2020 at the earliest. But Catherine Ross, a transportation expert at Georgia Tech, says it’s a start. “There’s no doubt it has raised the consciousness and the amount of discussion that we are currently seeing around high-speed rail," she said. "There’s no doubt about it. It was dead in the water before his initiative.” Six routes are under consideration, including one that would go through Athens and two with stops in Augusta.
  • GPB News

    While several proposals for high-speed rail out of Atlanta have been shelved in recent history, the Obama administration's launch of a high-speed rail corridor study has renewed interest along the eastern seaboard. “There’s no doubt it has raised the consciousness and the amount of discussion that we are currently seeing around high-speed rail," said Catherine Ross, a professor at Georgia Tech's School of City and Regional Planning. "There’s no doubt about it. It was dead in the water before his initiative.”

  • Atlanta Journal Constitution
    Rethink government, increase prosperity: Written by Catherine Ross, who is a professor at the School of City and Regional Planning, and deputy director of the National Center for Transportation Productivity and Management, at Georgia Tech. The Atlanta region is a crosscutting confluence of economic, social and environmental challenges and opportunities. Depending upon how “region” is defined (that is, by the Environmental Protection Agency, Atlanta Regional Commission or U.S. Census Bureau), the area may contain as many as 28 counties, 140 municipal governments and 5.5 million residents. This complexity, alongside the mounting fiscal crisis and increasing global competition, means we must rethink our governance structure if the region is to remain competitive.
  • Governing

    Catherine Ross, Director of the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development at George Tech, believes officials must improve marketing techniques in order to convince Americans to pay for valuable infrastructure improvements.

  • The Atlanta-Journal Constitution

    As the City of Atlanta defers maintenance on the aging Underground, Civic Center, and Cyclorama, thought leaders in the region urge action. “I would like to see (the city) running as fast as we can," said Professor Catherine Ross of Georgia Tech’s National Center for Transportation Productivity and Management.

  • Penn Institute for Urban Research

    One of fourteen thought leaders asked to anticipate the coming year's biggest urban issue, Professor Ross wrote, "2013 presents the opportunity for planners to integrate innovation, so often talked about in our profession, into practice." She holds that adapting policies to keep up with new technology provides a significant opportunity to create better places to live.

  • Atlanta Journal Constitution

    Catherine Ross, a transportation planner on the faculty at Georgia Tech, is more hopeful that other options will emerge if the referendum fails, that a deepening transportation crisis will yet spark regional unity. She agrees, however, that the immediate future would look bleak: "Our reality will be different...people will pack up and vote with their feet," Ross said. Emeritus Professor Harry West and MCRP alumni Baruch Feigenbaum ('10) and Colleen Kiernan ('08) are also included in the conversation.

  • Clayton News Daily

    The Atlanta Regional Commission put its muscle behind making Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport an “economic engine” for the Southern Crescent by announcing Thursday the formation of an Airport Task Force. At issue is why the busiest airport in the world hasn’t enriched metro Atlanta’s south side, where it resides. The solution, according to Leithead and Nancey Green Leigh, a Georgia Tech planning expert who also spoke, would be to create community improvement districts that would lead to the area becoming an “aerotropolis” — a region around Hartsfield that would be fueled by airport-dependent businesses.

  • CBS News

    Ross said that we've relied on the legacy of Roosevelt and Eisenhower for about as long as we possibly can. Whether it's in tolls, taxes or crumblng roads, pretty soon we'll all have to pay the price. "To those who say 'I've already paid for this," my answer is, "Sometimes you have to pay to keep what you have,'" said Ross. "It started off in good repair, it was brand new. That is no longer the case."

  • Saporta Report
  • National Geographic

    As Georgia Tech’s Ellen Dunham-Jones shows, there is a growing trend in the U.S. to retrofit suburbia in ways that incorporate what people like about more traditional urban settings. A panel featuring Dunham-Jones, Emil Frankel of the Bipartisan Policy Institute, Geoff Anderson of Smart Growth America, and Amy Fraenkel of the United Nations Environment Programme pointed out some surprising characteristics of the modern American suburb.

  • The New York Times

    In recognizing shrinkage as the new normal we not only prepare for the end of cheap oil by better managing our metropolitan fringes, but also boost opportunities for improved quality of life in existing communities and encourage the retrofitting of our most auto-dependent suburban properties into more healthy and sustaining places.

  • TED Global

    TED Global features Professor Ellen Dunham-Jones' TEDx talk on "retrofitting suburbs" after the talk became a YouTube sensation. According to TED, Dunham-Jones takes "an unblinking look at our underperforming suburbs -- and proposes plans for making them livable and sustainable."

  • TED Talks
  • Metro Green Business

    Catherine Ross explains how megaregions affect the environment, and potential solutions to their many problems.

  • Realty News

    Associate professor of city and regional planning Dan Immergluck’s report, co-authored with Geoff Smith of the Woodstock Institute in Chicago, underscores negative effects of foreclosures on neighborhoods.

  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Dr. Catherine Ross, Harry West Professor and director of the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development, comments on Atlanta’s citywide rail system.

  • Atlanta Business Chronicle

    City and regional planning professor Nancey Green Leigh recently directed a studio course focusing on industrial preservation and its impact on the City of Atlanta.

  • Saporta Report

    The Student Planning Association hosted “Dear Mayor Reed,” panel event had designed to deliver a message to newly-elected Mayor Kasim Reed — good planning should be an integral part of his administration.

  • Atlanta

    Dr. Catherine Ross, Harry West Professor and director of the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development, talks frankly about the city on the cusp of a new decade and a new mayor.

  • Atlanta Business Chronicle (subscription required to see full article online)

    The man who dreamed up the Atlanta Beltline is able to see a silver lining in voters’ July 31 defeat of a tax that would have pumped $600 million into the project. “We started a regionwide discussion about how important transportation is,” says Ryan Gravel. “Before, we didn’t have that.” As a Georgia Tech graduate student in 1999, Gravel became the first to imagine the Beltline, a proposed 22-mile ring of parks, paths and transit around downtown Atlanta, making it his master’s thesis. Now almost 40, Gravel is an architect with the firm Perkins+Will.