Inequitable Infrastructure Investments: An Atlanta Case Study An Analysis of the Distribution of Atlanta’s Infrastructure Investments throughout Local NPUs
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America is a country where the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. This is an issue affecting cities and their ability to maintain their economic vibrancy while assisting their low-income residents. However, none have been put in the spotlight for income disparities more so than Atlanta. In June 2013, the New York Times published an article about a Harvard University study that found Atlanta to be in the bottom 3 of the 50 largest metro areas for upward mobility. Then in February 2014, the Brookings Institute compared the household income of the top 5% of residents with that of the bottom fifth to find that once again Atlanta appeared at the top in terms of income disparity. These articles reinforce the idea that where a person lives matters and could determine his or her ability to succeed. Therefore, it is important to analyze where cities are investing, and if they are considering equity, especially in cities like Atlanta where the disparity is recognized. This paper uses data on Atlanta’s infrastructure investments from 1999 to 2012 to determine which areas are receiving the most projects and funding in order to evaluate the equity of the distribution. Additionally, this paper seeks to see the extent to which planners are considering equity in their decision-making process.