MARTA in Clayton County: An Opportunity for Equitable Transit-Oriented Development
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Amidst national anxiety surrounding the disappearance of low-cost housing within American cities, affordability advocates are beginning to champion improved transit services as a way to lower household costs. As central urban neighborhoods continue to attract upwardly-mobile income earners, affordable properties are increasingly relegated to the suburban margins, which often feature only minimal transit service. The Atlanta region currently has an opportunity to intervene in these worsening patterns. With new transit service on the horizon for Clayton County, a coordinated housing and transportation plan could ensure that long-term affordable measures surround planned corridors. One potential intervention is equitable transit-oriented development, which champions locating housing near transit to address the ever-escalating costs, which keep low-income households in poverty. To investigate the viability of these strategies in Clayton County, this study considers the national context of housing and transit planning. Observing patterns and factors that contributed to the success of equitable transit-oriented development projects, one common theme arises: regionalism. Guided by this framework, my paper assesses how the opportunities associated with the expansion of MARTA into Clayton County can Ellen Ray | Option Paper 2 translate into expanded housing options for the whole Atlanta region. Reviewing planning literature, regional demographics, regional governance, and planning tools and policies, this study ultimately makes recommendations towards an equitable housing-transit strategy in Clayton County. If housing and transit planning are considered simultaneously, this public investment offers the potential to positively impact the county's current and forthcoming residents, especially as the frontier of affordability in the Atlanta region continues moving southward.