Atlanta Suburbs Embrace 'Urban Burb' Concept

Feb 16, 2016

“Urban Burb” may sound like an oxymoron. But, according to Rosser International architect and Curbed Atlanta editor Michael Kahn, it describes a shift that's happening in Atlanta’s suburbs.

More and more communities bordering the city, like Sandy Springs and Brookhaven, are looking to create “nodes” with an urban feel, while maintaining the suburban character of the residential neighborhoods, Kahn said in an interview with Stephannie Stokes.

Kahn said, if done right, it could give people who moved to the suburbs for a job or a bigger house some of the amenities that urban residents enjoy, like the ability to walk to a restaurant or to work. But he admitted it requires appropriate infrastructure like public transit, which gives Sandy Springs, a city already connected to MARTA, a leg up.

"The Sandy Springs example is taking this backbone infrastructure and trying to unite it all together and tie it back into the city of Atlanta, tie it back into MARTA, tie it back into a place where you can get to the airport on Marta in traffic 40-45 minutes," Kahn said.

“That's what's going to make the difference -- is appealing to this group of people that wants to live an urban lifestyle, but maybe not in downtown Atlanta," he continued. "Give option … to allow for people to have that walkable lifestyle, that grocery store down the street, the ability to not have to always get into their car, but in a different environment.”