Job Sprawl Leader Atlanta Shows Signs of Reversal

When it comes to job sprawl, few regions have been as gung-ho as Atlanta. During the 2000s, Atlanta area employers sprawled at twice the national average. At the end of that decade, only Detroit and Chicago had a greater share of jobs further away from downtown.

Coca-Cola is planning to move 500 jobs from the Atlanta exurbs to downtown -- a major break with historical trends. Image: ##

Just one in 10 jobs in the Atlanta region is in the urban core, Elizabeth Kneebone of the Brookings Institution told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

But some Atlanta companies are rethinking the suburbs. Coca-Cola recently decided to move 500 jobs from exurban Cobb County to downtown Atlanta. Other companies, including Panasonic, Athenahealth, ExactTarget, and Asurion Insurance Services have done the same in recent years.

“There’s no stampede yet back to the city,” wrote Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, in an editorial for the AJC. “The long-term thinning of jobs continues.” He noted the Brookings study’s hypothesis that “job sprawl” slowed during the Great Recession mostly because job loss was greatest in outlying areas. “That was more true in the metro Atlanta area than nationally,” LeRoy said.

Brookings reports that 88 percent of the Atlanta region’s low-income population lives in the suburbs, but only one-third of the region’s suburbanites have access to transit. The suburban residents that do have transit access can still only reach about 17 percent of the region’s jobs within 90 minutes, according to another Brookings study.

Coca-Cola also moved its Toronto offices downtown, according to the Globe and Mail.


Paul Krugman Links Sprawl to Persistent Social Inequality

Is sprawl holding back social mobility in America? Paul Krugman didn’t mince words yesterday in a follow-up to a post he wrote soon after the Detroit bankruptcy was announced. In that initial blog post, he compared Detroit to Pittsburgh and concluded that it wasn’t just the loss of manufacturing jobs that hurt Detroit — it was […]

Is Atlanta Done With Sprawl?

The sprawling-est city in the Southeast — Atlanta — is entering a whole new phase, according to a new report from Christopher Leinberger at the George Washington University School of Business. Since 2009, the bulk of for-profit development in the region has been located in walkable regional destinations that account for just 1 percent of region’s […]

State Farm Opts for Atlanta Transit Over Sprawl

It was a major coup for the Atlanta region when State Farm announced yesterday locate one of its three national hubs there, a move that will bring 3,000 new jobs over the next 10 years. But what really makes this news interesting is that State Farm chose to put its new campus right next to […]

The 10 Best and Worst Cities to Catch a Bus to Work

It’s been called “the geography of opportunity.” And David Levinson is trying to make a science of it. In a new analysis, Levinson, a University of Minnesota transportation engineering professor, and his colleague Andrew Owen have ranked the 50 largest U.S. metro areas based on job accessibility by transit [PDF]. Levinson and Owen used transit schedules and walking […]

Parking Madness: Detroit vs. Atlanta

Yesterday, Chicago’s United Center parking lots bested Denver’s Court Place parking crater in the first match-up of Parking Madness 2014. Today, two heavyweights are facing off: It’s the motor city versus sprawl city in a bare-knuckle brawl of car infrastructure run amok. Without further ado, here’s the Detroit entry. Warning: This could get ugly. This […]