City of Atlanta Urban Ecology Framework
Atlanta, GA is often called “the city in a forest” based on its unique development patterns and the uncommon abundance of tree canopy within city limits. Aware of this and other natural resources in Atlanta, and contemplating dramatic population growth forecasted for the coming years, the city developed Atlanta City Design, a community inclusive effort to envision Atlanta in the next 20+ years. The vision called for a plan that is “For People, For Nature, and For People in Nature.” In support of Atlanta City Design, Biohabitats is helping the Department of City Planning to develop an Urban Ecology Framework (UEF). The UEF will establish the natural context for Atlanta’s growth and development, help determine what aspects of nature in Atlanta should be preserved, restored, and accentuated by the public realm, and chart the course for a citywide green network that will benefit all city residents. The UEF, which will emphasize equity and inclusiveness, also aims to generate stewardship for the natural environment and maximize the potential to transform and integrate vacant and abandoned properties into the green network. The project team will examine the City’s natural environs, including rivers and creeks, forest and tree canopy, ridges and watersheds, public and private green spaces, and other defining features of Atlanta. Informed by community input and data analysis, the team will then identify and recommend opportunities, strategies and policies to restore ecosystems and habitat, generate future connected green and blue spaces, and promote development aligned with those features and systems. In reestablishing and fully integrating ecological processes into the heart of the city’s cultural and economic fabric, the UEF helps put Atlanta on a path to becoming a more resilient, vibrant, and healthy city. As a complementary effort, Biohabitats will also be working with the city of Atlanta to rewrite their citywide tree ordinance so that the implementation aligns with the economic goals of the city as well as the tree preservation, conservation and canopy enhancement strategies generated in the UEF.