They should, argues Urbanist, guest columnist, because it’s the only way Atlanta will become a great city.
It’s been proven Atlantans will purchase high-rise condos but will they rent high-rise apartments?
There’s only one way to find out.
Now, after my article acclaiming the benefit of apartments and criticizing single-family homes in urban areas, I thought it might be best to explain why I believe that to be the case.
Apartments can provide the city of Atlanta with something it drastically needs: dense populations of diverse people.
Apartments bring density to cities by allowing more people to live in closer quarters with each other without requiring down-payments or mortgages and they provide liquidity to lifestyle. Apartments attract people who may start out as temporary residents, but often become permanent ones.
But what kind of benefits does density provide?
Safety: Density means more people in an area which means more eyes and feet on the street which creates a passive sense of security that is often more effective than active policing.
Sustainability (no relation to socialism, like some of the less intellectually savvy would like to believe): Living in closer quarters and in smaller spaces means less energy use. Rarely do people rent three bedroom apartments when they will only use one of them. Often do people buy large homes with multiple unused rooms. More efficient usage of space means lower energy bills. Denser areas also lessen the requirement of a car, as more necessities are within walking distance.
Demand Economics: The more people in an area, the higher the demand for places to eat, drink, socialize, work, and relax. In a relatively free-market economy, the theory goes that entrepreneurs will recognize this demand and create the commercial options to sate it. More businesses equal more jobs. More jobs equal more prosperity, and so on.
Apartments typically introduce diversity into neighborhoods as well.
Apartments can be constructed/renovated as A, B, C, or D Class buildings to appeal to a variety of different economic demographics. Apartments can also be built to mix economic demographics within the same building (which has been done successfully in major cities all over the world for decades, despite the uninformed opinions of some).
Diversity, like density, provides it’s own host of benefits:
Social Expansion: Interacting with people from different places and economic levels, with different ideals and different backgrounds, provides us a more expansionary view of the world. If you live in a trailer park, or a suburb, restricted to a narrow range of incomes, the majority of your social interaction is limited to a narrow set of people and beliefs. It’s not a positive thing….unless you like FoxNews.
Demand Variety: The same demand that will drive the creation of more business will also drive the creation of more diverse businesses. With more apartments, you will see an influx of a various groups of people, all with their own demands, and businesses will meet these. It’s no coincidence that the densest places in the world have the highest variety of commercial options.
Urban apartments can increase the social connectivity of a badly fragmented city and help create a center of energy and activity rather than a bunch of small, disconnected, semi self-sufficient pockets.