I had the opportunity last month to join about 100 Atlanta leaders from the business, civic, and local and state government communities as we traveled to Phoenix for the Atlanta Regional Commission’s (ARC) 14th LINK (Leadership, Involvement, Networking, Knowledge) trip. These annual trips provide community leaders with opportunities to learn about how tough issues are being addressed in other metropolitan areas, to mine what we hear for good ideas to bring back to Atlanta, and to develop better relationships as we strive to work together to solve our region’s problems.
We learned about how the folks in Phoenix are dealing − for better or for worse − with water, transportation and immigration, and we learned how they are capitalizing on higher education to stimulate economic growth. One of the things that really struck me was how important the development of a light rail line connecting downtown Tempe and downtown Phoenix is to the revitalization of both cities. Transportation improvements really do create opportunities and drive development − just like what we are working on in Buckhead, especially on Peachtree.
I can also tell you that the relationships I developed and/or strengthened with many of the other participants will help us here in Buckhead as we continue to morph from an auto-centric suburban area to a walkable urban center.
Both photos in this post are from the excellent pieces Maria Saporta posted on LINK 2010 on her blog. My friends Joe Bankoff of the Woodruff Arts Center and Vance Smith of the Georgia DOT are shown above.