"Atlanta's class divide is pronounced," said The Atlantic Cites' co-founder Richard Florida. "Similar to greater Washington, D.C., the line of demarcation between the classes in the city cuts across a sharply defined east-west axis. The metro area looks more like a cell, with the creative class nucleus centered in the city proper, the service class surrounding it, and the working class pushed way out to the periphery."
Their article shows that northeast Atlanta is home to a significant chunk of the city's creative class, which includes people employed in science and technology, business, arts, culture, media, and other white-collar professions. The neighborhoods with the highest percentage include: Druid Hills, Sandy Springs, DeKalb County, Midtown, and Buckhead.
Meanwhile, southwest Atlanta primarily houses service industry employees in the food service, retail sales, clerical and administrative positions - ones that the wonky website describes as "low wage, low-skill" occupations. Neighborhoods such as West End, Adamsville, College Park, Vine City, and Lakewood Heights have the highest concentrations. Cascade Heights stands as a lone outlier, however, given that it "the largest contiguous consortium of African higher education in the United States."
Ellen Dunham Jones, a professor of architecture and urban design at Georgia Tech, offered an interesting explanation for the findings, saying that:
Atlanta developed as a railroad town. One of the shifts that's been going on for 20 years now is the conversion of all of the old warehouses and factories where the working class used to work into lofts lived in by creative class types. The Beltline - a 22 mile loop of mostly abandoned rail that's being redeveloped into a park and transit system, makes approx. 6000 acres of underused industrial land accessible for redevelopment - mostly aimed at the creative class. While it isn't directly displacing working class neighborhoods, it is reinhabiting working class workspaces.
None of Atlanta's largest working class areas - which comprise about 20 percent of the region's employees, most employed in factories, transportation, or construction - are in the city limits. Regarding their move towards the metro area's outskirts, she adds:
Down near the airport, Atlanta lost a major Ford manufacturing plant in 2006. It is being redeveloped as 'Aerotropolis,' with Porsche as the first tenant. In 2008 or so, a major GM plant closed where Route 85 meets Route 285 - and it is now the subject of many mixed-use redevelopment plans. About the same time, Kia broke ground on a major plant in LaGrange/West Point, southwest of Griffin. It opened in 2010 and is likely to be drawing workers from those blue areas.
Atlantic Cites put together a series of interactive maps worth check out. In addition, they compiled the "top 10" creative, service, and working classes areas in metro Atlanta. Those are available after the jump.
Top 10 Creative Class Locations in the Atlanta Metro
Neighborhood (Census Tract #) - Creative Class Share
Druid Hills (224.03) - 82.9%
Sandy Springs (101.15) - 78.5%
DeKalb County (216.04) - 74.6%
Midtown/Georgia Tech, Atlanta (10.01) - 74.6%
DeKalb County (217.03) - 74.4%
Buckhead/Oakdale, Atlanta (97) - 74.1%
Buckhead, Atlanta (91.01) - 74.1%
Buckhead, Atlanta (98.01) - 73.9%
Buckhead, Atlanta (90) - 73.3%
Sandy Springs (101.08) - 73.1%
Metro Average - 36.3%
Top 10 Service Class Locations in the Atlanta Metro
Neighborhood (Census Tract #) - Service Class Share
West End, Atlanta (38) - 78.3%
West End, Atlanta (23) - 76.9%
West End, Atlanta (41) - 68.9%
Adamsville/Cascade Heights, Atlanta (78.07) - 68.6%
College Park (402.03) - 68.5%
Adamsville/Cascade Heights, Atlanta (78.08) - 67.5%
Vine City, Atlanta (118) - 67.2%
College Park (106.04) - 66.8%
Lakewood Heights, Atlanta (55.02) - 66.1%
Union City (105.12) - 65.2%
Metro Average - 43.8%
Top 10 Working Class Locations in the Atlanta Metro
Neighborhood (Census Tract #) - Working Class Share
Chamblee (212.04) - 65.4%
DeKalb County (214.09) - 60.3%
Rockdale County (602.01) - 54.4%
Norcross (503.19) - 53.8%
Winder (1802.03) - 53.4%
Forest Park (403.02) - 52.2%
Gwinnett County (504.18) - 51.2%
Forest Park (403.07) - 50.3%
Norcross (503.20) - 49.7%
Gwinnett County (503.06) - 48.9%
Metro Average - 19.8%
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