Erika Davis, Senior Project Manager of Business Retention and Expansion at Invest Atlanta, recently joined with several other City of Atlanta officials for a fact-finding trip focused on transit-oriented development, or TOD. Along with Davis, the Atlanta contingent included: William Johnson, Commissioner of Public Works; Jalal Slade, Senior Policy Advisor on Real Estate; and Catherine Buell, CEO of the Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA) .
The group met with a variety of Hong Kong government officials to discuss housing, walkability, and connectivity to transit. With the Bureau of Land, the team learned that Hong Kong leases land to TOD developers, who generally prefer to focus on commercial development first rather than residential. These commercial developments, many of which sit on or near transit stations, offer convenience to city residents.
Public transit is critically important to Hong Kong, since only 6 percent of residents own a car, and 90 percent of all commutes rely on public transportation. To handle the large ridership in an efficient way, the Atlanta team learned, HK officials have focused on improving pedestrian accessibility to stations in the central business districts. They’ve also worked to plan and developing new residential areas along rail transit extensions.
Of course, the Atlanta team also shared information about the city’s efforts on TOD. Davis presented on several of Invest Atlanta’s recent efforts on TOD. She spoke about the MLK Innovation Village is being created at Hamilton E. Holmes MARTA station using repurposed shipping containers. She also presented about Invest Atlanta’s role in supporting TOD at King Memorial MARTA Station. Through a $6 million Eastside TAD grant, IA is ensuring that 20 percent of the 400 residential units being constructed will be affordable.
Davis and the others concluded their trip by attending an international TOD and smart city conference, joining other officials from Singapore, China, and Vancouver, Canada.