Ryan Gravel Buford HighwayIf you’ve lived in Atlanta for a number of years, there are four words you probably have heard. Ryan Gravel and Atlanta Beltline. Ryan wrote his thesis at Georgia Tech about converting unused rail lines that circle Atlanta into a walkable, bikeable, transit system that would loop the city. Go to Ponce City Market in Old Fourth Ward (adjacent to Midtown Atlanta) and you will see just how that vision is coming to life!

Beltline Visionary Comes to Buford Highway

Ryan has now turned his vision to another unique part of the Atlanta area….Buford Highway.

For the longest time, the mere mention of Buford Highway got you strange looks and a “why would you go there” response. Well, if you are looking for food from around the world, this would be THE place to go in Atlanta. It’s now becoming rather trendy to dine in one of the many international restaurants that dot the corridor which runs from the edge of Buckhead, through Brookhaven, Chamblee and Doraville. (It continues far North past I-285 in Doraville, but the focus of a recent LCI (Livable Centers Initiative) focused on the Chamblee and Doraville section of Buford Highway.

There is much concern that the area will see the redevelopment that many parts of Atlanta are experiencing, but at a cost. That cost being the “moving out” of the unique character that is Buford Highway by new development that has sky-high rents that many of the current businesses and restaurants would not be able to afford.

A recent article in the Atlanta Intown Paper interviewed Gravel and his thoughts about this unique section of Buford Highway.

“I think a lot of immigrant communities are more inventive because they have lived in different kinds of conditions, different places in the world and know different models of how people live,” Gravel said.

He’s started a new nonprofit, called Generator. His first Generator workshop is a School of Design class at Georgia Tech that begins Aug. 22 and will focus on Buford Highway, the corridor that runs through Brookhaven, Chamblee and Doraville. Home to more than 1,000 immigrant-owned businesses, Buford Highway is a regional attraction in large part because of its ethnic and cultural diversity that many know because of its numerous restaurants.

Gravel actually grew up in Chamblee.

You can read the Atlanta Intown Paper story for more information. And we will be keeping an eye on Buford Highway.

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