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Word: Smart-growth guru smacks Atlanta

Last week, acclaimed New Urbanist Andres Duany visited metro Atlanta to design several mixed-use sites for the Atlanta Regional Commission. He was deliciously brutal in his criticism.

"If Decatur's great, it's only in the absence of anything better."

— Duany rips into the Atlanta neighborhood that the audience claims to be the most walkable.

"The only reason Atlanta isn't mortified by its urban sprawl is because of its landscape. This the best-looking urban sprawl in the country."

— Duany claims the region's low-rolling hills help mask the dumb-growth.

"You have massive parking decks all over Atlanta. Who the hell wants to drive to the 15th floor? You feel like a loser even if you find a parking space."

— Duany says the city's parking decks should never be taller than five stories.

"Your streets are fantastically dangerous. And it isn't the muggers. It's the motorists used to driving fast."

— Duany points out that the city isn’t safe for pedestrians.

Note: Now that I've been provided with maps and designs, I'll be writing more later in the week about Duany's presentation and plans. He's got a lot of interesting ideas for metro Atlanta — Toco Hills and Grant Park, in particular.