Thursday, May 22, 2014


A recent study named the top fifty places to live in Georgia. Forty-nine were outside Atlanta's perimeter highway. The AJC, always looking to create debate, spun the story as a slam on those living inside the perimeter (ITP). Those living inside the perimeter were quick to defend their place as "better" than life outside the perimeter (OTP). Some grew up in the suburbs and moved ITP to be "cool" or escape their previous life. Some out-of-towners moved straight ITP and know little of life OTP - then attack using sweeping, inaccurate generalities. Those OTP are quicker to defend than attack.

ITP's decry the OTP location of the new Braves stadium, which has an Atlanta address. Traffic at the 75/285 intersection is bad - but not as bad as the downtown connector. ITP's fail to mention this. I speak from experience: 16 years living ITP and 20 years OTP. ITP's think life revolves around downtown Atlanta, where EVERYONE works (not). In fact many OTP's rarely need to venture ITP. Not everyone commutes downtown. Some reverse commute. I cross commute. ITP traffic is not just bad during rush hour. The downtown connector is usually jammed all day, and often late at night as well. Buckhead traffic is jammed on nights and weekends. OTP traffic can be bad as well, but it's nothing like ITP.

Often ITP's say the OTP landscape is littered with strip malls and Applebee's. Unlike many ITP shopping centers, most OTP strip malls are full of open, thriving, clean, legitimate businesses. And there are just as many unique restaurants OTP as ITP. Most ITPers have never seen the thriving downtowns of suburban areas like Duluth, Woodstock, Kennesaw, Alpharetta, Roswell, Marietta, Norcross, Stone Mountain, etc. - full of quaint (but less crowded) restaurants, shops, and businesses similar but often-times nicer than Decatur, Little Five Points, or Virginia Highland. Buckhead and Midtown used to feature small shops and restaurants, but most have been bulldozed to make way for more and more high-rises.

Like many debates, the ITPers think their lifestyle is the only way to live. Any other lifestyle often is inferior and wrong - including the very lifestyle they were raised in. While there are still many neighborhoods with older quaint homes, even many of these get razed so McMansions can be squeezed in on the same small lot.

Looking at the chart below, which area would you say has the best quality of life?

..........ITP vs OTP..........
Higher COST OF LIVING lower
Higher CRIME lower
Worse TRAFFIC better
Great RESTAURANTS just as good
Great AMENITIES good
Bad SCHOOLS much better
Expensive PARKING free
Scarce PARKING plentiful
Worse AIR QUALITY better
Higher TAX RATES lower

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