Act now: Every donation on Giving Tuesday will be quadrupled!Donate

The Equity Factor

Kasim Reed Props Up Atlanta’s Economic Future, Stays Mum on Stadiums

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed wrote the foreword to the most recent issue of the Harvard Law & Policy Review.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed with Prince Charles? Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed with Prince Charles. Credit: City of Atlanta

This is your first of three free stories this month. Become a free or sustaining member to read unlimited articles, webinars and ebooks.

Become A Member

The new issue of the Harvard Law & Policy Review — not the one President Obama led during his Cambridge days — is city-themed for all you wonks out there. It has pieces on everything from food access to immigration policy.

But front and center is a foreword from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed that heralds The A as a city positioning itself as a strong urban hub planning for the future trying to break down the barriers of inequality. Come to the ATL, where light rail will solve all our problems!

Reed espouses all the typical stuff, like lowering unemployment and providing basic services and creating more green space. Interestingly, though, he also dedicates much verbiage to improving public transportation options, not exactly a strong suite of Sprawlanta. He writes:

I am also focused on improving Atlanta’s transportation infrastructure, a challenge that has critical implications for a city’s ability to address economic inequality, foster a mobile and diverse workforce, improve sustainability, improve access to food, and create a healthier lifestyle for its residents.

One thing Reed left out is the city’s age-old thinking on economic development, where stadiums will lead the way. The Atlanta Falcons are all set to get a new $1 billion stadium that looks like a massive ninja star, at least $200 million of which will come in the form of a government subsidy. And the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said that it could be “several times that” figure when you consider maintaining and operating the stadium through 2050.

The owners will probably ask for another stadium by then, anyway.

Some thing don’t change. Officials can’t say no to sports teams. Until they stand up for their taxpayers, private franchises will be lavished with subsidies in the name of short-term construction jobs, part-time stadium jobs and surface parking lots.

The Equity Factor is made possible with the support of the Surdna Foundation.

Like what you’re reading? Get a browser notification whenever we post a new story. You’re signed-up for browser notifications of new stories. No longer want to be notified? Unsubscribe.

Bill Bradley is a writer and reporter living in Brooklyn. His work has appeared in Deadspin, GQ, and Vanity Fair, among others.

Follow Bill

Tags: public transportationeconomic developmentincome inequalityequity factoratlantastadium welfarekasim reed

Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities

Join 1015 other sustainers such as:

  • Laura in Philadelphia, PA at $36/Year
  • Heidi at $5/Month
  • Nora at $30/Year

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Donate $20 or $5/Month

    20th Anniversary Solutions of the Year magazine