LINK™ — Leadership Involvement Networking Knowledge

LINK: Visiting Other Regions to Help Address Issues at Home

Every year, the LINK program takes the region’s most influential leaders to another metropolitan area in North America to learn about new ideas and approaches for dealing with the issues and challenges facing metro Atlanta. 

The LINK program began in 1997 as a way to build on the remarkable level of regional cooperation that occurred in conjunction with Atlanta hosting the Centennial Olympic Games. Indeed, the trips have helped metro Atlanta leaders get to know each other much better, strengthening these critically important relationships.

During each trip, leaders from the Atlanta region have the opportunity to engage in dialogue with their counterparts from other regions. They explore solutions and exchange ideas for improving the Atlanta region and fostering positive community change.

Over the years, the LINK delegation has seen innovative approaches to public art, integrated and equitable communities, and transit solutions from other metro areas across North America.

Informed by their experiences, LINK participants have brought a number of good ideas home with them:

  • The regional public opinion survey from the Kinder Institute at Houston’s Rice University inspired ARC and its partners to launch the Metro Atlanta Speaks public opinion survey, which helps inform regional planning and decision-making.
  • The Mayor’s Roundtable in Chicago sparked the creation of the Metro Atlanta Mayor’s Association.
  • And Seattle’s Prosperity Partnership served as a model for CATLYST, the Atlanta Regional Economic Competitiveness Strategy.

2021 LINK Trip to Chicago

The LINK delegation headed to the windy city in 2021, bringing back lessons in equitable economic development, mobility investments and transit recovery, and intersectional planning.

LINK attendees with Eric Williams, Founder and Creative Director of The Silver Room, restaurateur, and Harvard LOEB Fellow.
Participants joined Williams at an art studio for a conversation about the work he and other Hyde Park residents are doing to the support the community through art, entrepreneurship, and economic development.

The issue of equity was a common thread throughout the trip. From mobility planning to accessible housing, LINK participants learned how Chicago is working to consider intersectional identities in their planning process to build a more livable region for all residents. The group delved into conversations around housing reparations, neighborhood revitalization, and job creation through equitable and sustainable strategies.

This year, LINK heads west to Austin.

LINK Resources