Atlanta — Oct 27, 2023
About 1,500 metro Atlanta leaders gathered today to take stock of metro Atlanta and explore key regional challenges at the Atlanta Regional Commission’s 2023 State of the Region event.
In her State of the Region address, ARC Executive Director Anna Roach discussed the agency’s new vision, “One Great Region” and urged the region’s leaders to work together to move the region forward.
“We can only make a difference if we all act, if we all take steps to foster change,” she said. “If we work collectively to address our region’s greatest challenges, there is no limit to what our region can accomplish.”
Roach also highlighted several new regional initiatives, including the agency’s newly established Climate Change & Resilience program, which aims to seek federal grants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in metro Atlanta, support the transition to a lower-carbon economy, and help the region become more resilient to extreme weather conditions.
The keynote address was delivered by former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, a senior advisor to President Biden who coordinates the implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
In his speech, titled “Rebuilding Communities and Building Common Ground,” Landrieu discussed the transformative potential of the federal legislation for communities like metro Atlanta.
What’s Next ATL speaker Amol Naik discusses expanding broadband access in metro Atlanta
ARC Executive Director & CEO Anna Roach gives State of the Region Address
ARC Executive Director & CEO Anna Roach presents the State of the Region
Executive Director & CEO Anna Roach and Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens chat before the event
Anna Roach mingles after the event
Anna Roach talks with State of the Region guests
ARC Board Member Amol Naik gives What’s Next Atlanta presentation
Chairman Kerry Armstrong Presents highlights from the Metro Atlanta Speaks survey
Chairman Armstrong Welcomes Guests to State of the Region
Full Radius Dance Performance Opens State of the Region
Full Radius Dance Performance
State of the Region guests enjoy coffee
Guests excitedly look for the seats before SOR
Joe Bankoff presented Harry West Award by ARC’s Anna Roach and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin
Place Setting at State of the Region
2023 SOR Regional Excellence Award Winners
2023 State of the Region – The stage is set!
State of the Region guest, Mayor Caldwell, listens intently to the program
SOR guests animatedly greet one another in the lobby
Thomas Murphy Ballroom – Georgia World Congress Center
Metro Atlanta Speaks Survey Shows Crime is Region’s Top Concern
ARC’s 2023 Metro Atlanta Speaks public opinion survey found that the biggest challenge facing metro Atlanta is crime, followed by the economy, transportation, and human services. Still, more than 2 out of 3 respondents said they feel safe walking at night in their neighborhood.
Other survey highlights:
- Six in 10 respondents said they could not afford to move to another home in their current neighborhood.
- Nearly half of us believe that climate change is a major threat to our region, and nearly 1 out of 3 plan to buy an electric vehicle in the next 5 years.
- More than 75% of respondents believe “too many” workers will lose their jobs to automation or artificial intelligence.
Regional Excellence Awards Honors Innovative Projects, Places, and Plans
This year’s Regional Excellence Award winners show how bold ideas and visionary thinking can transform a community. The 2023 winners include:
- Visionary Planning – The City of Fayetteville and HKS were honored for Moving Fayetteville Forward, which envisions a vibrant downtown that is more pedestrian friendly, with new green spaces and architecture that honors the city’s rich history.
- Innovative Development – This award went to ARRC Capital Partners, Tenth Street Ventures, and Alexander Goshen for 12 Hundred Studios, a micro-apartment building that provides affordable housing.
- Great Place – The Annie E. Casey Foundation was honored for Pittsburgh Yards, an innovative co-working space that has quickly become an economic hub for all of South Atlanta.
- Livable Center – The award went to the City of Lawrenceville and Novare Group for The Lawn and Lawrenceville South Lawn, a park and adjacent mixed-use development that has brought new energy to the city’s downtown.
- The honorable mention went to the City of College Park and developer Booker T. Washington for South Park Cottages, a tiny-home community in College Par that makes homeownership affordable in a part of town that is heavily dominated by renters.
What’s Next ATL Talks: Sharing Innovative Ideas
Misti Martin, President & CEO of the Cherokee Office of Economic Development took to the What’s Next ATL stage to discuss the urgent need to invest in training for skilled trades and change the narrative that unfairly stigmatizes these important, and often high-paying jobs.
Martin highlighted the “Be Pro Be Proud” initiative, which is being used in Cherokee to shine a positive light on the skilled trade professions.
“Today, I invite you to join us in championing this movement and be part of the solution. Each of us can change the negativity associated with skilled trades by working together,” she said.
Amol Naik, title, talked about the urgent need to address the digital divide that is leaving many metro Atlanta residents behind. Lack of access to the internet means lack of access to economic mobility he said.
As a solution, he encouraged the audience to call their member of Congress and urge them to keep funding the Affordable Connectivity Program.
“Let’s work together to make sure that the power of the internet is available to all,” he said. “Let’s improve the odds of the folks in our region. Let’s provide the same opportunity to everyone that this great country has offered to me and my family.”
Harry West Visionary Leadership Award
The 2023 Harry West Visionary Leadership Award was presented to longtime civic leader Joe Bankoff in recognition of more than 40 years of leadership, dedication, and achievement that have left an indelible mark on the Atlanta region.
From being a champion for children through the National Court Appointed Special Advocates, to supporting the arts as the chair of the Fulton County Arts Council, Joe Bankoff stands apart for his ability to tackle civic and community challenges across a broad spectrum of issues.
Bankoff’s involvement in Atlanta’s arts community has been transformational. He left his position as senior partner at King & Spalding to become President & CEO of Atlanta’s Woodruff Arts Center in 2006. Prior to that, he played a pivotal role in bringing the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to the Olympic Games, commissioning the iconic Olympic theme music that the ASO played at the opening ceremonies in 1996.
Perhaps most importantly, Joe has spent countless hours mentoring and guiding upcoming regional leaders. His knack for nurturing the potential in others will continue to shape our community for generations to come.
Unsung Hero Award
ARC presented the Unsung Hero award Georgia Department of Transportation road and highway construction workers. These talented and hard-working individuals are out there every day, doing the critically important work that is needed so residents can safely get to work, the store, the doctor, or big community events.
And they do it in all sorts of weather conditions, from extreme heat to bitter cold. They don’t have the option of working from home.
ARC decided to honor Georgia DOT construction workers in recognition of two workers who tragically lost their lives in the line of duty this year.
Sean Kornacki, a highway maintenance foreman from District 6 in Northwest Georgia, who died on January 13. And Michael Woodall, a highway maintenance foreman from District 3 in West Central Georgia, who died on June 16.
The award was accepted on behalf of all Georgia DOT road and highway construction workers by Sean and Michael’s colleagues, Tyler Peek and Grant Waldrop.
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