In spring 2022, we partnered with Niantic to support a Community Placemaking Grant to help a major destination in an American city or town engage and improve the visitor experience for underserved members of the community.
After reviewing over 150 submissions from our call for proposals, Midtown Alliance, a nonprofit that seeks to improve and sustain the quality of life for people living, working, and enjoying Atlanta’s Midtown district, was selected as the winner. Midtown’s North Avenue MARTA station plaza, will now be the recipient of a much-awaited public space transformation in an effort to address the area's lack of public spaces.
In addition to the 15,000 transit riders that come through the station every day, within a half-mile walking distance of the plaza there are 3,250 residential units, 7.7 million square feet of office space, 1,500 hotel rooms, 1.3 million square feet of institutional and medical space, and 270,000 square feet of retail space… but no public parks! Through the placemaking process, the Midtown Alliance plans to turn this simple plaza into a vibrant community respite where people can enjoy a break, meet up with friends, and people watch.
“It’s incredibly accessible, yet very few people spend time there because there is nothing to do or see,” says Ansley Whipple, Midtown Alliance Project Manager for Programming and Activation. “By activating it, we hope to make it recognizable as a community asset and inspire people to use it in positive ways. We also hope to enhance the public transit experience and encourage more people to ride MARTA.”
At Project for Public Spaces, we understand that transportation hubs have the ability to anchor their surrounding neighborhood and look forward to seeing how the resulting physical and programmatic improvements to the North Avenue MARTA station plaza encourage the increased use of public transportation by making it more joyful.
While the ultimate result will evolve as we hear from locals on what they want, we are excited to explore how the arts can bring vibrancy to this Midtown nook. One preliminary idea would be to set up a semi-permanent stage in the plaza to host live music and dance performances. As a beacon for celebration and community, this plaza would also help serve as a model to inspire other local spaces to bring programming for people to enjoy.