ATLANTA – The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recognized today the Atlanta BeltLine as part of the 100 programs named as Semifinalists in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition. The Atlanta BeltLine will compete to be named a Finalist in the competition and have the chance to be awarded the $100,000 grand prize in Cambridge this spring.
The Atlanta BeltLine advanced from a pool of more than 500 applications from all 50 states, and was selected by the Innovations Award evaluators as examples of novel and effective action whose work has had significant impact, and who they believe can be replicated across the country and the world.
The Atlanta BeltLine is a sustainable redevelopment project that is transforming the city of Atlanta. It will ultimately connect 45 intown neighborhoods via a 22-mile loop of multi-use trails, modern streetcar, and parks – all based on railroad corridors that formerly encircled the city. When completed, it will provide first and last mile connectivity for regional transportation initiatives and put Atlanta on a path to 21st century economic growth and sustainability. In order to support and fully realize the vision of 22 miles of a more connected Atlanta, the Atlanta BeltLine also supports affordable workforce housing, economic development, job creation, public health, streetscapes, public art, environmental clean-up, and historic preservation – all with an eye towards sustainability.
“These programs demonstrate that there are no prerequisites for doing the good work of governing” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in American Government Program at the Ash Center, “small towns and massive cities, huge federal agencies and local school districts, large budgets or no budgets at all — what makes government work best is the drive to do better, and this group proves that drive can be found anywhere.”
“We are very honored and humbled to have been recognized as one of the 100 programs named as Semifinalists in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition,” stated Paul Morris, President and CEO of the Atlanta BeltLine. “This would not have been possible without the leadership and steadfast support of Mayor Reed, the City of Atlanta, Fulton County, the Atlanta Public School System and the citizens of Atlanta whose collective advocacy for innovation and sustainable growth transformed the Atlanta BeltLine from a graduate thesis and grassroots movement to a model of urban revitalization and connectivity.”
The Semifinalist programs represent a cross-section of jurisdictions and policy areas, and embody one of the most diverse and sophisticated groups that have advanced to this stage in the competition’s 30-year history. They were invited to complete a supplementary application last fall, answering in-depth questions about their work, the process of creating and sustaining their programs, and how they believe they can teach others to do what they do. The Ash Center expects to announce 10 programs that will be named Finalists and be invited to Cambridge to present to the Innovation Awards Program’s National Selection Committee in March, with the grand prize winners to be named in June.
Please visit the Government Innovators Network at http://innovations.harvard.edu for the full list of Semifinalists, and for more information regarding the Innovations in American Government Awards.