Light summer reading at your fingertips

5 May

Who was auditioning for Curbed or Catherine Ross’ graduate research assistant position and rewrote the entire Atlanta metropolitan area entry on Wikipedia as their writing sample? Someone who really – I mean really – dove into that new Census data. And someone who also wrote the “Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion” and “History of Retail in Metro Atlanta” entries and individual entries of so-called “major edge cities” (???) of Atlanta, that’s for sure.

If you don’t have time to read all 9,000 words of the exhausting Atlanta MSA page, at LEAST look at its nightmare urban apocalypse images, including one of of a demon cloud swirling over the city skyline.

via Wikipedia

Here are the highlights:

  • The area is the world’s largest toll-free calling zone spanning 7,162 square miles (18,549 km2).
  • …Atlanta [was] one of the US’s first cities to employ ten-digit dialing, which was begun by BellSouth the year before the Centennial 1996 Olympic Games.
  • Cooktops and ovens are a mix of gas and electric, while gas clothes dryers are rather rare. Nearly all homes have a fireplace with a manual-valve gas starter, and some are now equipped with permanent gas logs with electric switch start. Some homes also have natural gas barbecue grills, formerly sold at utility company stores.
  • Because of larger lot sizes, and natural-looking architecture such as California contemporary, older neighborhoods typically have many mature forest trees, except in cases where they have been destroyed by homeowners.
  • Second-hand stores include several Goodwill Industries of North Georgia and a few Salvation Army thrift stores, three America’s Thrift Stores, and the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. For-profit local chains which buy and resell higher-quality goods include local chains Abbadabba’s and Plato’s Closet.
  • The area’s subsoil is a dense clay soil, colored rusty by the iron oxide present in it. It becomes very muddy and sticky when wet, and hard when dry, and stains light-colored carpets and clothing easily. It also tends to have a low pH, further aggravating gardeners.
  • Common lawn weeds are wild strawberry, violet, wild onion, and of course the ubiquitous dandelion, crabgrass, and plantain.
  • Among mammals, the eastern gray squirrel is by far the most ubiquitous, stealing birdseed from the bird feeders which many locals maintain.
  • Falcons roost on skyscrapers in downtown Atlanta and can be regularly seen feasting on pigeons.
  • The first commuter rail line would run south of the city, eventually extended to Lovejoy and possibly Hampton near Atlanta Motor Speedway. This project took two decades under Democrats, and has now been threatened by some Republicans in the Georgia General Assembly as being “wasteful”, despite being successful in every other U.S. city that has it.
  • Owing to the area’s long history of settlement and uneven terrain, most arterial roads are not straight but meander instead, which can be confusing as much as the famed proliferation of Atlanta streets with “Peachtree” in the name. It is also often joked that half the streets are named Peachtree, while the other half have several names to make up for it.
  • Where more than one town in the same county has a road to the same place, the smaller towns have their own name prefixed to it, while the county seat does not. The road need not go directly to the other place, but may connect through other roads. Examples include Due West Road west from Marietta, Kennesaw Due West Road southwest from Kennesaw, and Acworth Due West Road south from Acworth. Some are usually hyphenated, like Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, and Chamblee-Tucker Road.

This opus to the metropolitan statistical area is INCREDIBLE! I imagine some first-year city planning student turned in his or her last paper last week, got drunk off of a bottle of Three Wishes cab sauv and thought, “Now that the semester is over I can finally write what’s in my heart.” Well done, child.

One Response to “Light summer reading at your fingertips”

  1. ray henderson Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    For a good look at the historical underpinnings of this megalopolis, I would suggest even lighter reading from “The History of the Pony Club, by Ray Henderson (Amazon). Our organized crime background is finally chronicled for the masses to see and its 150 year old cover up expunged from the history books. See how 50 people from Tennessee helped the Government of Ga. in the removal of the Cherokee Indians. Meanwhile all those genealogists wondering why their people stayed for just a little while in NW Ga. finally get a break. All those relatives who never left Carroll County were probably hung like Christmas ornaments.

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