CAP is committed to ensuring that Downtown Atlanta grows in a manner that is environmentally and economically sustainable. As our community changes, we believe that investing in sustainability and resilience enables us to preserve, protect, and enhance the economic health and vitality of Downtown.
Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge
In partnership with the City of Atlanta, we launched the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge (ABBC) in 2011. ABBC signed on over 450 buildings across the City to reduce energy and water usage by 20% across participating buildings by 2020. ABBC quickly became one of the largest programs of its kind in the nation and Downtown rated first in Atlanta for the number of square feet committed to participating in the challenge.
ABBC helped Downtown community members realize significant economic savings, as well as meaningful environmental and public health benefits; read more about the program’s accomplishments in the final report. ABBC exemplified the power of public-private partnerships to accelerate sustainability in Downtown. We achieved our goal of reducing energy usage by 20% two years ahead of schedule! Learn more about the program, its participants, and its achievements at AtlantaBBC.com.
Downtown Sustainability Action Plan
The Downtown Sustainability Action Plan provides a framework for developing sustainability initiatives tailored to Downtown that align with the City of Atlanta’s ambitious goals. To develop the plan, CAP engaged an official advisory committee, made up of over 30 individuals representing diverse cross-sector interests. Their feedback informed the creation of more than 25 strategies across five overarching topic areas: Energy and Water Use, Materials Management, Transportation, Natural Environment, and Community & Culture. To learn more about the plan, read the Executive Summary and the Final Report.
Downtown Tree Planting Plan
The Downtown Atlanta Master Plan introduced a bold goal for increasing the tree canopy in Downtown - planting 10,000 trees in the next 10 years. In 2020, we worked with Trees Atlanta to develop a Downtown Tree Planting Plan as a blueprint for moving our goals from vision to reality. The Tree Planting Plan blends research, analysis, and stakeholder guidance to maximize tree canopy coverage via the Downtown streetscape. The plan identifies and capitalizes on components such as barren streetscapes, underutilized plazas, and small urban forests situated on underutilized land (e.g., highway buffers and intersections). As the plan is implemented, tree canopy coverage will increase over time, with the possibility of more than tripling the tree canopy over the next 20 years. Enhancing the urban tree canopy will be critical to creating urban neighborhoods that are healthy, comfortable, safe, and beautiful. Read the full plan here (the full plan set showing proposed planting locations is a very large file but is available upon request).
Stormwater/Green Infrastructure Plan
In 2020 we worked with Sherwood Engineers to evaluate local streetscapes and identify unique opportunities for stormwater management in Downtown. The stormwater strategy will prioritize green infrastructure and urban greening as a solution to urban flooding. Green infrastructure will benefit the Downtown community in a number of ways, such as enhancing shade and comfort, and reducing flooding. Click here to read the final report for this study.
During the Fall 2020 semester, a Georgia Tech Urban Design Studio studied Downtown Atlanta and explored potential opportunities for green infrastructure, not only to address critical stormwater issues but also to enhance the public domain and contribute to a vision for watersheds taking on increased importance for the ecological and economic future of downtown, the City and the Atlanta region. Read their final report here.
Georgia Tech Sustainable Cities Studios
We worked with students and faculty at Georgia Tech through two Georgia Tech Sustainable Cities Studios focused on sustainability and Downtown.
The studio in 2018 focused on the implementation of the Downtown Atlanta Master Plan's sustainability strategies. The studio specifically analyzed and made recommendations based on excessive heat, stormwater, human discomfort, and perceptions of public safety throughout Downtown. Click here to read the final report.
The 2019 studio focused on Downtown's climate vulnerability. The studio created a set of vulnerability maps that portray Downtown Atlanta’s climate environmental, economic, and social vulnerabilities. The studio also explored policies, technologies, and materials to adaptively mitigate vulnerabilities and create a climate-resilient and sustainable Downtown. The final report is available here.