For my first entry, I decided to pick a site within my own neighborhood of Ormewood Park, which is next to Grant Park in Southeast Atlanta. Trestletree Village is a “Section 8” housing development across the street from my house on East Confederate Ave. It is privately owned, but receives government subsidies in exchange for providing affordable housing to low-income tenants. If you look closely at the following picture, you can see the “Equal Housing Opportunity” logo on the bottom-right. This simply means that the development is in compliance with the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968, which prohibits landlords from discrimination against anyone due to race, religion, gender, etc.
Construction began on Trestletree in 1951 and it was originally used for military housing. In 1981 it was purchased by a profit-motivated private company and it has been privately owned ever since. It is divided up into 27 identical buildings. Each contains four two-bedroom apartments.
During the past decade, the surrounding neighborhood has gone through a period of gentrification. What Teaford claims took place in major cities during the 70s and 80s is happening right now in the Grant Park/Ormewood Park area. A large number of white middle class citizens have moved to the area. I am living proof that this is taking place, as are my neighbors. This has led to a great deal of tension between the people of Trestletree and the surrounding residents. The neighborhood is extremely fragmented. New, more expensive developments have been built practically on the front doorstep of Trestletree. One such development, built in 2004, is separated from Trestletree by a set of train tracks. This is reminiscent of older neighborhoods in which train tracks were literally used as dividers between racially or economically fragmented neighborhoods. In the photo below, the newer, more expensive housing can be seen on the left of the tracks while Trestletree is seen on the right.
Below are some of the houses directly across from the main entrance on East Confederate Ave. The white picket fences and manicured front lawns contrast greatly with what lies on the other side of the street.
In the foreground of the following image is an area where children play in the afternoon and night time. During the weekend, older residents gather here to have barbecues and listen to music. To the right is a recently erected playground for children. Several of the housing units can be seen in the background.
Below is the view of Trestletree Village from the East. The buildings are lined up, one after the other, like giant dominoes made of brick and mortar.
Trestletree has been subject to a great deal of scrutiny as of late. The South Atlantans for Neighborhood Development organization, or SAND, has proposed an initiative to appeal to the company that owns Trestletree, claiming that the property is a haven for criminals. As time goes on and the neighborhood changes, Trestletree will most likely be scrutinized more and more. Atlanta is going through a huge transition. We’ve seen the demolition of large housing projects such as Bankhead Courts, Bowen Homes, Techwood Homes, etc. Trestletree Village may very well be the next on the list.
Barth, Gunther. City People: The Rise of Modern City Culture in Nineteenth-Century America.New York:OxfordUniversity Press, 1980.
Duhl, Leonard J., ed. The Urban Condition: People and Policy in the Metropolis. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1963.
http://sandatlanta.org/item/68966 (accessed October 27, 2011).
Teaford, Jon C. The Metropolitan Revolution: The Rise of Post-Urban America. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.