This article is about the city in the U.S. state of Georgia. For other uses, see Atlanta (disambiguation).
|City of Atlanta|
|Nickname(s): Hotlanta, ATL, The City in a Forest, The A, The Gate City. (See also Nicknames of Atlanta)|
|Motto: Resurgens (Latin for rising again)|
City highlighted in Fulton County, location of Fulton County in the state of Georgia
|City of Atlanta||December 29, 1847|
|• Mayor||Kasim Reed|
|• Body||Atlanta City Council|
|• City||132.4 sq mi (343.0 km2)|
|• Land||131.8 sq mi (341.2 km2)|
|• Water||0.6 sq mi (1.8 km2)|
|• Urban||1,963 sq mi (5,080 km2)|
|• Metro||8,376 sq mi (21,690 km2)|
|Elevation||738 to 1,050 ft (225 to 320 m)|
|• Density||3,380/sq mi (1,306/km2)|
|• Urban density||2,540/sq mi (979/km2)|
|• Metro||5,522,942 (9th)|
|• Metro density||660/sq mi (255/km2)|
|• CSA||6,162,195 (11th)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|ZIP code(s)||30060, 30301-30322, 30324-30334, 30336-30350, 30353|
|GNIS feature ID||0351615|
Atlanta was established in 1837 at the intersection of two railroad lines, and the city rose from the ashes of the Civil War to become a national center of commerce. In the decades following the Civil Rights Movement, during which the city earned a reputation as "too busy to hate" for the progressive views of its citizens and leaders, Atlanta attained international prominence. Atlanta is the primary transportation hub of the Southeastern United States, via highway, railroad, and air, with Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport being the world's busiest airport since 1998.
Atlanta is considered an "alpha-" or "world city", ranking 36th among world cities and 8th in the nation with a gross domestic product of $270 billion. Atlanta's economy is considered diverse, with dominant sectors including logistics, professional and business services, media operations, and information technology. Topographically, Atlanta is marked by rolling hills and dense tree coverage. Revitalization of Atlanta's neighborhoods, initially spurred by the 1996 Olympics, has intensified in the 21st century, altering the city's demographics, politics, and culture.
Main article: History of Atlanta
See also: Timeline of AtlantaPrior to the arrival of European settlers in north Georgia, Creek and Cherokee Indians inhabited the area. Standing Peachtree, a Creek village located where Peachtree Creek flows into the Chattahoochee River, was the closest Indian settlement to what is now Atlanta. As part of the systematic removal of Native Americans from northern Georgia from 1802 to 1825, the Creek ceded the area in 1821, and white settlers arrived the following year.
By 1860, Atlanta's population had grown to 9,554. During the Civil War, the nexus of multiple railroads in Atlanta made the city a hub for the distribution of military supplies. In 1864, following the capture of Chattanooga, the Union Army moved southward and began its invasion of north Georgia. The region surrounding Atlanta was the location of several major army battles, culminating with the Battle of Atlanta and a four-month-long siege of the city by the Union Army under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman. On September 1, 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood made the decision to retreat from Atlanta, ordering all public buildings and possible assets to the Union Army destroyed. On the next day, Mayor James Calhoun surrendered Atlanta to the Union Army, and on September 7, General Sherman ordered the city's civilian population to evacuate. On November 11, 1864, in preparation of the Union Army's march to Savannah, Sherman ordered Atlanta to be burned to the ground, sparing only the city's churches and hospitals.
During the first decades of the 20th century, Atlanta experienced a period of unprecedented growth. In three decades' time, Atlanta's population tripled as the city limits expanded to include nearby streetcar suburbs; the city's skyline emerged with the construction of the Equitable, Flatiron, Empire, and Candler buildings; and Sweet Auburn emerged as a center of black commerce. However, the period was also marked by strife and tragedy. Increased racial tensions led to the Atlanta Race Riot of 1906, which left at least 27 people dead and over 70 injured. In 1915, Leo Frank, a Jewish-American factory superintendent, convicted of murder, was hanged by a lynch mob, drawing attention to antisemitism in the United States. On May 21, 1917, the Great Atlanta Fire destroyed 1,938 buildings in what is now the Old Fourth Ward, resulting in one fatality and the displacement of 10,000 people.
Atlanta played a vital role in the Allied effort during World War II due the city's war-related manufacturing companies, railroad network, and military bases, leading to rapid growth in the city's population and economy. In the 1950s, the city's newly constructed freeway system allowed middle class Atlantans the ability to relocate to the suburbs. As a result, the city began to make up an ever smaller proportion of the metropolitan area's population.
During the 1960s, Atlanta was a major organizing center of the Civil Rights Movement, with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, and students from Atlanta's historically black colleges and universities playing major roles in the movement's leadership. While minimal compared to other cities, Atlanta was not completely free of racial strife. In 1961, the city attempted to thwart blockbusting by erecting road barriers in Cascade Heights, countering the efforts of civic and business leaders to foster Atlanta as the "city too busy to hate". Desegregation of the public sphere came in stages, with public transportation desegregated by 1959, the restaurant at Rich's department store by 1961, movie theaters by 1963, and public schools by 1973.
In 1990, Atlanta was selected as the site for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Following the announcement, the city government undertook several major construction projects to improve Atlanta's parks, sporting venues, and transportation infrastructure. While the games themselves were marred by numerous organizational inefficiencies, as well as the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, they were a watershed event in Atlanta's history, initiating a fundamental transformation of the city in the decade that followed.
During the 2000s, Atlanta underwent a profound transformation demographically, physically, and culturally. Suburbanization, rising prices, a booming economy, and new migrants decreased the city's black percentage from a high of 67% in 1990 to 54% in 2010. From 2000 to 2010, Atlanta gained 22,763 white residents, 5,142 Asian residents, and 3,095 Hispanic residents, while the city's black population decreased by 31,678. Much of the city's demographic change during the decade was driven by young, college-educated professionals: from 2000 to 2009, the three-mile radius surrounding Downtown Atlanta gained 9,722 residents aged 25 to 34 holding at least a four-year degree, an increase of 61%. Between the mid-1990s and 2010, stimulated by funding from the HOPE VI program, Atlanta demolished nearly all of its public housing, a total of 17,000 units and about 10% of all housing units in the city. In 2005, the $2.8 billion BeltLine project was adopted, with the stated goals of converting a disused 22-mile freight railroad loop that surrounds the central city into an art-filled multi-use trail and increasing the city's park space by 40%. Lastly, Atlanta's cultural offerings expanded during the 2000s: the High Museum of Art doubled in size; the Alliance Theatre won a Tony Award; and numerous art galleries were established on the once-industrial Westside.
Main article: Geography of AtlantaAtlanta encompasses 132.4 square miles (342.9 km2), of which 131.7 square miles (341.1 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) is water. The city is situated among the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and at 1,050 feet (320 m) above mean sea level, Atlanta has the highest elevation of major cities east of the Mississippi River. Atlanta straddles the Eastern Continental Divide, such that rainwater that falls on the south and east side of the divide flows into the Atlantic Ocean, while rainwater on the north and west side of the divide flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Atlanta sits atop a ridge south of the Chattahoochee River, which is part of the ACF River Basin. Located at the far northwestern edge of the city, much of the river's natural habitat is preserved, in part by the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
See also: List of tallest buildings in Atlanta
Atlanta is divided into 242 officially defined neighborhoods. The city contains three major high-rise districts, which form a north-south axis along Peachtree: Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead. Surrounding these high-density districts are leafy, low-density neighborhoods, most of which are dominated by single-family homes.
Downtown Atlanta contains the most office space in the metro area, much of it occupied by government entities. Downtown is also home to the city's sporting venues and many of its tourist attractions. Midtown Atlanta is the city's second-largest business district, containing the offices of many of the region's law firms. Midtown is also known for its art institutions, cultural attractions, institutions of higher education, and dense form. Buckhead, the city's uptown district, is eight miles (13 km) north of Downtown and the city's third-largest business district. The district is marked by an urbanized core along Peachtree Road, surrounded by suburban single-family neighborhoods situated among dense forests and rolling hills.
Gentrification of the city's neighborhoods is one of the more controversial and transformative forces shaping contemporary Atlanta. The gentrification of Atlanta has its origins in the 1970s, after many of Atlanta's neighborhoods had undergone the urban decay that affected other major American cities in the mid-20th century. When neighborhood opposition successfully prevented two freeways from being built through city's the east side in 1975, the area became the starting point for Atlanta's gentrification. After Atlanta was awarded the Olympic games in 1990, gentrification expanded into other parts of the city, stimulated by infrastructure improvements undertaken in preparation for the games. Gentrification was also aided by the Atlanta Housing Authority's eradication of the city's public housing.
July averages 80.2 °F (26.8 °C), with high temperatures reaching 90 °F (32 °C) on an average 44 days per year, though 100 °F (38 °C) readings are not seen most years. January averages 43.5 °F (6.4 °C), with temperatures in the suburbs slightly cooler due largely to the urban heat island effect. Lows at or below freezing can be expected 40 nights annually, but extended stretches of high temperatures below 40 °F (4 °C) are very rare, with a recent hit in January 2014. Extremes range from −9 °F (−23 °C) on February 13, 1899 to 106 °F (41 °C) on June 30, 2012. Dewpoints in the summer range from 63.6 °F (18 °C) in June to 67.8 °F (20 °C) in July.
Typical of the southeastern U.S., Atlanta receives abundant rainfall that is relatively evenly distributed throughout the year, though spring and early fall are markedly drier. The average annual rainfall is 50.2 inches (1,280 mm), while snowfall is typically light at around 2.1 inches (5.3 cm) per year. The heaviest single snowfall occurred on January 23, 1940, with around 10 inches (25 cm) of snow. However, ice storms usually cause more problems than snowfall does, the most severe occurring on January 7, 1973. Tornadoes are rare in the city itself, but the March 15, 2008 EF2 tornado damaged prominent structures in downtown Atlanta.