Originally conceived as a unifying space for connecting the city through public parks, the Beltline has become a museum of what can happen to a city when private interests trump that of the public citizen. Against the vision of its creator, real estate prices rival that of waterfront districts in other cities. The result, a space that excludes, as the costs of living, eating, and playing on the Beltline are above that what a person earning an average ATLien salary can pay. Against the best interest of the long term development of the city, the creative class is unable to access the public via the Beltline due to similar cost considerations. Artists, entrepreneurs, and small business owners who might in the best of circumstances offer services that dramatically enhance the public good of the city are pushed aside by Corporate American KKKapital. We reserve to mention the ethnic and racial dimension of this zoning issue for a later date.
Here we declare war on KKKorporate greed on the Beltline and propose an artist revolution! We the People of Atlanta, suffering to pay health care costs and student loan bills no longer accept $7.25 an hour as our regular daily wage. We dream of something more, and envision ways of remapping our city to include our voice and vision in the zoning of the spaces we live, eat, and play in. We are tired of playing the second citizens, we cook your food, clean your streets, and teach your children. Some of us have never recovered from the Wall Street crash of 2007-09. We are tired of seeing some people get filthy rich while most of us live one paycheck from homelessness. What we lack in KKKapital, we have in creativity and desire for a better future.
Social media has given us a canvas to paint on and to connect with, we seek to go one step further. Enter games, augmented reality, and Pokemon Go. Accept the reality that most of us live in our phones, barely looking up to cross the street, eat, or have sex. Imagine us bringing our phones together in collective action, shining light on the Beltline for what it truly has become a dystopian KKKapitalist hellscape straight out of the 1980’s sciFi flick Blade Runner. We will not leave a single corporate logo untouched, expect us. Photos of greed will be taken, the homeless will be given phones, and high rent stories will be told, face to face. Off screen, in the spaces where real change can be organized and made. We are looking for artists, programmers, web developers, writers, and other starving creatives to join our tribe. Come with us into the streets and behind our phone and laptop screens to take back what is rightfully ours, an equitably zoned Beltline to speak the vision of Dr. King to the future. I have a dream starts when we place our wallets and money into civic policies that stand for the public welfare of all.