A new report by researchers at NC State says population growth up I-75 and I-85 will continue and by 2060, there will be essentially one giant city from Atlanta, through Chattanooga, TN. and up to Charlotte and Raleigh, NC.
The researchers used not only population projections, but also calculations for “urban extent,” i.e. new development. Don’t conflate this use of “urban” with the notion of walkable urbanism; most of this will, in the words of the researchers, be “business as usual,” auto-centric, low-density building and infrastructure. What will this mean for us? “A new, completely connected megalopolis … extending from Raleigh, to Atlanta.” Economists and demographers have talked about a regional pairing of “Char-lanta” for a while. Evidently, we will literally be connected one day.
The report struck fear in the hearts of the folks at Atlanta Magazine:
Of course, we all can guess that as sprawling metropolises converge with each other, it will turn our terrible traffic into something apocalyptic. It’s also likely to create an environmental mess. Note the researchers: “Not only will habitats and corridors for wildlife be eliminated, but the continuous urban corridor will have a warmer climate than surrounding rural areas.”
So what of this? Are the projections correct? And will this bring about the doom feared by Atlanta Magazine?