Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and social impact

Saw this this morning on CBS news, interesting. An owner with a social vision and a reason why putting stadiums in areas that may be bordered by some low income and delapitated housing and social aspects may be the exact right thing to do for a community. Video is worth watching, just over 6 minutes. While the area surrounding Tim Horton's Field in Hamilton isn't nearly as bad as some of the areas around Mercedes-Benz Stadium, it does make me think, more and more, Hamilton really did get it right in the long run even though no direct comparisons can be made between MBS in Atlanta and THF in Hamilton.

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank has built his team into a championship contender, and he's also been the driving force behind the construction of a world-class stadium for them to play in. But Blank isn't finished with his rebuilding plan. He hopes the stadium can be a catalyst for change in the surrounding neighborhood. Dana Jacobson reports.
https://www.cbsnews.com/videos/atlanta-falcons-hope-new-stadium-can-boost-surrounding-community/

Also from the Falcons' website:

"IF WE ARE NOT SUCCESSFUL IN TRANSFORMING THE WESTSIDE COMMUNITIES AROUND THE STADIUM, THIS PROJECT WILL BE A FAILURE." - ARTHUR BLANK

LEVERAGING MERCEDES-BENZ STADIUM AS A FORCE FOR GOOD AND SERVING AS A CATALYST FOR POSITIVE, TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE IN ATLANTA'S HISTORIC WESTSIDE NEIGHBORHOODS.


http://mercedesbenzstadium.com/community/

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is doing more than revolutionizing the fan experience and hosting the world’s greatest events. It is going beyond championships, goals and touchdowns to serve as a catalyst for positive, transformational change in the adjacent neighborhoods of Atlanta’s historic Westside.

Learn why making a difference in these communities, which have suffered from decades of concentrated poverty, and celebrating the good that exists on every block matters to Arthur Blank.

If you are interested in learning more about the Westside transformation efforts, please visit Westside on the Rise.


No, they didn't. Not in the long run, the short run, or any run in between.

This is a concept that has been tried over and over with mixed results at best. It's one of the justifications given for using public subsidies to finance these projects. I hope it is different this time. Unfortunately, extremely high crime and poor schools lead to concentrated poverty as those with the financial ability relocate to better areas.

Make no mistake "revitalization projects" like this is code for cleaning up an area, gentrification and effectively moving the "problems" to another neighborhood area. Not putting a right or wrong on this but it has very little to do with assisting people currently in the area. This is not benevolence but rather a developers vision on how to maximize investment and yield. Buy low. Sell high. A basic rule of thumb for any private developer.

Yeah, gentrification is not so fantastic for the low-income people living in the area. Price of land increases, so their rent (assuming they don't own) also increases thereby making it difficult if not impossible for them to continue living there. They simply move to another low-income area that does not receive any government investment until the next hotshot real estate developer comes along with their grandiose vision.

Most if not all investments around THF won't have anything to do with the stadium itself...that's just a coincidence.

I respect all viewpoints here and I will say, in my mind, all are valid.

Just no "magic bullet" for "urban renewal" on a true social equality scale from a stadium aspect, could not agree more. That being said, where should new stadiums and arenas, if they are going to be constructed in cities, be built as all cities have poor areas with low income families and yet land is even cheaper out in the burbs with "only way to get there" by car, bus maybe subway.

Is there any way at all to justify spending on a stadium or arena for social aspects? I don't have the answer to that and maybe am more confused as ever after learning of the Atlanta situation????

And comparing Canada and US cities and situations, no comparison, I don't think that the very poor areas that we see in US cities is seen in any Canadian city, at all. American poverty or very low income areas in cities as we see, we don't see that in Canada on nearly the same scale. My guess is Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver could come close to the "lowest of the low" in Canada with respect to the poorest more rundown areas but that goes with the biggest cities anywhere in the world, perhaps.

In Canada, we simply seem to think arenas and stadiums should be in "chic" areas, downtownish, where there are lots of bars and nightlife, and money and if it isn't done so, it's a failure. Seems that's the consensus in Canada, sadly. But maybe I'm wrong on this.... don't know.