Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Two Worlds of Underground Atlanta

Posted by Tori Thomas, ATLANTA, GA -- One famous attraction of downtown Atlanta is the Underground, a place with restaurants, retail, a night club, a hotel, and outdoor vendors. Underground Atlanta is right near Georgia State University, the heavily policed Woodruff Park, and not far from Georgia's Gold-domed Capitol building. It's also right next to another type of underground -- a seedy strip near the Five Points Train station where it's not uncommon to hear about stabbings and snatch and grabs. Ironically, all of this is within a five block radius. And while there are always crowds of GSU students traversing the area on their way to class, tourists taking photographs, as well as people coming in and out of the train station, the Underground itself seems empty in comparison. There are signs assuring unaware tourists about how safe the area is, but in reality, this isn't a place you want to be after dark, despite the police presence. Perhaps such interdictory spaces characterize cities around the country, but given the massive push to revitalized downtown Atlanta over the last decade or so it's surprising to me that one world of the Underground remains untouched by redevelopment.

Tori Thomas is a Sociology major at Georgia State University. She was just awarded an internship at the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). Tori can be contacted at

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a student but have always wondered if it would make sense for GA State to buy Underground Atlanta and redevelop it as a student center? Food court/restaurants, bookstore, student recreation space, wifi, study areas, meeting spaces, etc etc? Some areas for students only (restricted access) while some areas open to the public. Get enough security so that students feel welcome 24/7. Seems like a use that would clean up the image and provide a great service.