Skip to Content

Atlanta, Georgia: Historic Fourth Ward Park

City: Atlanta
Country / US State / US Territory: Georgia
Type of Solution: Vacant Commercial Properties and Lots
Climate Impact: Extreme Temperatures and Urban Heat Island Effect; Air Quality; Extreme Precipitation and Flooding
Social Value Created: Social Cohesion; Quality of Life; Public Health and Safety; Diverse Transportation; Historic Preservation; Public Spaces; Active Living and Playspaces

A former industrial and commercial property has been revitalized to become a 17-acre urban park, Historic Fourth Ward Park. The park is adjacent to the Atlanta BeltLine project, a rails to trails project that is restoring 22 miles of abandoned railway beds into recreational trails and a streetcar line. The $ project was completed in 2011, and the use of green infrastructure opposed to traditional gray infrastructure drainage system the city is estimated to have saved $15 million.

The park is located in an area that historically has experienced flooding and sewer overflows during storms. The green infrastructure system, consisting of bioretention, underground cisterns, and pervious surfaces, will help to improve stormwater management, with the capacity to capture runoff for a 100-year storm. Preventing sewer overflows helps to counteract the spread of waterborne diseases, contributing to public health.

One of the park’s features is a two-acre stormwater detention pond, Clear Creek Basin, which has already helped to reduce flooding in the surrounding neighborhoods. The Basin not only reduces flooding, but it also acts as a water reserve providing 425 gallons per minute even during a drought. The Basin was designed to use plantings and landscaping strategies used in wetlands.

Additionally, the greenspace improves air quality and contributes to urban cooling, mitigating extreme temperatures and the urban heat island effect. Trees and play structures increase shade, improving the comfort of community members and their overall quality of life.

In addition to improved stormwater management, a previously underutilized space is now creating social value for the community. The park provides community gathering space, contributing to social cohesion. In the park there is a playground and splash pad for children to play, which helps to keep children physically active, improving children’s health. The park also provides recreational paths for biking and walking, contributing to diversity of transportation.

Fig: Playground located in the Historic Fourth Ward Park (Photo retrieved from http://www.h4wpc.org/photos-videos/)

Fig: Clear Creek Basin fountain (Photo retrieved from http://www.h4wpc.org/clear-creek-basin/)

Fig: Recreational bike path running alongside the Clear Creek Basin (Photo retrieved from http://www.h4wpc.org/clear-creek-basin/)

Sources:
The Environmental Protection Agency. (2017). Green infrastructure in parks: a guide to collaboration, funding, and community engagement. Retrieved from http://www.adaptationclearinghouse.org/resources/green-infrastructure-in-parks-a-guide-to-collaboration-funding-and-community-engagement.html