This morning, the IM team had the GREAT opportunity to attend a Creative Mornings session at Grace Midtown in Atlanta. What is Creative Mornings? Find out more here. Basically, a bunch of creative nerds, just like us, gather at 9 AM on a Friday to listen to the brilliance of a go-getter in the industry. This morning, we met up with Ryan Gravel. Ryan (A.K.A that beltline-guy) is an urban planner, designer and author from right here in ATL. In 1999, his Master's thesis at Georgia Tech was the original plans for the 22-mile long Beltline. And if you don't know what the Beltline is, hello and welcome to Atlanta. The Beltline is where ATLiens come together. Biking, running, fishing, skating; you name it and it's probably done on the Beltline. Crossing through different neighborhoods (about 45 to be exact), little towns and parks is what makes the Beltline so unique.
The focus of Ryan's talk was the word "Broken." What did it mean to him and how did he help something that was broken? Since he's an urban developer, his talk revolved around how we, as a society, have learned over time that the world is a broken place. This knowledge doesn't hinder us from building more, but instead makes us want to keep building. Especially in a big city like Atlanta, we keep strengthening infrastructure before securing it. Ryan's Beltline dream saved the day in this aspect. He took what was left behind of a decaying infrastructure, think old railroads and trails, and made it into space that people WANT to be on. He made the point that infrastructure is the foundation of social life and by rethinking our infrastructure, we are building a new way of life. This is known as a catalyst infrastructure. He ended the morning be reiterating that we don't have to be broken, but we do have to help each other continue to strengthen our surrounding infrastructure. It was a great way to get inspired before the work day!