2013.01.25_The privatized town of Sandy Springs_180

The privatized town of Sandy Springs

25 januari 2013

2 minuten

Nieuws This time a post by our PHD candidate Els Leclercq, who wrote an interesting piece on Sandy Springs, Atlanta, USA: a privatized white-flight city that handed off about every service to private enterprises.

The city that outsourced everything

The city of Sandy Springs used to be a wealthy suburb to the north of Atlanta. However, following a referendum in 2005, 94% of its residents voted for Sandy Springs to become a city in its own right. This decision demonstrated the discontent with the county’s policies of redistribution of the tax revenue to less affluent parts of the county. Citizens consequently voted a mayor and six Councillors who embarked on a bold project of creating a public-private partnership, outsourcing all municipal services to a private contractor.

This route was chosen for several reasons including recognition of the amount of time it takes to establish an effective municipal apparatus but also -more importantly- out of belief in, and support for the competitive working of the market following the logic that one can achieve the best quality for the lowest price. During the first years, the city services were outsourced to the consultancy company CH2M Hill, but when the contract ended in 2011, the City Council appointed five different companies to manage the General Government and Financial and Information Services for a total of 10 million dollar for the next 5 years. The change of contractor saves the City around 7 million a year, claims the City Manager.

How does a privatized city care for its public space and the democratic process of creating this space? In January 2012 the City Council announced the start of a City Centre Master planning exercise. A design consultant led the process and embarked on a participatory route which has so far lasted for 6 months. In those months local citizens were offered numerous opportunities to participate or comment on the draft plans. The whole process has been made completely transparent through a website, on which all information of the community sessions, draft proposals, etc. can be found. Although some participants claim their comments were not taken into account, the majority of the people thinks differently. So a private municipality and a democratic process to create public space can apparently be named in one sentence?

Cover: ‘2013.01.25_The privatized town of Sandy Springs_180’

Mike Emmerik

Door Mike Emmerik

Stedenbouwkundige en partner bij Crimson Historians & Urbanists

Meest recent

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, February 11, 2022: view across a lake with reeds-lined banks towards a modern neighbourhood with mailnly brick housing in IJburg district door Frans Blok (bron: shutterstock)

Leren van Vinex: de toegevoegde waarde van functiemenging en bereikbaarheid

Voor we aan een grote nieuwe opgave beginnen, is het goed achterom te kijken – en te leren van het vorige project. Vastgoedexpert Teun van der Meulen blikt terug op het Vinex-tijdperk om lessen te trekken voor de huidige woningbouwopgave.


8 februari 2023

Universiteit Twente door Kennispark (bron: Kennispark)

Tweede jeugd voor Kennispark Twente: van campus naar innovatiedistrict

Op een gebiedsontwikkeling wordt steeds vaker het etiket innovatiedistrict geplakt. Zoals in Enschede, waar de universiteitscampus en het naastgelegen bedrijventerrein getransformeerd worden tot innovatiedistrict Kennispark Twente


7 februari 2023

Wouter Veldhuis Column Cover door Esther Dijkstra (bron: Illustratie Esther Dijkstra, bewerkte foto Arenda Oomen)

Laten we de nieuwe economie nú in ruimtelijke banen leiden

We hebben een nieuw verhaal voor onze economie nodig, stelt columnist Wouter Veldhuis. Voor de ‘dubbel duurzame toekomst’ die hij voor zich ziet, is een belangrijke rol weggelegd voor de ruimtelijke ordening.


6 februari 2023