The Atlanta Regional Commission already has made its New Year’s resolutions for 2014, focusing on topics that will further its goal of fostering collaboration around the metro area on key ideas.
Next year, the commission will launch the Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance, support the region’s efforts on behalf of the arts and encourage Atlanta’s development as the “Hollywood of the South,” according to Doug Hooker, its executive director.
Mr. Hooker was the keynote speaker at a Nov. 23 dinner in Atlanta culminating the 21st annual conference of the Southeast chapter of the Monte Jade Science & Technology Association, a network of Chinese- and Taiwanese-American professionals promoting entrepreneurship and sharing ideas in science and technology.
“Next year we will launch a new economic alliance centered around Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance,” Mr. Hooker said, explaining the economic development program that is aimed at unifying the local county and city governments with businesses in the area to kick-start their economies.
He said that the commission has been working on the project for the past two years and that it has brought together the necessary coalition to realize the project.
The aerotropolis concept is taking hold globally and the city of Atlanta has signed a memorandum of understanding to work with the Paris Charles de Gaulle airport to assist in their mutual development. Global Atlanta has launched its Airport City website to report on the developments around Hartsfield-Jackson and elsewhere in the world.
Mr. Hooker also said the commission will work next year to strengthen the region’s reputation for the arts.
“The vision plan that we are developing … will focus on a few things: How do we provide a more supportive environment for artists; allow artists to stay in Atlanta so that they don’t have to go to places like New York, Los Angeles or Chicago to make a living … because artists create a quality of life for us that makes life enjoyable…”
Additionally, he said that the commission would support the creative industries with a focus on developing the region as a welcoming site for filmmaking through special financial incentives and through the development of a workforce with the talent necessary for the industry.
“There are 10 jobs for every actor on a film, and they are high-paying jobs,” he added.
Besides outlining the commission’s 2014 resolutions, he also painted a broad picture of the region’s future, saying that by 2040 its population will have grown from the current 4.2 million almost to that of Chicago’s 8 million.
The region’s population also will be older with 25 percent over age 65 and as many as 580,000 over 85 years of age, and its ethnic breakdown will roughly be divided into thirds with one-third white, another black and another including Hispanics and Asians.
“No matter what we look like, no matter how old or how young we are, no matter what languages we speak, the important thing is what will happen to our region and how we remain a competitive place,” he said.
To remain competitive on a global scale, the commission would continue to persevere in its role to lead the region’s efforts in providing an educated workforce, invest in existing businesses, assist entrepreneurs and help design liveable communities.
Meanwhile, he also promised to stay focused “on the basics’ such as improving the region’s transportation systems and defending the region’s access to water resources.
The Monte Jade dinner honors Taiwanese- and Chinese-American high school students in the region for their academic achievement and extracurricular activities, including community service.