Opinion: Innovative thinking deserves our ear

Updated Dec 08, 2017

It’s a deceptively simple, not-uncommon thought: That the future’s likely to look relatively little like the past.

As a concept, it can be hard to grip the totality of changes just over today’s horizon that are either inevitable or, alternately, are sorely needed but far from a sure thing.

The future promises profound effects upon people, communities, businesses and government. The smartest and most-nimble players in these groups will work hard to stay ahead of the game and profit from tomorrow’s different status quo.

Metro Atlanta and its leaders have historically done a very good job of setting the pace in taking action to position this place for tomorrow’s opportunities. We can’t afford to lag now.

All of which makes intriguing a series of talks that the Atlanta Regional Commission has gotten underway. Tagged “what’s next ATL,” the presentations offer an intriguing look at new, innovative approaches to metro Atlanta’s challenges. A trio of speakers gave talks recently during the ARC’s annual State of the Region breakfast. Highlights of their work appears here today.

As the region’s metropolitan planning organization, the ARC doesn’t necessarily endorse the ideas presented. Rather, the idea is to lend a stage to interesting thinking by experts on topics like economics, mobility and urban design.

ARC Executive Director Doug Hooker noted at the State of the Region event that this metro “must work hard, stay focused and collaborate.”

Given how quickly ideas that seem far-outside-the-box can zip toward mainstream reality in today’s fast-moving world, we applaud this effort to look ahead and embrace the future’s opportunities and challenges. Atlanta certainly can’t afford to fall behind in this regard.