ARC: State of the Region Recap


The Atlanta Regional Commission held the 2021 State of the Region on Tuesday, November 16th. The program opened with the keynote speaker, Heather McGowan, who spoke on Leading the Adaptation Advantage. She highlighted cultural shifts the region is experiencing and pressed on the necessity for ongoing innovation and adaptation for continued growth. Career protectories and the role of technical innovations have allowed for speedy societal shifts. Leadership must remain agile and continually engage is learning opportunities to remain a guiding force within the region.

The ARC applauded regional projects which have exemplified this idea of agile adaptation with the following awardees:

Visionary Planning Award – East Point City Agriculture Plan

Food Well Alliance & City of East Point

Kate Conner & Sarah Brown (Food Well Alliance)

Innovative Development Award – Cottages on Vaughan

Microlife Institute & City of Clarkston

Will Johnston & Kim Morrison (MicroLife Institute)

Great Place Award – Rodney Cook, Sr. Park at Vine City

The Trust for Public Land & City of Atlanta  

Mikita Browning (Atlanta Department of Watershed) & George Dusenbury (The Trust for Public Land)

Livable Center – City Hall and City Center Park

City of Fayetteville 

Mayor Ed Johnson & Ray Gibson (City of Fayetteville)

Honorable Mention – Trinity Walk Revitalization

Decatur Housing Authority

Douglas Faust & Chet Burge (Decatur Housing Authority)

Doug Hooker, the outgoing Executive Director, further elaborated on the idea of adaptation in this State of the Region Address. He posed the question to the audience- ‘What’s Possible?’. After highlighting the many accomplishments of the region, a monumental improvement in air quality and impressive progress in water conservation, Hooker encouraged the audience to think deeply and intentionally on the issues ahead. The region is growing, and this year the ARC welcomed Forsyth County. Major tech companies have sought to call Atlanta home, bringing large investments to the region. With this, Hooker noted the opportunities the region has to address affordable housing and an equitable quality of life.

Celebrating the work and leadership of Doug Hooker, the ARC presented him with the Harry West Visionary Leadership Award. This award was established in memory of the ARC’s longest-serving executive director who exemplified courageous and visionary leadership throughout his career in the public, private, and university sectors. The Trey Clegg Singers honored Hooker with a performance of a song composed by Hooker himself. Hooker then joined the singers for a wonderfully executed performance leaving the crowd hopeful and energized to continue propelling the Atlanta region forward.

Learn more about ARC’s State of the Region here.