The Westside Atlanta Land Trust (WALT) is an organization for community empowerment centered around affordable housing in the English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods of the westside of Atlanta. After finding county datasets on abandoned and vacant lots to be incomplete and inaccurate, WALT collected their own dataset of the neighborhoods’ built environment using handheld devices enabled with ArcGIS software. They then combined their data with county back tax data and developed a strategy to acquire lots that could be zoned as a community land trust, in order to control rising prices and taxes, and thwart gentrification.
Since 2014 the Public Design Workshop has been collaborating with WALT to create and use data and digital media as advocacy tools towards their goals of housing justice. Working together, the Public Design Workshop and WALT produce custom datasets, maps, graphics, videos, and other informational media to help make the case for a community land trust in the English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods. This ongoing work combines design and participatory action research, civic media, advocacy, and policy, in an ongoing effort to care for the communities and residents of these historic neighborhoods in Atlanta. The media created by the Public Design Workshop is used by WALT for community education and mobilization, and for advocating directly to Atlanta city council.