Augmented Reality Criticisms

Augmenting Atlanta

Shannon Butts

Project Description

The Augmenting Atlanta ARC is a critical walking tour that explores the changing cityscape and discusses the history of space, place, and transit in Atlanta. Using the Aurasma platform, Augmenting Atlanta discusses how the rhetoric of urban renewal shapes the development of public space and includes augmented reality triggers throughout the Old Fourth Ward and Sweet Auburn areas of downtown Atlanta.

More specifically, Augmenting Atlanta examines the ways in which the Atlanta BeltLine urban redevelopment project aims to revive the city by reclaiming a historic transit system, a 22-mile railway corridor that encircles the downtown area. By turning the old, unused tracks into a network of public parks, multi-use trails, and new transit, the Atlanta Beltline hopes to counter sprawl, reconnect neighborhoods, and create a more accessible city.

he BeltLine project advocates “economic growth and sustainability,” claiming, “it offers a chance for Atlanta to redefine what it is to be a neighbor, to be a community, to be a region, and to share all that it has to offer” ( The BeltLine’s promise of cultural regeneration and unification attempts to rewrite geography and mobilities while cultivating a place where Atlanta ‘comes together.’ However, Atlanta has a long history of urban development, redevelopment, and renewal, often encumbered by racial politics, economic inequality, and special interest construction that divide the city both spatially and culturally. Building on Michel De Certeau’s theories of space and place and Jeff Rice’s networks of Digital Detroit, Augmenting Atlanta critiques the Beltline discourse and uses AR to participate in the networked ecology of the historic city while augmenting dominant narratives of urban redevelopment.

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