New South City
Atlanta, Georgia, and the South

The site has been built, the domain purchased, a few of the posts have even been written. The whole thing, homely as it is, has been pushed into production and is now accessible to anyone who knows where to look. And still, I can give you no clear explanation of what it is I am hoping to build here. The site, much like the terrain it names, is still in the process of formation. All I can offer as a marker by which to orient ourselves is a point of view.

To say that there is a New South implies its relation to the Old South, a realm defined largely by its conflicts and injustices. The transition from Old to New remains unfinished; it has, in fact, been frustrated, impeded — at times, reversed. The present moment, our obligatory vantage, is a point of connection, drawing the past in relation to a future we are still in the process of making.

That future, to paraphrase William Gibson, will be distributed unevenly across the geography. The region is vast; its people are diverse. No one can speak from more than a part of it. The most honest approach will be to speak from where one stands, from a declaration of place. The city of the title is Atlanta, and so Atlanta is unavoidably the first place seen from this perspective. A reasonable enough place to begin when our subject is people: home to half the population of the state, roughly 5% of the region, the site of much of its history and a seat of government.

That should not imply a dichotomy between urban and rural. Or, for that matter, between settlement and wilderness. The lives of cities and towns are interrelated, just as the fate of the land is tied to the habitations it surrounds. Looking outward from Atlanta, you can see Georgia, and from Georgia the region as a whole, like rings radiating outward across the water. How those rings relate to one another will be a concern central to New South City.

Much of what will be said here will concern policy and politics, with the ways in which they can and do shape the people and environment, the culture and society of the South. The task will be to align those subjects along the three facets of that point of view: temporal, geographic, civic. If you have any comments or corrections, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or Mastodon.